It is, I am sure, with sadness that past members of Durnford and Bristol Houses will learn of the death of Margaret Millar on January 17th of this year. It is certainly a matter of considerable regret for me, as I was in touch with her until last December.
When I was appointed to Durnford for the autumn of 1968 Margaret, who had become acclimatised to her role there, was not anxious for a change of regime but agreed to stay on for one year to see me in. Not withstanding this uncertainty she came with me, along with other Dunfordians, to Bristol two years later - and stayed until her eventual retirement!
To those who did not know her properly Margaret could appear crusty and forbidding: to those with the benefit of proper acquaintance she had a dry sense of humour, always a plus point in dealing with boys, and a devoted determination to support them in their various activities. She had been a keen games-player in her youth and if you did not quite feel like playing rugby or whatever on some particular afternoon you were unlikely to find yourself on the off-games' list. Indeed, the Bristol list was always noted for its brevity. And there was no House event that did not receive her support, and most College ones, too. I was, I must admit, a trifle surprised when she told me she would like to score for the Eleven at home matches, when medical cover permitted! I need not have worried: she performed with excellent precision.
For those who were genuinely ill Margaret was attentive and compassionate. There was little that she would not accomplish for those in her sick-bay. And not just for Bristolians either. Simon Smith writes of her 'extraordinary kindness' when he was stricken with appendicitis and when Norman Frith in School House was suddenly taken seriously ill, he immediately sent for her.
I remain eternally grateful to her for her vital role in the House team, and for the sane and measured advice she often gave me. It is a tribute to her general standing in the College that, not long after she departed to her beloved Scotland, the authorities decided that such persons were no longer to be found as matrons and so moved to a central sanatorium. I was proud to have known her and for her to have regarded me as her friend.