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Meet the Board

The Allanian Society

Meet the Board

The Allanian Society

Meet the Board


At Dame Allan’s we are very proud of our alumni, a diverse group of women and men who collectively represent the breadth and strength of our curriculum as well as our history and socially inclusive culture. 

All pupils of Dame Allan's Schools automatically become members of the Allanian Society upon leaving the School. The Schools’ long-term commitment to its pupils is to promote and maintain contact between all Allanians.

The Allanian Society exists for the benefit of Allanians, who undoubtedly make firm, lifelong and lasting friendships while at the School. What many Allanians have found is having returned or attended a function after a gap (sometimes of many years), how good it is to be reacquainted with former teachers and old friends.

The Allanian Society Board work to support Dame Allan’s Schools through a varied programme of events including reunions, fundraising, mentoring and careers advice as well as creating opportunities for Allanians to keep in touch and stay connected. 

The Board has over 25 volunteers members of all ages from various spheres within Dame Allan’s community, and includes pupil representatives from Year 12 and 13. They meet several times a year, with the AGM taking place in early October.

If you’d like to contact the Board or become more involved, please email development@dameallans.co.uk

Stephen Davies

Chair of the Allanian Society

Decades at DAS: 1980s and 1990s

I have served on the Board of the Society, or its predecessor organisations, almost continuously for over 20 years and it is always great fun returning to Dame Allan’s and hearing what Allanians are doing, both within the school and beyond! My career as a history teacher was certainly influenced by Dame Allan’s: I still recall being a first former and sitting in Room A believing that Mike Henry’s family really did have an ancestral pile called Bounder Castle… I have certainly used Fred Wilkinson’s adage, that schooling should be about education not merely certification, with many of my own students over the years. 

Being active in the Allanian Society has let me rekindle many happy memories, particularly of acting on the stage of the Newsom Hall, but I find just as much fun in making new connections through meeting others who have been part of the Dame Allan’s family over the years - a recent highlight was chatting with Allanians from New York and Vancouver at an online gathering. It is an exciting time to be involved as there are plenty of plans afoot to develop how we can stay connected and I look forward to meeting or hearing from Allanians everywhere!  

Brian Adcock

Board member

Decades at DAS: 1960s

I have served on the Board of the Society, or its predecessor organisations, continuously for over 45 years. I have also served as a Governor of the Schools and latterly as Chairman. I have fond memories of my time in the Boys’ School with Barry Harvey as Head. The staff were strict but fair and always entertaining!

Both my children attended Dame Allan’s and I am glad to report that the combination of pastoral care and academic rigour is still flourishing.

It is an exciting time for the Schools and so I look forward to maintaining my contact with developments via the Allanian Society. 

Chris Archer

Honorary Treasurer and Board member

Decades at DAS: 1950s and 1960s

I have served on the Board of the Society, and its predecessor bodies, for nearly 30 years. I also served many years on the parent / pupil body DASPA when my three children attended the Schools during the 80s, 90s and early 00s.

Prior to this I had never returned to the Schools since leaving 25 years previously! It has been a great pleasure to rekindle links with the schools and my peers, supporting and contributing when I can to the benefit of the pupils of today.

The Schools are always so welcoming and partaking in Society activities - partners can attend too - adds a little extra to my life. The Christmas carol service in the Cathedral is something special and, for my wife and me, always means Christmas has started.

I've made many new friends through DASPA and the Allanian Society and it's just so nice to have positive experiences particularly in the current times.

So all of this reinforces what I think is so special about Dame Allan’s - being part of a family that always stays with you. I think Dame Allan’s has given me a quiet self-confidence and independence of thought that has served me well through my career in finance. Retaining links with the Schools through the Allanian Society provides opportunities to meet so many interesting people and helps remind me we can be a force for good. 

Richard Beattie

Board member and careers and support sub-committees

Decades at DAS 1970s and 1980s

I was asked to get involved and ultimately “join” the society following a couple of Allanian-organised events where I met Bill Lomas after 30+ years, and thought it would be great to get back involved with the school.

One of those events was the first time I’d been in Newsom Hall since taking my A Levels!  So many emotions, helped of course by a nice glass of wine (at the dinner not the exams).

It’s always interesting to see how the Schools has developed and continues to do so, particularly the growth of the junior school - so being a part of it again is great. 

A weekly “day release” process in the sixth form at Dame Allan’s led directly to my sponsorship through my degree course (through NEI – now Siemens) – so I’ll always be grateful for the head-start I got in my career.

Unfortunately we’ve had to cancel recent dinners and events so haven’t been able to meet in person for a while – but in this newly “connected” world there are now lots of opportunities for us to build a real community of both current and future Allanians.  

I hope that we can accelerate the building of networks and support the growth of the school and the careers of all of those associated with it.

Charlotte Bell (nee Forrest)

Board member and Committee Chair

Decade: 1980s

I was at the school 81-88 and fortunately avoided having to share 6th form with the boys. We were still enjoying the '6th form house', our private 6th form stairs and common rooms with a good view of the drive at lunchtime.

Both my younger sisters, Victoria and Alex, were at the school, as was my father and my two uncles. My grandmother also taught 1L for a year, filling in at the last minute as a favour to Miss Graham.

As both my daughters are at the school I am involved with the parents association as well as the Allanians. I am also currently, despite having once been dragged out of assembly for wearing my skirt too long, serving on the Board of Governors.

Sandie Deane (nee Hogg)

Board member

Decades at DAS: 1970s and 1980s

I joined the Board in 2019 having enjoyed reconnecting with Dame Allan's and fellow Allanians through the London alumni drinks events. 

For me, Dame Allan's was such a great start in life both academically and socially. It gave me the confidence to challenge myself at university and at work - and some lovely friends I'm still in touch with to this day. 

The Tercentenary Ball was a great occasion to get together and certainly livelier than the barn dances that were the 'highlight' of the school social calendar in the early 1980s! A less pleasant memory is taking my turn in the stocks at the summer fair to have buckets of water thrown at me - all for a good cause of course.  

Looking forward, I hope I can get more engaged with school life and I'm particularly interested in sharing my experience of working in the City and my passion for financial education.

Barry Hopper

Board member

Decade at DAS: 1980s

I have recently joined the Board of the Society and can say without hesitation that it has been very satisfying returning to Dame Allan’s and learning about how the society has supported the Schools over many years. I am always proud to say that my son and two nephews attend Dame Allan’s. They are the fifth generation of my family to be pupils at the school and my father was Chairman of the Old Boys association (as it was known) in the 1980s.  

Being active in the Allanian Society has allowed me to recall many happy and notorious days I spent at the Schools, but I will let my ex-teachers go into greater details!

Learning about the many great successes within the Allanian family has been inspiring; however, supporting the current students and the Schools has been my own personal highlight by far. It is a great time to be involved as the Schools and society continues to grow. I look forward to meeting face to face current and future Allanian members, hopefully!

Bill Lomas

Board member

Decades at DAS: 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s to 2010s

As retired Vice Principal I had a long and very happy career at Dame Allan’s and this is a way of both keeping the contact with the Schools going and also meeting up with many of the former pupils, all of which I enjoy. I was former Chairman of the Allanian Society and am currently a Governor at the Schools.

Vicki McDonald

Bursar and Board member

Decade at DAS: 1990s

Vicki, a Chartered Accountant, is the Schools' Bursar, having held the role since May 2018. Her relationship with Dame Allan's goes back to the 1990s when she and her two sisters attended the Schools. Vicki is also a current parent and so has experienced, and enjoyed, many different aspects of being part of the Dame Allan's Family.

Vanessa Morrell

Co-opted board member

Vanessa is a member of the Allanian Society as she is Chair of DASPA. She has been chair for two years and has been a DASPA member for the entire time her children have attended Dame Allan's since 2012, with a child in year 5 she hopes to continue her work with DASPA for many more years. She is also a parent governor at Dame Allan's.

Helen Richardson

Board member

Decades at DAS: 1970s

I joined the Society as soon as I left school and after a brief spell away from Newcastle came back again to live locally. The Old Girls Association, as it was then, was active and organised dinners and also ladies’ lunches were a popular way to catch up with old friends and make new ones.

I joined the committee and was able to support the organisation of meetings and dinners and keep people up to date on school events. When at school I remember Speech Days in the Newcastle City Hall, and singing on the stage, the whole Girls School fitted onto the stage! I then had the opportunity of singing with the School Choir at The Sage in 2005 for the 300th Anniversary, and a great time was had by all. Being a member of the Allanian Society has for me been an opportunity to meet staff who taught me and to keep up with friends old and new.

Marion Russell (nee Hillaby)

Honorary Assistant Treasurer and Board member

Decades at DAS: 1950s and 1960s

There have been many changes to the school since the 1950s and it was good to rekindle my experiences when my daughter became a pupil in the 1990s. I decided it was time I joined the Old Girls' Association and because I worked in an accountancy practice I soon became their treasurer/secretary and assistant treasurer when we merged with the Old Boys' Association. I could never walk round the girls' school quadrangle without remembering Miss Best's Gardening Club and my responsibility to keep one of the boxes tidy and planted. I am still a keen gardener. I also remember the efforts to keep us separate from the boys school and was pleased to see a more relaxed family ethos when my daughter joined the school. It is good to meet up with other Allanians at the dinners and meetings and to share their experiences. I still love going to the carol services in the Cathedral.

Will Scott

Principal

Decades at DAS: 2020s

Following his education at Loretto in East Lothian and the University of St Andrews, Will's career has taken him from the Royal Navy to the City of London, and through three independent schools before starting as Principal of Dame Allan's September 2020. He is enjoying settling in Northumberland with his family and making the best of everything the North East has to offer.

Simon Taylor

Board member

Decades at DAS 1980s and 1990s

I have strong links with the Schools since leaving in 1989. I joined the then Old Boys’ Association on leaving and was an active member of the Association, being a committee member and President in the 1990s. More recently my two boys joined Dame Allan’s Junior School in September 2013 and are currently enjoying their time in the Senior School. Following my return from an extended period overseas, I was fortunate enough to become a Parent Governor in April 2019, and joined the Board of the Society shortly afterwards.  I get a lot of pleasure whenever I return to Dame Allan’s, meeting Allanians and catching up on life inside and outside of the schools.

Taking an active role in the Allanian Society has allowed me to maintain and strengthen old friendships, as well as making new ones. I particularly enjoy the annual dinner, and other events that are organised throughout the year, especially when held at the schools as this brings back many happy memories.

Bel Whitehouse

Board member and careers, support and events comittees member

Decades at DAS: 1990s, 2000s, 2010s and 2020s

Mrs Whitehouse joined Dame Allan's Schools in 1996, teaching English and Drama - for over 20 years. Inspired by an old Allanian and great orator, Bill Johnson, Mrs Whitehouse founded the Schools' annual Public Speaking Competition in 1997. She was appointed Head of Careers in 2000 and is Registered Careers Development Professional with the CDI (Careers Development Institute) and as such abides by their code of ethics ensuring that the guidance she gives is impartial and accessible.

Dame Allan’s Schools has been recognised for its excellent work in careers guidance. Mrs Whitehouse was shortlisted as one of the top 3 CDI’s Careers Educators of the Year in 2017 and has delivered presentations on best practice careers guidance at the National Westminster Forum in London and at regional conferences. Dame Allan’s piloted the Gatsby Good Career Guidance Benchmarks with other northeast schools and we continue to achieve great success in all 8 Benchmarks. Mrs Whitehouse has also written articles for professional careers guidance publications eg The Careers Development Institute- CareerMatters and for Morrisby's publications. She really enjoys offering students bespoke guidance based on their Morrisby Profiles, support in class, 1:1 careers consultations and updates the HE/Careers websites regularly- My Great Future (student access / parent portal access) and Virtual Futures Fair. She plans many opportunities and develops links with our Allanian alumni and HE / employer representatives knowing that their engagement and success stories really inspire current students - via HE/Careers events, fairs, webinars, presentations, work experience, community service and competitions. Would you like to inspire the next generation? Get in touch with Bel Whitehouse | Head of Careers.

Jenny Wilkes

Board member and support and careers comittees member

Decades at DAS: 2000s and 2010

I joined the Society in 2020, and sit on the Support and Careers sub-committees. I have kept in touch with Dame Allan's since leaving the sixth form in 2013, and I really enjoy revisiting the School to catch up with staff - something that I have missed during the Covid-19 pandemic! 

My role in the Society provides me with an opportunity to deliver careers talks to a number of year groups, touching on my own route into a career in law as well as providing general guidance with regard to different opportunities available to prospective law students. I am keen to ensure that the Society maintains and strengthens links to existing and new sporting events at Dame Allan's. 

I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Dame Allan's, and look forward to connecting with other Allanians through the Society.

Yunus Ali

Board member

Decades at DAS: 2010s

Having left Dame Allan’s in 2019, my connection to the schools were strengthened as I became a Board Member of the Allanian Society in the subsequent year. 

My time at Dame Allan’s was inspired and influenced by many of my peers and teachers, allowing me to pursue and develop my interests. With the plethora of extracurriculars on offer I was encouraged to pursue many of my curiosities. I tried everything and anything I could, leading to an abundance of extremely fond memories spanning from my year as Head boy, to representing the school on the sporting fields in Rugby and Football, but also in the music department through Senior Choir and piano.

As a medical student, I have been able to share some of my experiences to the current students through talks, whilst also engaging and interacting with other Allanians who are at various stages of their medical careers.

Despite my first year on the Board being during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has shown me that with technology it is all the more accessible to stay in touch and be involved with the schools. I look forward to the future yet to come with both School and the Society!


Dave Stewart

Board member

Decades at DAS: 1960s

I am currently a board member of the Allanian Society, but have been involved with the Schools for many years, serving on DASPA (including a stint as a chairman), the Development Trust, as past President of the Dame Allan’s Old Boys Association and as a parent Governor.

I am married To Sue (nee Coulthard) who attended DAGS in the 1960s, and later taught Home Economics at the Schools for over 20 years. My three children attended Dame Allan’s, and one of them now teaches at the Schools. My three grandchildren are currently pupils at Dame Allan’s, continuing our family connection with the Schools.


Trevor Scott

Board member

Decades at DAS: 1960s

I joined the Old Boys Committee in the late 1980s and have continued to serve on the Allanians Society board.

I spent almost too much time at school enjoying rugby but, fortunately I was inspired by Ted Baldry to also enjoy biology and hence a career in Dentistry. My wife Kathryn Walton was also at DAS in the 60s although we did not meet until after we had left — no joint 6th form in the 1960s!

Our three children Jennifer, James and Christopher all attended DAS and it is the family history with the school which is why I still like to remain connected.



Julia Weatherall

Vice-President and board member

Decades at DAS 1970s and 1980s

Dame Allan’s is my Narnia. My inability to stop talking in class led Mrs. Charlton to suggest that I should become a barrister. Dame Allan’s is the portal to my happy place and smiling faces.


Walter Armstrong (board member)

Rishi Srivastava (board member)

Alan Hopper (Vice Principal)

Robert Oliver (DAS teacher)

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