“Furiously loyal to Ivy House and Warminster School. . . there will only ever be one Mrs Bob!”
It’s never easy saying goodbye to members of our community and so it proved to be on Sunday 2nd December when the Thomas Arnold hall filled with pupils, Old Verlucians, parents, teachers and staff to bid a fond farewell to Ivy boarding house’s very own ‘Mrs Bob’. Cathy Humpherson, endearingly known as 'Mrs Bob', might officially have been the much loved matron of our junior girl’s boarding house for the last 10 years, but her contribution to school life stretched far wider, from the library to the Learning Support department, arranging stunning floral centre pieces for Speech Day and even donning a bonnet in Gilbert & Sullivan productions (some of us have the photos!).
Cathy has contributed to Warminster School life for over 19 years and for many of us, staff, pupils and parents alike, it’s hard to imagine our community without her. Cathy’s natural warmth and energy ensured that her young charges were assured of a true home from home. With her own valuable experience as a boarding parent to draw upon, Cathy ran Ivy House with an instinctively firm but fair approach which in turn nurtured a caring and respectful atmosphere for the girls. Following the move from Northdown to Ivy House, Cathy was instrumental in turning it in to the welcoming home it is today, with cushions plumped and cheerful floral bunting waving in the corridors. Fellow staff member, Gillian Warmsley will miss their Thursday evening ‘hand-over natters’, not to mention the laughter! As Lisa Crinion, Ivy Housemistress, explains “The success of Northdown and subsequently Ivy House, has ultimately been due to Cathy’s personal input. We see our boarding house as a genuine family unit of which Cathy has been an integral part. After 10 years I feel like I’m losing my right arm! We are so grateful for her total dedication and commitment to the girls, and to the wider school community.”
It is testament to Cathy’s time at Warminster School that the farewell gathering saw a number of Old Verlucians compelled to come and convey their thanks in person. Esther Kirrage (OV14), currently studying at Queen Mary’s University in London summed up the general feeling, “Mrs Bob was my surrogate mother whilst I was in Northdown. With home for me far away in Dubai, Mrs Bob was always there, looking out for me. I know one of the reasons why I have such fond memories of my time at Warminster School is due to the care and unwavering support provided by Mrs Bob.”
A few final few thoughts from ‘Mrs Bob’ herself, “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at the School, but it is now time to close this chapter and move on to the next one in my life. I will still continue my other love – and that is to provide the flower arrangements for school events and functions. And I hope to attend one or two OV events."
Thank you ‘Mrs Bob’ – we are so grateful for all you have done for Warminster School.