Genista Dawson, (neé Everest), pupil 1931-39, Obituary
Genista Dawson (neé Everest), Obituary
Genista Dawson was born in Huddersfield in 1920 and was educated at Wentworth High School in Huddersfield before being sent to the newly-opened Hunmanby Hall in 1931. During her eight years at the school her main interests and achievements were in art, drama, riding and all sports. She was also an active and ardent member of the Girl Guides at the school and in Huddersfield earlier when she was enrolled at the age of nine. Later when moving to Leeds she became Chairman of the North East local Association of Girl Guides and later became District Commissioner for South East Leeds. When the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme commenced Genista was appointed to the Leeds committee becoming an assessor for the awards taken by members of the Girl Guides Association.
The Hunmanby Hall Old Girls Association was formed in 1932 and Genista joined on leaving school in 1938.
During the war whilst working in London during the blitz her health was impaired and she moved to the Lake District becoming assistant to the Head of Bassen Fell Junior School. She cared for pupils aged five to eleven who had been evacuated from Hunmanby Hall School teaching art, games, dancing and home economics. When the juniors and staff returned to the main school in 1946/7 they were housed in the Linkfield Hotel, Primrose Valley. On joining the main school eighteen months later she became Housemistress to forty four IVth formers and continued her teaching duties.
The OGA had by now played a great part in Genista’s life. She became secretary in 1947 and also despatched the annual magazine, The Javelin, together with recording the news and details of members; her sister Ursula edited it for many years. Genista was also responsible for forming Old Girls local branches up and down the country so that members could meet regularly.
In 1951 Genista hired the services of Mr A H Guise of Leeds to design and produce a badge of office for the OGA Chairman incorporating the School Lamp and Manorial Crests surrounded by a laurel leaf collar.
The years of connection with Hunmanby Hall were enhanced in 1950 when Genista married Charles Dawson whose daughter Margaret, a pupil at HH, had introduced them. She continued her close association with HHOGA for another sixteen years until other interests and needs at home obliged her to resign. She was Chairman of the Association from 1960 to 1961
Whenever possible she attended reunions and continued to show her love and enthusiasm for the Association. She spent five to six years compiling a book “The Conqueror’s Gems – an anthology of items of Hunmanby Hall” which she said was a joy to write. She chronicled the life of the school over several generations and was thrilled when the School’s authorities granted her £500 towards the cost of having it published in 1991 for the Old Girls’ Association Diamond Jubilee. Then out of the blue, ostensibly because of falling pupil enrolment numbers, the grant was withdrawn but Genista went ahead with the project financing it herself because she had always wanted to write a book about the school and without it there would be little to tell about what life was like in this remarkable establishment that was for over sixty years a home from home for pupils from the world over.
Genista will be sorely missed as her knowledge on Hunmanby Hall was encyclopaedic (she wrote the History of Hunmanby Hall article on this website). She will always be remembered at our meetings, as the silver badge which she so generously donated, is always worn with pride by the Chairman and creates so much interest.