It is with great sadness that we report the death of Anita Parkins. Her passing followed a short illness.

Anita joined King’s School in 1988 and was appointed to the position of Headmistress of the Pre-Preparatory School in April 1991, overseeing the development of this part of the school and its move to the purpose-built Chadlington House. Not only did she manage this growth, Mrs Parkins was responsible for investing the burgeoning Pre-Preparatory School with its own character. Hers was a rare alchemy which allowed the children to flourish in an environment that was both exciting and secure, innovative but founded on traditional values of Christian love. The teaching of German was championed (who cannot remember “Alles Gute zum Geburtstag!” in Parents’ Assemblies?) but velcro was eschewed in favour of noiseless shoelaces.

Children adored Mrs P and she them. “Lifers” (pupils passing through all three sections of the School) enjoyed nothing more than returning to the Pre-Prep., always with a surreptitious glance to check that their shirts were tucked in, recognizing that their successes were forged under Mrs Parkins’ kindly guidance, the same lodestone which mentored her staff and ensured their intense loyalty.

Parents shared the same enormous respect for Mrs Parkins and, even those few who entered her study with a minor grumble were generously listened to, gently corrected, and, invariably, converted by Mrs Parkins’ good sense, sagacity and her slightly steely extended gaze through her characteristic wide-framed glasses.

While at King’s, Anita founded a network to support fellow Pre-Preparatory Schools Heads and, on retirement, her wisdom made her a sought-after Governor. She was, as Dr Ian Walker, the then Head Master of King’s School, commented at her typically unflamboyant departure in December 2008, “the doyenne of Pre-Preparatory Heads”.

Of course, in retirement she remained busy, serving as a Governor to Hilden Oaks School and within the local community as a member of Ryarsh Parochial Church Council, although she was at her happiest in her garden with her beloved husband, children and grandchildren. King’s owes Anita an enormous debt and we send our condolences to David and Anita’s family.

While Anita’s funeral will be exclusive to her family, a celebration of her life will take place at the church of St Martin in Ryarsh on the afternoon of 20th September 2022 and all are welcome to attend.

Leavers at Pre-Preparatory School Prize-Givings would be remembered by Anita with three phrases. Fittingly we thus recall Anita: loving, wise and beloved.

Paul Medhurst

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