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News > Births, Deaths and Marriages > Verrall Dunlop (née Geidt) 1925-2018

Verrall Dunlop (née Geidt) 1925-2018

It was with great sadness that we heard of the death of one of the most energetic of Francis Holland Old Girls, who died on 8th March, 2018.
It was with great sadness that we heard of the death of one of the most energetic of Francis Holland Old Girls, who died on 8th March, 2018. Verrall contributed so much in her long life not only to the Old Girls’ Society, but also to the continuing success of the school itself, when, during the 1970s, she started a fund raising campaign for the first much needed new building, resulting in the founding of the Friends of Francis Holland.  I worked alongside her during this time, having fairly recently become a new Old Girl, and her enthusiasm, positive outlook and hard work will always live on in my memory.  Her life was an example of open-mindedness, optimism and achievement which characterised so much of what Francis Holland taught us and her energy and commitment earned her the title of Honorary President of the Old Girls for Life.

As a young woman she began her working career in post-war London, moving into the fashion world through a job promoting British woollen fabrics at the International Wool secretariat; she also did some free-lance journalism for the Vogue trade magazine. She often spoke of those years as a thrilling time for a single working woman.

Verrall met and married her future husband, Peter Dunlop, founder of the theatrical agency Fraser & Dunlop in 1949 and, on the birth of their two daughters, Louisa and Hatty, both Old Girls and contemporaries of my sister and I, Verrall enthusiastically juggled motherhood and support for her husband’s extremely demanding business.  Typically, Verrall was not content just to cook, she took Cordon Bleu cookery lessons so that her young daughters would benefit from her wonderful dishes.

Verrall’s creativity was irrepressible; she would turn her hand to anything and on leaving London during the 1980s to live in the cosy house at Bucklebury Slade in Berkshire, which she and Peter had developed from three cottages, she embarked on a career as a jeweller, becoming fascinated with beads and semi-precious stones and working with silver and gold.  Her business became very successful. Then with the dawning of the computer age, Verrall became an early adoptor and adapter of technology, which enabled her to keep in touch with her wide circle of friends.

In 1998 Verrall paid a visit to the Isle of Wight and, although in her 70s, decided to move lock, stock and barrel, becoming immediately part of the Freshwater community, eventually becoming the long-serving president of the Tennyson Society.  I stayed with her there and her cottage was filled with colour and beautiful things and it was a joy to listen to her vibrant conversation concerning her full life on the Island.  It was only in her very last years that she did not take every opportunity to come up to Francis Holland events, particularly the School Birthday on March 1st.  

Her funeral was on 22nd March on the Isle of Wight, but at a very moving event on the 7th July, beautifully arranged by Louisa and Hatty, Verrall’s ashes were interred with those of her beloved husband in a sun-drenched cemetery in Upper Bucklebury, on a perfect summer’s day, which followed by a joyous gathering. Verrall would have enjoyed it so much.

Clare Ford-Wille (with grateful thanks to Deke Dusinberrre, Verrall’s son-in-law, for the information from his eulogy at Verrall’s funeral)

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