Dorothy Newby (Danby 1934-39)

The eldest of 3 sisters the children of Richard Danby and Dorothy Harding, Dorothy Elizabeth Danby was born in Trimdon County Durham on 20th August, 1920. She died at home on 19th May, 2013 in her beloved bungalow at Hartrigg Oaks, the Quaker Retirement Settlement in York; she was 90.

Dorothy won a scholarship to Ayton in 1934, where she remained until 1939; the school was to have a lasting influence upon her life.  Leaving with no real idea of what she wanted to do, Dorothy was asked back to teach in Mrs Stapleton’s small Private School in Rawdon House for a year, upon the outbreak of war in September 1939. This led to her subsequently attending teacher training college in Sunderland and a career in the profession.

Whilst at Ayton Dorothy became friendly with the Newby twins, Olive and Marjorie, and along with their sister Kathleen they remained friends throughout her days at college. It was during a visit to their home prior to her taking up her first job in Luton (where she taught classes of over 50 children) that Dorothy met their brother Tom and a whole new chapter in her life began.

Dorothy Danby and Tom Newby were married on 4th April 1947, they had four children, three of whom attended another of Yorkshire’s Quaker Schools – Ackworth.  The family lived in Middle Herrington near Sunderland.  In 1980 Dorothy and Tom bought a bungalow not far from the family home with a view to spending their retirement there.  Very sadly, two years later, Tom died of a heart attack and their plans were never able to be put into fruition.  Dorothy remained in the bungalow for a further 20 years until 2002 when she made the move to York and Hartrigg Oaks, the place which was to serve her so well for the rest of her life.

Our 104h Association President, Dorothy had the misfortune to be inaugurated on that very wet Summer Reunion of 1997,which just  happened to be our last at the school before it closed. She said  that the news of the closure of the school had radically altered her ideas for what constituted an appropriate address, given the circumstances, and must have cast a blight on her delight at being asked to become our President in the first place.

A very competent and busy lady, a school governor, a member of her local U3A, a regular attender at the Edinburgh Festival and with many, many other interests, Dorothy learnt computing skills and how to use the internet to enable her to communicate via email - at the age of 79, and was one of Hartrigg Oaks regulars in their computer suite. Her granddaughters were delighted to discover that they could actually ‘Google’ Gran. This new skill of course enhanced her talent as a correspondent on all things Ayton and she was one of the greatest purveyors of News of her decade for me when I was Editor of the Annual Report.  Perhaps the most famous incident with which she became involved in that capacity was the bizarre story of Sir Cloudesley Shovell, an Admiral of the Fleet, who lost 90 percent of his ships and men off the Scillies in 1707.  (It must be remembered that at the time there was little to help mariners navigate at sea, barring the sun/stars and ‘dead reckoning’. The incident led to The Longitude Prize and the invention by John and James Harrison of the marine chronometer.) This extraordinary tale, which also involved Joe Tillott and George Sanger, simply ran and ran.

Dorothy was a truly remarkable person and she is going to be very much missed.

With my grateful thanks to Dorothy’s daughter Veronica and her husband Peter for giving me permission to use information from their tributes to Dorothy at her funeral.
Gill Jackson (Hinds 1950-55)