If you have any news (including reports, photographs, personal experiences, celebrations, awards, or recollections) that you would like to share with other Seniors, please email seniors@stleonards-fife.org and we will be in touch.

Sport witness: Mary raine

At the end of last year, St Leonards Senior Mary Vavra née Raine (1952-57, SRE), featured on BBC Sporting Witness, which covers the inside and personal stories of key moments from sporting history.

Mary Raine was the first female journalist to report on football for the BBC, in 1969. Mary had been a football fan and avid Sunderland supporter since childhood, and accordingly, her enjoyment and knowledge of the game was extensive. Her passion for the sport never diminished, despite never being allowed to play with the boys and being ordered to take down her football paraphernalia by the Housekeeper ('HS') in St Rule East.

After she left St Leonards, Mary went on to work briefly as a teacher before becoming a political journalist for the BBC. Although she specialised in politics, her knowledge and passion for football meant that she was asked to cover a first division match between Chelsea and Sunderland on BBC Sports Report. She received positive feedback from football fans who recognised her fantastic knowledge of the game and. Whilst Mary never professionally moved into sports journalism, she still retains a love of football.

If you would like to listen to the full Sporting Witness interview on the BBC website, please click here


Commemoration of Louisa Lumsden

Last month, Dame Louisa Lumsden had a plaque unveiled in her honour in Aberdeen. She was a pioneer of women's education, a suffragist and also the first Headmistress of St Leonards.

Louisa Lumsden was born in Aberdeen in 1840. She was one of the first five students to be educated at Hitchin Women’s College, later Girton College, Cambridge. She then taught at Cheltenham Ladies' College before moving to St Andrews to become the first Headmistress of St Leonards, in 1877.

In 1895, she became the first Warden of University Hall at the University of St Andrews and, in 1908, became President of the Aberdeen Suffrage Association.

The plaque is located on 214 Union Street, the former branch of the local Suffrage Association, and was unveiled on Wednesday, 18 January 2020. Councillor Lesley Dunbar commented that it was "good to honour Louisa Lumsden as a well-respected and well-known local suffragist in the city who also campaigned peacefully with local women for women to win the vote."


Statue of Lady Rhondda

A group of local women are raising funds to erect a statue of political activist and St Leonards Senior, Margaret Haig Thomas, Lady Rhondda. 

Lady Rhondda was a political activist and business owner. She grew up at her family home, Llanwern, outside Newport, and then attended boarding school - first at Notting Hill High School, and then St Leonards.

Early on in her life, she joined the suffragette cause and became secretary of the Newport Branch of the Women's Social and Political Union. She was director of 33 companies, founded the Six Point Group (which pressed for changes to laws regarding child assault, unmarried mothers, equal pay, and widowed mothers), and founded the political and feminist magazine Time and Tide, the first editor of which was fellow Senior, Helen Archdale. 

At present, there are no statues of historical, influential women in Wales. The Monumental Welsh Women Campaign is therefore, seeking to raise funds for five statues of prominent women to be erected across the country. Last year, the Welsh people voted on which women should be commemorated as part of this project. Lady Rhondda was one of the influential figures chosen. The proposed statue will be situated in the city of Newport, Gwent.

The Monumental Welsh Women campaign are seeking to raise £80,000 to gain planning consent, commission an artist, produce and install Lady Rhondda’s statue.If you would like to contribute to Lady Rhondda's statue, please click here

The St Leonards Gazette, 2018-2019

After the highly successful relaunch of the St Leonards Gazette last year, we are pleased to announce the publication of the new edition, covering the 2018-2019 academic year.

Going forward, the Gazette will continue to be produced annually by the School. If you would like to receive a copy, please contact the Seniors Office (seniors@stleonards-fife.org).