In Memoriam: Hilary Davies

It is with sadness that I write to tell you that my friend Hilary Davies (nee Attack) passed away on 25 April 2017 after bravely battling breast cancer.

Hilary and I started on the B.Ed course at Goldsmiths in 1986 having been at Secondary school together. We never planned it but found ourselves attracted to the same University and the same vocation. Hilary worked hard, read all the books and went to all the lectures. She threw herself into University life. She made sure I met deadlines, read some books and found my way to the many schools in the area we would be teaching in. I wasn’t surprised she passed with a 2:1 and I didn’t!

Hilary lived for all four years at Pentland Halls of Residence near Lewisham. She became a mentor to new students and made many friends. I used to visit and was always amazed that she had so many meals provided.

After Goldsmiths we went our separate ways. Hilary went to teach in Barking and Dagenham near her home and I went to teach in Enfield. But some years later, we were back in touch and she told me about a job at her new school teaching computers. I then took on the job of music teacher too. We taught together for seventeen years. Hilary had a great love of history and loved to teach about the Tudors. She had costumes and artefacts that she collected and many books, which the children loved. Her enthusiasm is remembered by many of her pupils.

Hilary and I shared many interests. She helped me trace my family tree. We loved classical music. I would spend a few days with her at her home in Southend and we would walk for miles. We would often chat for hours on the phone.

Just over a year ago, I received a phone call. Hilary told me, very matter of fact, that she had breast cancer. What can you say? She stayed positive at all times and never let others become sad. She worked as much as possible while having her treatment and was cross with herself when she had to take things a little easier.

On the 1 April, Hilary was handing out programmes at a Drama School performance I was organising. She met people with enthusiasm and I hoped that she really was getting better. Sadly, that was not to be. Shortly after, it was clear the cancer had spread further and she died a few weeks later. The funeral at St Andrews Church in Hornchurch was attended by staff and pupils from our school and many friends. A half-muffled peal of bells was rung, which Hilary would have been very knowledgeable about, being a campanologist herself.

When I read of the sad death of Margaret Mallet who gave us our first lecture at Goldsmiths, my first reaction was to ring Hilary and tell her. I can’t quite believe she isn’t around anymore.

Paul Dart B.Ed (Hons) 1986-1990

Paul would love to hear from anyone who remembers Hilary (or him!) from Goldsmiths days. Email: