The Maltonian Web

In Memoriam

Sheila Kathleen Pratt

1932 - 2013

Sheila Pratt

Sheila Pratt joined Malton Grammar School in 1943. She was noted as a high-flyer, and jumped from Form I to Form III at the end of her first year. She was Head Girl in 1949-50, alongside Head Boy P C Carow, and Head of Fitzwilliam house, alongside D Strangeway.

I have as yet only found one photograph of her, in a 1947 Form V group, sent in by Norman Race.

Sheila's name crops up in The Maltonian magazines over the years she was at school. She won a Form I prize in 1943-4 (along with D Mercer, Thornton, D Croser, M Sagar and D Welford). a Form III prize in 1944-5 (having skipped Form II), with T Tate-Smith, P Carr and J Errington, and a Form VI prize in 1949. She may have been a prizewinner in other years - the Maltonian does not always list the winners.

She was one of 26 students to achieve their School Certificate from the Northern Universities Joint Matriculation Board in 1947, and then in 1949 she is one of four to gain the Higher School Certificate (with P C Calow, R Waites, and Sheila Meaden).

She does not appear in play casts nor in sporting teams, though she does receive her Tennis colours in 1949, along with Anne Mitchell, and came third in the Hop Step and Jump (the Triple Jump) on the 1949 Sports Day, and was awarded her Hockey colours in 1950.

She went on to study at Edinburgh University, achieving a B.Com. in 1954, then completing a course of training with the Institute of Personnel Management - a month with Patons and Baldwins, an month with Rowntree of York, and a month with Ballantyne of Peebles. In 1955 she was Assistant Personnel Manager with the Oxford University Press. In the February 1995 Moltonian she writes: "I was utterly enchanted by Oxford on my first visit, and fall more in love with it every passing day. Magdalen Bridge I find irresistable and I seem to loiter about there every time I go for a walk."

Sheila made contact when I started up the first Maltonians website, back in 1999.

In May 2012 Sheila made a will which left £100 000 to Malton School Fund, "for the general purposes of that fund".

Sheila lived in Picotts End, an ancient parish in the Gade valley near Hemel Hemstead, for the last 32 years of her life. She played an active part in the life of the village, at one point acting as the Chairperson of PERA (Picotts End Residents Association)

Later photos from Pat Lund

Sheila Pratt

In December 2017 a school friend of Sheila's, Pat Lund, sent in a number of photos and documents for the archive. They included a four page photographic tribute to Sheila, with pictures of her in later life.

House trophy

In July 2018 I made the Sheila Pratt Memorial House trophy, to record the annual winners of the school House competition, under the new system instigated in 2017. There are also 6 other Sheila Pratt house trophies, one for each year group in the school, made by my son Daniel. More about these House Trophies is available on a separate page.

Sheila Kathleen Pratt : Memorial

First published  October 2013 in the Telegraph and other papers.

7th October 2013

Sheila Kathleen Pratt

Passed away peacefully on Monday 7th October, aged 81 years.

A former editor of The Law Society Gazette, Sheila had battled her long-term blood disorder for many years with typical stoical Yorkshire determination. She will be hugely missed by family, friends and colleagues.

A service will be held at the Wood Lane Chapel, Hemel Hempstead, Herts, HP2 4TP on Friday 18th October at 11:00am. Donations if desired to ‘The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds’ or ‘The Campaign to Protect Rural England’ c/o Co-operative Funeralcare, 45 The Marlowes, Hemel Hempstead, Herts, HP1 1LD.

Obituary published on the PERA website 12 October 2013

Friends mourn passing of village veteran Sheila
October 12, 2013

Sheila Pratt, one of the village’s longest-standing residents, has died at the age of 81. Sheila passed away in Watford hospital after battling with a long illness. She received excellent care from the NHS over many years under the watchful eye of Clare in the Haematology ward. She moved into the village more than 30 years ago, shortly before retiring from being a successful publisher and editor of the Law Society Gazette. She used her skills lately to great effect at our local Citizens Advice Bureau.

She was also a keen supporter of the Residents' Association and was the president who helped organise several well-attended events. Her entry into the village coincided with the foundation of the Social Democrat Party and she was an assiduous canvasser, leafleting around the villages, and being coerced into standing as a town councillor for Nash Mills ward. Luckily, as she would proclaim, she wasn’t voted in.

Sheila was also a keen bridge player.  Sheila’s funeral will take place at Wood Lane chapel on Friday October 18th at 11 am, to be followed by a reception in her honour at the Marchmont Arms. All who knew Sheila are welcome.

from The Law Society Gazette. 14 October 2013

Sheila Pratt, editor of the Law Society’s Gazette from 1987 until 1995, has died aged 81.

Sheila began the process of turning the Gazette into an indispensable source of news by introducing a dedicated news section and later, putting news on the front cover for the first time.

She also pioneered the use of photographs and cartoons to make the Gazette more visually appealing, in what was becoming a much more competitive business-to-business publishing environment. Sheila subsequently became consultant publisher of the Gazette before her retirement.

Evlynne Gilvarry, now chief executive of the General Dental Council, succeeded Sheila Pratt as Gazette editor. She said: ‘While respecting the tradition of the Gazette as a professional journal, Sheila introduced many beneficial changes that made the weekly more relevant at a time when legal practices were changing rapidly.’

Jonathan Mcleod, chairman UK corporate, financial and public affairs at Weber Shandwick, worked on the Gazette’s newsdesk from 1992-94. He said: ‘Sheila was a force of nature who wanted a strong and independent voice for the profession in the magazine. While she could be viewed as fearsome by some, she was in fact rather kind and genial.’

Current Gazette editor Paul Rogerson said: ‘Sheila began the process of modernising what was already a venerable magazine when she took the helm in those pre-internet days. I am very sorry to hear she has died.’