Alumni: Judith Ellis
Name while at schoolJudith Ellis
Dates attended the school1954-1961
The day after I left school, I had my ears pierced – no going back! Then I headed off to Sierra Leone to do one year's Voluntary Service Overseas, which really affected the rest of my life. Arriving in West Africa in 1961, no mobile phones to call home, going 'up-country' in the over-whelming heat, and then having to adjust to a totally different way of life, with no prior knowledge that people get these days from television and social media – it was quite an experience.
From this I moved into student life at Bristol University, living for one year in an international hostel and making friends that have stayed with me all these years, and ending up with a poor degree but plenty of time spent with the Student Settlement Association in Bristol's East End. After a year at London School of Economics doing a post-graduate Diploma in Social Administration (again, good experience but not much use academically) I took up a job in the newly developing field of community work, in Skelmersdale New Town, where I met my future husband, an architect. Over the years I had a variety of posts in voluntary sector management, ending as a management consultant, 'trouble-shooting' in organisations facing crisis.
My two boys having left home, in 2000 I returned to live in Campden and developed a passion for local history - wishing that I had not chosen the sciences at school! I have also made two return visits to Sierra Leone in recent years, with One World Link, and remain very concerned for the country's future.