Tributes paid to 103-year-old former Holt School teacherBy Laura Herbert
February 14, 2013
Tributes have been paid to former The Holt School headteacher, Olga Whitlow, who died aged 103.
Miss Whitlow headed the school, in Holt Lane, between 1949 and 1969 and created the school’s Sixth Form.
During her time teaching in Wokingham she lived in Crowthorne.
In 1998 former Holt pupil Angela Wood, also a retired headmistress, started caring for Miss Whitlow. Aged 92 Miss Whitlow moved to North Yorkshire to live with Miss Wood. She died at home on Friday, February 1.
Dianne Nelmes, a pupil between 1963 and 1970 said: “Miss Whitlow was a woman years ahead of her time in her aspiration and ambition for girls of the 60s; if we wanted anything badly enough we could achieve it; we could be whoever and whatever we wanted to be, and our social development and behaviour were as important as passing exams.”
Ms Nelmes, who works for ITV, said: “She relished challenge and I suspect rarely failed to get her way.
“Miss Whitlow was unique - a woman heading a girls’ grammar school as Britain began to change and the post-war baby boom saw teenage girls heading into a society on the brink of cultural and social revolution. She created a school that prepared most of us for the kind of opportunities our mothers never had, but also for the challenges our increased freedoms would inevitably present.
“When I attended the party the Holt Association held to celebrate Miss Whitlow’s 100th birthday I was struck by the talent, charm and good manners of the students. I watched as my headmistress talked intently to a student who must have been 85 years younger than her and I saw the legacy of Miss Whitlow live on.
“She was a legend in her lifetime and will remain a legend in mine.”
When Miss Whitlow joined The Holt there were 300 pupils and the roll quickly increased. The site was expanded in the 1960s with an assembly hall, changing rooms and science department.
Miss Whitlow retired from teaching aged 60, and travelled around Britain.
Aged 90 Miss Whitlow flew for the first time to Canada to visit family, tobogganed for the first time at 95 and returned the The Holt to celebrate her 100th birthday.
Her funeral takes place at Scarborough Crematorium at 2pm tomorrow. Mourners are ask to make donations to North Yorkshire Air Ambulance.