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News & Media > In memory > Jane Henderson (née Orbell)

Jane Henderson (née Orbell)

28 Sep 2020
In memory

Written by Kate and Beth Henderson - Jane's daughters.

Inez Rosemary Jane Henderson (née Orbell), known to everyone as Jane, was a lifelong member of Clifton High School (CHS).  Born in Bristol in April 1945 (they always joked that Hitler couldn't continue the war for England once she was born!), Jane followed in her mother, Inez Chivers', footsteps (sometimes a detention too many too!) by attending CHS starting in Kindergarten in September 1950. Attending CHS became a bit of a family tradition with her younger brother Robin also attending the preparatory school before transferring to Clifton College – this was before boys were allowed to continue into the junior school; Jane's sister Susie and cousin Liz and then two daughters Kate (1982-1993) and Beth (1982-1994) also attended CHS after her.

Born in Clifton into a Vicar's family and living in Bishopston and later Brislington, Jane played an active role in community life both at school, church and home and was particularly musical, playing the piano and singing in many choirs. At school she enjoyed playing cricket and had been proud to be a part of the team at certain stages. After completing her O-levels in U5 in 1961, Jane worked at the CHS Preparatory School for a year as a teachers assistant before leaving in the summer of 1962 and starting teacher training with a focus on Music at East Hampstead College near Reading. Upon qualification, Jane started her teaching career in Henley-on-Thames at Rupert House, where she was proud to teach children such as India Hicks and Robert Hardy's children. She was also part of the Henley Madrigal Group and proud to have sung Princess Lee Radziwill's Henley home at Christmas attended by her sister Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.

While in Henley, Jane met Ian Henderson, a Rector's son from Kent, at St. Mary's Church, Henley in October 1970, and then again in the launderette. They became engaged on Sunday February 14, 1971 on the bridge in Henley. Jane and Ian were married by Bishop Bishop (Suffragan Bishop of Malmesbury) on July 24, 1971 at Compton Greenfield Church, Bristol where her father, John Orbell, was the Rector.

Jane ventured back to West Country with her new husband in 1972 and took a break from teaching when Kate (Katharine) was born in 1975 and then Beth (Elizabeth) in 1977.  Jane returned to teaching when Beth was 5, and returned full time shortly after the family moved fully to Bristol in early 1983. Jane taught at various schools in Bristol before settling at Redland High School teaching Reception and Music, and also becoming deputy head of the junior school. During her time back in Bristol, Jane was involved with Christ Church in Clifton and she extended her great talent and love for singing by re-joining the Bristol Choral Society, of which her father had also been a member. Jane was very involved in many performances over the years, making lifelong friends and particularly enjoying the annual double performances of the Messiah each Christmas.

After a very serious car accident in 1995 Jane retired from teaching so after 13 years in Bristol they moved back to Malmesbury, Wiltshire where Jane worked in the Parish office of Malmesbury Abbey for several years, and was very actively involved in many community activities in Malmesbury as an integral part of the Abbey Choir and Malmesbury Singers, Probus and PCC. Jane thoroughly enjoyed reconnecting with old friends as well as making new friends. She always played an active role in the church and her faith kept her strong throughout her whole life. She also loved to be the heart and soul of the party and that is how we like to remember her.

Jane made many lifelong friends during her years at CHS and had so many fond memories of her time at CHS that she remained connected and reconnected with many others while a parent and through the CHS archives work, as an active member of the Old Girls Society and particularly during her time as CHSOGs Chairman.

Jane was so incredibly proud of Clifton High School and all of the family connections and history, and we are equally proud of the connections she made for us, and the wonderful mother and grandmother she was to Lily, Rachael, Sophie and Ewan.

Sadly, Jane was diagnosed with a pituitary tumour almost two years ago and after a long illness, our Mum passed away on the morning of 3rd September 2020.  We miss her terribly but we are so glad that she is now at peace and our memories of her will endure with everyone that she touched and loved throughout her life.

A tribute to Jane from a close friend, Mrs Andrea Caish (nee Barker CHS 1950 - 1963)

Tribute to Jane.
I would just like to add a few words to those of Jane's daughters. 

Jane and I started at Clifton High together in 1950 in the Preparatory School. Our lives paralleled in many ways: we both had a great affinity for the school and for the church; both had a younger brother who came to the prep also; both went on to be primary teachers; both had two daughters who followed us to CHS and both had a love of Music. We also both returned to support the Alumni - Jane going on to become Chair. 

Jane was a true friend to many. She had a bright, bubbly personality, a ready smile and always spoke as she found. I valued her friendship greatly and although we didn't meet as often as I would have liked, we spoke on the phone and enjoyed our shared interests.  She was just one of those people who was a joy to know and despite her many health setbacks always saw the fun in life.
Her legacy lives on through Ian, Kate and Beth and through her great friend Jane Fancott.

Please contact us by emailing if you would like any messages of condolence to be passed onto Jane's family.

Many thanks


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