Alumni of the world’s most prestigious nanny school, Norland College, have reunited 40 years later to reminisce about their careers as nannies for the elite.
Norland’s class of 1982, all in their 60s, met again Saturday.
Class 87 call themselves the “Original Norland Nannies” because they trained in Denford Park, Berkshire, before the college moved to Bath in 2002.
Since their training days, the group, who gathered for their reunion in Notting Hill, London, have worked for celebrities including Diana Ross and author Danielle Steel.
The women spoke about their training, which today includes getaway driving and martial arts, as well as psychology, child health, philosophy and social sciences.
Norland College Alumni Reunited 40 Years Later to Reminisce on Super-Elite Babysitting Careers
The class of 1982 call themselves the “original Norland nannies” because they trained in Denford Park, Berkshire, before the college moved to Bath in 2002.
The 130-year-old institution is the world’s oldest childcare training facility and produces nannies for the rich and famous, including the royal family.
Graduate nanny Maria Teresa Turrion Borrallo cares for Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis.
Mary Robinson, 60, from Norfolk, was the main organizer of the gathering and was singer Will Young’s babysitter when he was a baby.
“I feel like this is a day that should be recognized and remembered,” he said.
“I haven’t seen most of these people in 40 years – it’s absolutely fantastic to be all together again.”
Mary, who now works at a children’s hospital, still believes that being a nanny at Norland was the best time of her life.
‘It’s the best job in the world. “It’s incredibly rewarding,” he added.
‘If I had the chance to do it all over again, I would definitely do it.
‘Being Norwegian gives you the opportunity to expand. You are flying at the top and with that level of experience you can get a job anywhere.
“I’ve worked for high-profile families and those children have to be protected to the death.”
Norland’s nannies are often referred to as the real-life Mary Poppins, a nickname Mary says has followed her throughout her life.
“All the families I worked for called me Mary Poppins because my name is Mary,” she explained.
“To this day I still receive birthday and Christmas cards addressed to Mary Poppins.”
Karen Ibbot, 60, from Somerset, works part-time as a nanny and cried as she hugged her old friends.
He still loves working with children 40 years after graduation.
“Children keep you young,” he said.
‘The children I work for now are lovely and I couldn’t ask for a better family.
‘They make me laugh every day. I always laugh and smile at this job.
Some of the nannies photographed on the Denford Park estate, Berkshire, in the 1980s.
‘Just the other day, one of the boys turned to me and said, ‘Karen, I’m going to marry you.’
“I told her she wouldn’t marry anyone for a few years.” Her response was, “I guess you’ll be dead by then.”
Another nanny, Gilly Waugh, 60, from London, says Norland nannies are completely unique and unlike any other.
“The intensity and detail of the training is like nothing else in the world,” he said.
“What we have experienced there is a completely unique form of training, there is no other place like it.”
Katherine Jenkins, 60, from Herefordshire, also attended.
Known as Kitty, she says the skills she was taught at school were easily transferable to her career as a cabin crew member.
“If there were ever children on board, they would send me because I had experience,” he explained.
‘I didn’t know what I wanted to do growing up, I just knew I loved children.
‘My parents told me that if that was the case then I had to do it properly. That’s how I ended up in Norland.
The anticipation of reuniting with her classmates kept Kitty awake all night.
“I was so excited about this that I couldn’t sleep,” she added.
The former nannies were beaming as they gathered for their reunion in Notting Hill, London.
‘We all lived together for 19 months. Even after all this time apart, it feels like walking into a room with all your best friends.
‘They are exactly the same as I remember them. In the end, the friendships you make last a lifetime. It’s nice to know that everyone is here.
One of these girls introduced me to my husband. “It’s such a special bond.”
Sharon Charane, 60, from London, nicknamed Shazzy, is a games specialist at a hospital.
‘I was really anxious to come last night, but I’m really glad I convinced myself to do it. It’s amazing to be back; I feel very homesick,” he said.
“We are all united or united, so many people have made the effort to come even from outside London.
‘It’s a good job, at the end of the day you feel good. I love it, it keeps me young.”
Alison Ward, 60, from Southampton, continues to work with children as a nursery nurse.
When asked why she loves working with children, she said, “It’s the only thing I can do.” I have always worked with children and I don’t think I could do anything else.
‘I am very happy to continue working with children.
‘It’s great to see you all again. I must admit that I didn’t recognize some people at first, we all look very different.
“None of us have the same hair color as before, but the voices sound the same.”