The WHS Parents' Association -   Chris Snuggs - Berners/Halls 58-65

Most schools try to promote an active and supportive Parents' Association, and WHS was no exception. I have no objective means of proving the following, but for what it is worth, my feeling is that the WHS P.A. was unusually strong (especially in the early years) - and this for several reasons:

  • It was a new school, and one usually tries harder when setting something up. Mr Smitherman and his colleagues (Leslie Johnstone in particular) seemed very keen to encourage its growth, just as they were with the Old Boys' Association.
  • *John Smitherman had been in the armed forces and many boys came from forces families, so I think he must have felt a special duty to provide the absolute best possible for families who had served their country.
  • Being a boarding school where it was, most families had to travel a long way to get to Open and Parents' Days, so I imagine the school felt a duty to do the best it could for them on such visits.

I think the Parents did a lot for the school in practical terms. Others may provide more details, but I seem to remember them buying a yacht at some point and they also helped finance the swimming-pool - now sadly filled in.

I don't have a particularly vivid memory of my parents visiting WHS (except once when they took me and my then girlfriend to Felixtowe in the afternoon - how could one forget that!), or indeed of Parents and Open Days. Were they combined? I can't remember, Actually, what was the relationship between Speech Days, Open Days and Parents' Days? Were they ALL combined? The practical arrangements may of course have varied considerably over the years.


*John S. H. Smitherman O.B.E., E.R.D., Croix de Guerre, M.A. was a retired Lt. Col. who had served in the Suffolk Regiment during the war.

We have almost nothing in the Archives about the Parents' Association, but Mark Frost sent the following 1971 document to me in November 2020