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A Tribute to one of our Old Girls

Posted: 19th March 2021

Gilia Slocock – 29th March 1936 – 11th November 2020


Treasured Memories of one of our old girls

Michele Crawford, retired Deputy Head, 1971­- 2009 writes: Wychwood was saddened to hear of the death of Gilia Slocock (née Whitehead Shell 1951). We remember her with great affection and respect as an active member of the Old Girls’ Society, a School Governor and the inspiring Chair of the 1997 Centenary Committee who steered the celebrations to a resounding success. She was always a wise and supportive friend to Wychwood and she had a real love of the Wychwood spirit. We also valued her quieter, practical generosity as evidenced by her invitations to overseas boarders for tea at her home in North Oxford. Her energy, enthusiasm and ability to make a real event out of a vision are a very fitting and lasting memorial.

Gilia’s family, Elly Bailey, daughter of Gilia Slocock, wrote to Wychwood with the news before Christmas with the announcement that read; we write with the sad news that Gilia died very peacefully (and with her lovely sky view watching over her) yesterday morning. She took to her bed just over a week ago and was convinced that it was her time. She resisted going to hospital when the doctor told her to and understood the implications. She was steering her own course to the end. For those who knew her well, it might tickle you to know that she had tickets to go to The Queens’ Gallery exhibition for the day after this lockdown ends. She was forever chasing that one last museum opportunity. Thank you to all who made her life so rich and so varied. She was very fond of you all.

Many of our Wychwood community who knew her have written and shared messages. Our Chair of Wychwood Association until earlier this year, Johanna Stephenson shared the following memory: Gilia was one of those people I shall always remember, she was a familiar face at Wychwood when I was still a pupil, and an inspirational leader of the Old Girls after I’d left. And as Chair of the Wychwood Association I’m very conscious that she’s a very hard act to follow – in fact quite impossible: I’m definitely one of those flying along in her slipstream… she really was one of a kind.

Judy Whymark wrote: I always enjoyed Gilia’s company, socially and also when working with her on Wychwood projects. She masterminded the Wychwood Centenary celebrations with enthusiasm, great efficiency and success! She encouraged me to design the logo, then sourced a jeweller to make a brooch from the design (now used for councillors’ badges). I will always have very happy memories of times spent with Gilia.”

Leslie Duffill, former Head and teacher of Biology wrote: she was a Wychwood icon, a great supporter of everything we did, and a love of the real Wychwood spirit. It was a long time ago but memories are treasures.

Andrea Johnson, current Head writes: although I did not know Gilia personally I am privileged to have inherited her many legacies at Wychwood. This school is steeped in the traditions, expectations and actions initiated by the energetic and intelligent women who believed that girls are an essential part of the world, that a woman’s place in the world is there to be made and the best people to ensure that girls are educated to fulfil their potential are women. Gilia was such a woman and we are so grateful for her efforts on our girls’ behalf which have influenced and in some cases formed what Wychwood is today.

Mrs Slocock 2