Jennifer Edwards, MGC 1959 Leaver

Malvern Alumnae 100 Jennifer Hughes

It seems unbelievable that in 1949 sciences for girls were not available in Newbury, Berkshire. For some reason I had decided that at 10 years old I wanted to be a doctor, partly because many of my cousins were, and also because I liked our family doctor. So, thanks to my parents, one a Veterinary research worker, the other a Biochemist, I was sent to MGC where my parents were very impressed with the new Science block, which was unusual in those days.

Eight years at Malvern equipped me for entry to one of the best medical schools in London: St Thomas' Hospital. Thanks to MGC, I was offered three places at the hospitals I applied for armed with four A Level Sciences and a state scholarship, plus advice on how to dress at my interviews each day!

So on to St Thomas' where there were six girls and sixty boys in my year. I qualified at 23 years old, then spent two years as a houseman. I was married at 24 to a fellow student and set up in General Practice together in the country. It was a good life with two daughters.

Today, there is no antagonism to women as there was in my day. The intake of women is equal to that of men. If you chose university first you do get a degree so could opt out at this stage and perhaps think again, but it is shorter to go straight to a teaching hospital. You should be good at Sciences, like people, should enjoy solving problems and should not mind working hard.

What does success look like?

Medicine involves hard work but it is rewarding and very interesting. You will never be rich but never poor. I retired from General Practice in my late 50s when my husband died. I was lucky to be able to continue working in the private hospitals in Cambridge and eventually retired at 69 years old.