Family ties draw visitor

01:38, Nov 15 2012

Nova Locks, of England, was in Blenheim yesterday, visiting the grave of her late great aunt and the first French teacher employed at Marlborough Girls' College, Rosa Oliver. Miss Oliver died in Blenheim during May, aged 91.

The college had planted a maple tree and laid a plaque commemorating Miss Oliver's service to the school, from 1963-76.

Miss Locks was pleased to be able to visit and see the town where her aunt had spent the later years of her life. "She made a real impression on people she met, she was opinionated, well-travelled and she wrote for Amnesty International. I've even got a letter she wrote to Robert Mugabe, congratulating him on coming to power," Miss Locks said.

French teacher Miriam McNamara, who has taught at the school for 37 years, described Miss Oliver as "a real character".

It was sometimes quite tricky to know what Miss Oliver would do next, especially after she walked into and took over Mrs McNamara's first French class before walking out again. Many students also didn't quite know how to take her and were either amazed or full of adoration for her, Mrs McNamara said.

"But that was Rosa, full of good will."



The Marlborough Express