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Carolyn Chamberlain (nee Nelms)     

I was fortunate enough to start at Ashford School when Cherub (Miss Brake) was Headmistress and then under Miss Nightingale. I got to know Miss Nightingale well many years later when I became Hon. Secretary of the Old Girls’ Association, an honour which many of my contemporaries might think undeserved... I was one of the naughtiest girls at School and was on double-dusters for having accumulated 23 stripes one term! After A levels I attended the Sorbonne University, then spent a year in Naples learning Italian, which allowed me to spend the next four years at the Ecole D’Interprètes at Geneva University. I have worked as a linguist ever since. For many years I was an Industrial Market Research Consultant, writing and translating reports in English for multinational clients. Concurrently I was an interpreter in Kent and London for the Police and the Courts. I now edit the ASA School Tie. I live a very independent and rewarding life in S.W.France, coming back to UK for occasional events such as the A.G.M. in February and the Quaglino’s lunch which I organise in November each year.



Norma Smyth

I first came to Ashford School in 1974 as a member of the English Department, staying on to become Head of English and Deputy Head.
After my retirement I was honoured to be asked to be Vice President of the then OGA.
As I go about my very busy life in Ashford, I will take every opportunity to promote Alumni activities among former students and staff.


Alexia Padgham  (nee Swatland)

I attended Ashford School from 1974 to 1987, and I can honestly say my school days were very happy and content ones. After gaining the RSA Diploma for PA’s, I joined P&O in 1988 and spent the next 18 years of my career working for the Group, the major part of which was spent as PA to the Chief Executive of P&O Ferries and Main Board Director of P&O Group. I then took the bold step of setting up my own business as a Virtual Assistant, providing PA support to coaches, consultants and Non-Executive Directors. Within 18 months it had become a highly successful venture, culminating in my winning the National VA of the Year Award. This has resulted in various public speaking engagements which highly suits someone with a love of public speaking and a passion for her profession; the former being largely down to Felicity Amor’s tuition! I have a daughter at the School and a history of both paternal and maternal family at Ashford School, indeed, my daughter is now 4th generation!


Nicky Brightling (Clarke) 

I started at the Junior School in 1978 and left after the 5th Form in 1986 (to go to King's Canterbury where my brother was at school).  I was in Knights House and now my 2 daughters are at the Senior School and in Knights House!  After Kings and a year out travelling to Australia, I studied Agricultural Economics at Wye College.  I qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1995 with Coopers & Lybrand, spent 2 years with the Employer Services division of Ernst & Young in London and then joined an insurance company in Maidstone as European Management Accountant looking after Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden and Finland.  The travelling became too much when my eldest, Emily, was born and I joined a local firm of chartered accountants specialising in agricultural clients.  I am a farmer’s wife and after my second daughter Laura was born, I started my own accountancy practice specialising in rural businesses which keeps me very busy!  I very much enjoy the continued relationship with Ashford School both as a parent and now as Treasurer of the ASA. 


Committee Members


Hannah Pinney

I attended Ashford School from 2004 to 2011, in my final year taking the role of Deputy School Captain and Academic Prefect. After Upper Sixth, I went on to study History at King's College London, graduating in July 2014. I am still at King's, currently studying for an MA in Science, Technology and Medicine in History. I am also studying for my singing diploma and sing with the University of London Chamber Choir. I enjoyed my years at Ashford School, and so it is lovely that I can continue to participate.


Julie Piper  

I was at Ashford from 1971 to 1979 and, once in the Senior School, was a Chaucer Knight – and very proud of it!  On leaving Ashford, I spent a year at St. Aldates Secretarial College in Oxford and then moved to London (July 1980) where I temped for a couple of months at an import / export business in Victoria.  It was quite by chance that I ended up being interviewed (November 1980) for my ‘dream job’, and lifetime ambition, of working for the Lawn Tennis Association where I have been ever since. The last 35 years have shot by and, like all jobs, there have been good and bad days but I have so many happy memories and made so many friends – far too many to mention – and I count myself very lucky to have been able to work for something I love.  Whilst not the most ‘angelic’ of pupils, I remember my days at Ashford with fondness and so it is a pleasure to be able to give something back to the School.



The position of Chair is currently vacant and we invite Ashfordians to consider applying for this role. The committee meets three times a year and the obligations of the Chair are not unduly onerous!


Mrs Camilla Ketchen (Bourne)

Hon Member David Young (Director of Development)

Hon Member Fiona Stuart (Alumni and Development Office)


We are really keen to expand our committee and invite anyone interested in joining us to contact development@ashfordschool.co.uk

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