Brenda Rowlands

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Mrs Brenda Rowlands, who died on 3 April at the age of 91 in Llandough hospital, after a long illness.

Brenda was secretary to the College’s founding Headmaster, Rear Admiral Desmond Hoare, when the College first opened in 1962. These were exciting times, and Brenda, who by all accounts was a force to be reckoned with (and quite enjoyed being considered so…), thoroughly relished being part of the team responsible for establishing the College and launching its pioneering work. She was also personally involved in the launch of the first rigid hull inflatable lifeboat, and kept photographs of that event, which she was so proud to have participated in.

Brenda loved to reminisce about her time at UWC Atlantic, where she enjoyed a very happy relationship with her colleagues, including the Headmaster and his wife. When Admiral Hoare retired in 1969 and moved to Ireland, Brenda left and moved to Colwinston as she couldn’t see herself working with anyone else other than the Admiral. UWC Atlantic was, as Brenda often said ‘a high point in her life’ and she was very fond of sharing photos and letters from those early days, which reflected so many interesting and exciting events that she had organised, including a glittering fund-raiser in London attended by Bob Hope and Grace Kelly (with a little help from Earl Mountbatten). She stayed in close touch with Desmond and Naomi and corresponded with Naomi after the Admiral’s death in 1988. 

Brenda was always delighted to hear from previous students and members of staff, some of whom kept in contact with her for decades. Brenda was much-loved and continued to be an avid supporter of the College long after she left, and was still attending functions right up until the start of her illness. Her contribution to the early days of the College will always be valued and she will be remembered with great admiration and affection.