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News > School News > “If I had to name the crux of what Ipswich School gave me: confidence”

“If I had to name the crux of what Ipswich School gave me: confidence”

Rebecca May Marston (OI 1996-98)

Sixth Form at Ipswich School was the leap-pad into my life. But, I’ll start back to front…

I’m back working in Ipswich, 24 years later, running a charity, and OIs pop up all of the time to help us: volunteering, corporate sponsorship, and grant-giving. We’re called Dora Brown. We work with families, referred by social workers, who live in the worst home conditions; completely broken down, not even enough beds for the children. Poverty, mental health, abuse, illness, so many factors squish to form catalysts, then the overwhelm creates a monster of zero self care, furniture and hygiene poverty. The homes are grim as sin. So, with a big crew of sturdy girl volunteers we transform them: clearance, deep cleaning, organising, and provision. We collect donated furniture and cosy homemaking bits, we work with a carpeting partner and we turn these homes into sanctuaries that nurture family wellbeing once more.

How I ended up in the third sector, let alone social care, is nuts. Post Ipswich, I went via London Contemporary Dance School, University of Bristol and Royal College of Art, into the significantly more glamorous and internationally jet-setting world of contemporary art exhibitions and sales. But now I’m here, happy as a pig in muck (a married mother of three), in the fetid depths of other people’s underbeds, patting gagging volunteer’s backs when we uncover something really gruesome and troubleshooting impossible-to-reassemble Ikea flatpack. One day a week; Otherwise I’m underpinning, resourcing and growing this it’s-desperately-needed-but-why-are-we-doing-this-? idea to expand beyond Ipswich and surrounds.

“If I had to name the crux of what Ipswich School gave me: confidence”

My two brothers and I were enabled to go to the school with means tested bursaries, we couldn’t have attended otherwise. The pastoral support we received, the nurture and care, owing to our challenging home situation was simply what we needed to thrive and strive. Robert is post-military career and works for the Education Development Trust and Jeremy’s a post doctorate maths professor researching vaccines. 

My fondest memories? Mr Cavendish’s early modern history lessons were the highlight; his outrageous dramatic flair bringing it all to life, but mainly for the stories; he enthralled us and made us avid learners. Cromwellian rule forever etched in my subconscious. 

What was missing? I had chicken pox the lesson that they taught grammar, but we can blame 80s pedagogy and Amberfield School for that. And anyway, Mr Welbourne was far more interested in us identifying river terraces in the field or ensuring that we understood how Ox bow lakes were formed – helicoidal flow.

“It really is all still in there. Which speaks of a happy school kid who wanted to learn. No mean feat, and one I’m grateful to Ipswich for.”

Thank you 

Rebecca May Marston

(OI 1996-98)

www.dorabrown.com or rebecca@dorabrown.com for more info and ways to help. Thanks guys.

To read more about the Impact of Giving click HERE

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