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Sherborne Girls celebrates the extraordinary lives of its inspiring alumni

PUBLISHED: 16:29 20 March 2014 | UPDATED: 16:29 20 March 2014

L5 Sherborne Girls students Sophie West and Jenny Guy with former archivist Christine Stones (left) and Headmistress Jenny Dwyer (right)

L5 Sherborne Girls students Sophie West and Jenny Guy with former archivist Christine Stones (left) and Headmistress Jenny Dwyer (right)

Archant

Sherborne Girls in Dorset has delved into its 115-year archives to launch an exhibition entitled “Inspiring Women” in tribute to its most illustrious old girls.

From the eminent Gandhian and freedom fighter Amrit Kaur, who was a student at Sherborne Girls from 1902-1905 before going on to study at Oxford and later became the first female Health Minister of India, to the feted British biologist Rosa Beddington, whose career had a major impact on developmental biology, the exhibition brings together former students who helped shape history.

Says former Sherborne Girls archivist Christine Stones, who recently returned to the School to talk about Amrit: “In a crumpled envelope in the archives we found the most incredible life. Amrit was one of Ghandi’s companions and secretaries for many years and was imprisoned three times by the British for pushing Independence. She was a pioneer, a woman of real presence and importance – the first Christian woman in the Indian Cabinet, president of the World Health Assembly, and an example to us all.”

Born in Lucknow, India, in 1889, Amrit Kaur was the daughter of Raja Harnam Singh, a member of the princely family. In 1902 while on a visit to London with Amrit and one of her brothers, her father met Charlotte Wingfield Digby and came to stay with her in Sherborne. It was then that he decided to leave Amrit in the care of Sherborne Girls. When she left in 1905, Amrit was Head of School, and captain of hockey, lacrosse and cricket.

Says Headmistress Jenny Dwyer: “In an age when celebrities are often held up as role models for young people we are proud to have such inspiring old girls who made a profound difference. This exhibition is a celebration of their lives and what they stood for, from Amrit and Rosa through to more recent old girls such as the Kids Company founder Camila Batmanghelidjh. We are very grateful for the work of our archivists in piecing together all the details of their young lives at Sherborne Girls and for helping to mount such a great exhibition.”

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To see more Dorset pupils that went on to become famous figures, click here.

 
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