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RNLI volunteer and Women’s Institute member Tatiana Macaire dies aged 90

A Lymington woman who threw herself into community life which saw her part of numerous local groups and organisations has passed away aged 90.

Tatiana Macaire was involved with the Lymington branch of the RNLI and the Women’s Institute, as well as being an active member of St John’s Church in Boldre, for which she edited the parish magazine for eight years.

She was also asked to become one of the first licensed preachers in the diocese, with her thought-provoking sermons given an extra edge after she thought she owed it to her listeners to study theology at Sarum College.

Tatiana Macaire
Tatiana Macaire

Tatiana was born in Ventnor, Isle of Wight, on 3rd January 1933, to Dr Alec Miller, the medical superintendent of the Royal National Hospital for Diseases of the Chest, and Nadia Veronica (née Danilevitch), a Russian aristocrat who had escaped on foot through the snow to Norway in 1917 and later trained as a nurse at St Thomas’ in London.

Tatiana had a conventional upbringing, despite her boarding school being evacuated to Keswick in Cumbria during the war, where lessons took place in a train station waiting room.

While studying at St Hugh's College, Oxford, her revered tutor, philosopher Mary Warnock, believed Tatiana would be wasted on any career but teaching.

She accordingly started teaching classics and acquired her lifelong belief that although mixed classes befitted boys, girls should have the option of single-sex education to reach their full potential.

Tatiana put her career on hold in 1963, when she married James Macaire, a rising star in the United Africa Company, which later became Unilever.

She travelled with him to postings in Ghana, Nigeria, Denmark and Germany.

They later returned to the UK and their sons Timothy and Robert were born.

In 1973 when the children were old enough to go to school themselves, she resumed teaching at Farnham Girls’ Grammar School and rose rapidly to become head of the classics department.

In 1978, with the merger of the girls and boys grammar schools, Tatiana enjoyed being senior tutor of the newly formed sixth form college.

Not long after, she moved on to become headmistress of Channing School, a public girls school in Highgate, North London.

Later she would move to Ashford School in Kent, where one of her first duties as headteacher in 1984 was to oversee the manufacture and installation of a science experiment for NASA to send into orbit, and one of her last in 1992 was to serve as president of the Girls’ Schools Association.

When she and James retired to Lymington they continued to enjoy their lifelong hobbies of sailing and travelling.

She became less active with her volunteering work when James became immobile and passed away in 2016, but was comforted by visits from former pupils and fellow teachers who had felt blessed and inspired by her combination of hard work and kindness.

Tatiana passed away on 20th June and her funeral will be held 24th July at the Church of St John the Baptist in Boldre.

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