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Jack Sheffield
Beth Henderson
Vera Evans
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Ragley Characters

Beth Henderson

A slim, attractive woman about five feet six inches tall with long, honey-blond hair and a face that shone with health walked confidently into the office. She glanced down at the boiler suit and smiled.
‘Good morning,’ I said nervously, ‘welcome to Ragley.’
‘Hello again, Mr Sheffield,’ she said.
The first time we had met was two minutes earlier on the school driveway and my change of costume had not gone unnoticed. She raised her eyebrows as we shook hands. Her handshake was firm.
‘I’m Beth Henderson,’ she said. ‘I’ve been seconded for a year from my deputy headship in Thirkby to support English and Physical Education in North Yorkshire.’
She looked very young to be in such a post.

I walked back to my classroom, certain in the knowledge that a woman like Beth would have a boyfriend or partner who showered her with expensive gifts. It was also very doubtful Beth would be interested in a man with Buddy Holly spectacles and leather patches on the elbows of his jackets.

To my surprise, Beth Henderson walked in looking stunning in a light grey overcoat over a white polo neck jumper and a black A-line maxi-length skirt.

It was the first time Beth had driven me in her car and I became aware of the scent of Rive Gauche perfume and her fast, competent driving as we sped along the Ripon road. The stress of school and the irritating sore throat were soon forgotten as we chatted about music, a shared interest in historical buildings and what was going to happen to her when her one-year secondment ended and she returned to her deputy headship.