Mary Lane, matron at Whitestone School from 1957 to 1973, passed away on 12th November 2010 at the age of 101 years and 5 months.

Mary was born on 11th June 1909 in Surbiton, Surrey, England. She trained as a children’s nurse and during the Second World War worked as an assistant matron at an evacuation center in Taunton, Somerset, where she cared for children who had been removed from London to escape from the German air raids. After the war, Mary helped Brian and Elizabeth Adams with their children Robin, born 1946, and Christopher, born 1950. She immigrated to Zimbabwe in 1950 with the Adams family and settled in Bulawayo. In 1957, she joined the staff at Whitestone, where she served as matron until her retirement in 1980. Upon her return to England, she lived in Newmarket, Suffolk and, for the past 10 years, at Hargrove House, Stansted Mountfitchet.

Neither Mary, nor her brother Dan, who also lived into his late 90s, were married so she leaves no immediate family. However, Mary was an integral part of the Adams family and will be greatly missed by Robin (Whitestone 1955-1959) and Christopher (Whitestone 1958-1962). Mary will also be remembered by several generations of other Whitestone families. For many of the timid first year boarders she was a mother figure with her office functioning as a place of refuge, not to mention the source of under the counter sweets and snacks.

Although Mary did not get her first driving license until she was 50, she was an inveterate traveller going all over Zimbabwe in her yellow Morris Minor as well as paying periodic visits to her bother Dan and lifelong friend Ruby Swabey in England. Later in life, a number of the old boys invited her to help out with their children during vacations and after her official retirement. Mary even travelled to the United States in 1977 to help Robin and his wife Judith immediately after the birth of their son William.

Mary was a determined walker, an ingrained habit from her childhood that survived the hot African sun and helped to keep her independent and active into her 90s.


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