SPOTLIGHT – GAYLE WEBB
The Spotlight falls on our jet-setting and bridge aficionado Head of Admissions, Gayle, before she leaves Warminster to enjoy her well-earned retirement.
Gayle experienced a convent school education in the 1960’s. Formal qualifications were considered unnecessary as the only options following school were to become a nun, a teacher or a wife and mother. None of these appealed and thus, the early 1970’s were spent in London rebelling from her strict convent upbringing. However, in 1974 Gayle met her future husband Colin and the rest is history. Throughout her working life, she has always insisted that any job she does is interesting and enjoyable. Her first jobs in London saw her working as a hotel receptionist, a cashier in a casino and even a drinks waitress in a nightclub. After marrying Colin, she worked as a Secretary at British Aerospace (earning promotion as Secretary to the Senior Director on site), Manager of a Market Research Company, Area Fundraising Manager for Leukaemia Research and National Account Manager at an Import & Export company. In 2004 she saw an advert for Admissions Secretary at Warminster School and thought it sounded “a nice easy job” to spend her last ten years before retirement. She found it was anything but a quiet little number, but the most interesting and rewarding job she has ever held. Overseas travel to attend education fairs around the world became a regular occurrence and her British Airways account says she has travelled almost 300,000 miles on school business! In their leisure time Gayle and Colin are fanatically keen bridge players and all their holidays are spent playing in tournaments throughout the UK, but they have also played in America, Australia, Hong Kong and Bangkok.
How long have you worked at Warminster?
What’s the best thing about your role?
Seeing how quickly the new pupils settle at Warminster. Some come to us unhappy at their current schools and these I find the most rewarding, it is so lovely to see them smiling and laughing with a new group of friends within days of arriving.
Describe a typical day?
No two days are the same, except that every day is full on! Much of my day involves replying to emails from educational agents / parents / or prospective pupils. By 10.30 a.m. I have usually been in correspondence with most corners of the world. We also have a steady flow of prospective parents visiting and it is important to ensure their visit to Warminster is as enjoyable as possible.
What do you think makes Warminster a special place to live and learn?
Without a doubt it is the pupils – and the staff. Parents of the pupils also become part of the “Warminster family” and there is a feeling of belonging for everyone involved with Warminster. I also feel incredibly lucky to have a lovely office with a view across the beautiful grounds.
What would surprise us about you?
In 1970 I was offered a job to work as a “Bunny” at The Playboy Club in London. Sadly, it was only to wait on tables and I wanted to be a croupier – so turned it down.
As a child what did you want to be when you grew up?
I had no idea what I wanted to do, only that I was never going to get married and have 2.2 children. (I was married at 21 and have two wonderful children!)
What did your school reports say about you?
“She has leadership qualities, although sometimes she uses these to lead others astray”.
Your note/advice to teenage self?
Not to go to a convent school but to find a school that has all the opportunities available at Warminster.
Your mantra/motto or favored quote?
When I retire I don’t want people thinking “What a sweet old lady” – I want them saying “Oh no? What’s she up to now?”
Most treasured possession?
Badly behaved children running riot in public places.
If you were on Masterchef what would your signature dish be?
Roast beef and Yorkshire pudding – followed by trifle.
Last book you read?
Bridge Squeezes for Everyone – I rarely have the time to read at the moment, but I dip in and out of bridge books.
Last movie watched?
Bridget Jones's Baby.
Which actor would play you in a movie about your life?
Dawn French (I love her humour) – although it would be lovely to think it would be Jennifer Aniston or even Goldie Hawn.
Campari and tonic.
Favorite place/city in the world and why?
Headland Hotel, Fistral Beach, Newquay. We used to take the children on holiday there every October half-term and for my 60th birthday my children surprised us by taking us there for a family holiday. It has so many happy memories and whatever the weather, the scenery is amazing.
Twitter or Facebook?
Retirement – what’s next?
December will see Colin and I flying to Australia to spend Christmas with our daughter, Sarah, son-in-law and 3 wonderful grandchildren. It will be the first time we will have been with Sarah at Christmas for 21 years. We are planning to stay 'Down Under' for three months and will also play in two major Australian bridge tournaments whilst we are there. On return from Oz, my hope is we will be able to do some bridge teaching on-board cruise ships. That will mean I can continue circling the globe for another few years!
We wish Gayle and her family a wonderful Christmas together and look forward to hearing about her future adventures. From all of us at Warminster we wish her a wonderful and well-earned retirement.