Marion Warman – 100 years and still going strong

Marion with Richard Chartres, the former Bishop of London

On 26th November, Marion Warman will celebrate her 100th birthday in the comfort of her room at Atfield House care home. Marion is known to many local people for as a much-loved teacher and ordained priest in this part of London. Marion’s teaching career began at Dartford Girls’ Grammar School in 1944. As the war was ending her first lessons were accompanied by the sounds of explosions about every half hour from the bombing. Later, Marion became Head of Maths at the Green School until she retired from teaching in 1980. Marion was among the first women to be ordained priest at St Paul’s Cathedral in 1994.

Her calling to the ministry was an unusual one. In 1974, after an accident on a boating holiday, Marion was placed in a hospital in Whitechapel (now the Royal London). One day the Chaplain came through the ward and Marion recalls God saying to her very clearly, “That is the job you are going to do when you retire.” She said to God, “You can’t be serious! I’m going back to Suffolk to live by the sea!” But the calling in her heart remained and so she wrote to the Bishop at the time who she knew in her capacity as Churchwarden at St Mary’s, and the rest, as they say, is history. She served first as a hospital chaplain at West Mid Hospital, but her ‘home base’ for ministry was St Mary’s, Osterley, and once ordained she took part in services including baptisms, weddings and funerals. She would sometimes meet former Green School girls and parents at these occasions. Some brides would say “I never thought I’d be married by my Maths mistress!” Once Marion was on a cruise ship on the Danube. While collecting her breakfast someone said, “Hello Miss Warman, you used to teach me Maths!” Marion has enjoyed hearing news of old pupils over the years, some of whom are now grandmothers and sometimes even great grandmothers. Congratulations Marion on making it to 100!

David Maclure (The details and quotes from Marion’s life are taken from an article she wrote a few years ago for the Green School – with thanks to Brian Grumbridge for bringing it to my attention.)