We always love to see our alumnae return to the school, in any capacity. Our reunion events are always popular but it’s great to have old girls come back to school just to have a look around, or even better, to talk to current girls about their lives after NGHS, their careers and university experiences. So we were delighted to welcome several alumnae back this term for various engagements.

Clare Hammond came to perform a piano recital in ‘the space’ after playing for the Junior School and holding some master classes for our talented and aspiring young musicians. Clare left the school in 2003 and has since become a very successful concert pianist, and it was a real privilege to have her back at school to play in our wonderful performing arts centre ‘the space’, which Clare referred to as “a phenomenal facility that will certainly be a fantastic asset to the school.” She also met up with some of her former teachers after the show.

Clare has been back to the school on a couple of occasions to perform at events, but this was the first time she had a proper look around and it was, in her words, “a strangely emotional day.” Full of praise for the school Clare added: “The support, encouragement and guidance that I received from some inspirational teachers has laid the foundation for so many aspects of my current life. It was a privilege to be able to share that with some of the current students and to see what wonderful work continues to be done.”

We also welcomed back Clare Third and Laila Shahrokhshahi to talk to our Year 11 girls about their experiences after school. Clare is now a Humanitarian Support Officer for the Tear Fund, and Laila works as a BBC News journalist for Radio 4. Clare’s career has taken her far and wide and has included coordinating emergency and disaster relief, and she will soon be working with the Norwegian Refugee Council working with refugees in Iraq.

Laila always knew she wanted to work in journalism and she promoted the value of having a school network and work experience. She claims that she got her job through being brave and asking to go for a coffee with someone from Sky TV! Laila now works on BBC Radio 4 today on the World Today Programme.

Both of these inspirational alumnae presented to Year 11 girls and then enjoyed a lunchtime open session for girls about their journey since leaving school. Georgie Donaldson in Year 13 commented: “It’s incredibly helpful for alumnae to come back and talk to us about their careers, especially for me as a Year 13 who is interested in humanitarianism but wasn’t sure where to start.  From the talk, I now have a list of websites, associations and activities that could all help me move further towards this field of work.”

At the end of September we were particularly delighted to welcome back a very special alumna – Elisabeth Kirkby who left the school in 1937! Elisabeth now lives in Australia and was visiting family in Nottingham so decided to contact us and see if she could come for a visit, and we gladly accepted. Elisabeth is a retired English Australian theatre and television actress, radio broadcaster, writer, producer and director – she really has done so much with her life and is quite the famous Australian soap star, so was especially thrilled to see our performing arts centre. It was a pleasure to meet her and she had so many memories of NGHS to share which we were thrilled to hear.

Our girls are as important to us after they’ve left school as they are while they’re here, and we really do like them to stay in touch. Their life experiences are an invaluable inspiration and lesson to our current girls. If you’re an NGHS alumna we’d love to hear from you. Contact Aisling Hooper, our Alumnae and Community Relations Manager at friendsofNGHS@not.gdst.net or on 0115 941 7663.