Eighty year old Vine Paul Doulton visited Vinehall last Saturday. It was a wonderful day for reminiscing!

Paul’s association with Vinehall goes back a long way to January 1946. The school had just returned from evacuation at Killerton Park in Devon and the Canadian troops who had been stationed at Vinehall had recently left, leaving the house and grounds in a shocking state of repair.

Paul was five years old; his RAF fighter pilot father had been killed in action and his American mother Carol was determined that her son had to be brought up as an Englishman. She applied to teach at Vinehall and Paul came with her. Carol then married Tom Gilbart in 1949 and had two more children – Andrew who became a QC and daughter Marian. With Richard and Pat Taylor, the Gilbarts built the strong foundations and principles that Vinehall is founded upon, working together right through to the mid-70s when David and Sally Chaplin arrived.

Paul is an amazing linguist and worked tirelessly for the Wellcome Foundation. He now lives in Mexico but he has always loved Vinehall and was keen to revisit.

The Doulton / Gilbart dynasty has continued at Vinehall. Paul’s son Daniel was Head Boy in the Chaplin era and now works for SCEYE in the USA, an exciting technology project. His granddaughter Siena was Head Girl in the Julie Robinson era and now works for Thrift+, an online recycling company that recycles good quality clothing which benefits sellers and charities in equal measure.

The photo taken in the Melon Garden – (left to right) Maria (Paul’s daughter) Sienna (Paul’s Granddaughter) Sebastian (Maria’s husband) David and Sally Chaplin, Paul Doulton and Mary (Sally’s sister)

By Sally Chaplin.