Robina Hattersley

In this interview Robina invites us to accompany her on her journey through life starting with her birth in Salisbury as the fourth daughter of Dr Salome Pelly and her husband clergyman Richard Pelly. 

A child of the Second World War, Robina grew up at a time when infectious disease was rife and as a young child caught scarlet fever. The war, combined with a mother whose work as a GP covered several large rural practices, meant that she had a somewhat unconventional childhood. Her adventures include bring a pony back from Ireland single-handed aged 14.

After stints at two very different boarding schools Robina gained a place at Bristol University to study English & Drama

It was while she was at Bristol she met her future husband Tim Hattersley who a medical student at Cambridge. They married shortly after Robina’s graduation and moved to London where Robina worked as a teacher in a secondary modern school and Tim continued his medical training.

Following the birth of their first child they moved to Salisbury where Tim got a job as a house officer and Robina combined looking after her young children with various teaching jobs and running a play group at the time when the playgroup movement was in its infancy. She continued her playgroup work on her move to East Anglia where she became Preschool Playgroup Organiser for Norfolk & Suffolk.

She returned to Salisbury when her husband went into partnership with her mother to run a surgery in Mill Road and has lived here ever since

Robina with her travel sketching kit
Have sketchbook will travel!

With children grown up it was time to travel and start a new career. Visiting places such as Nepal, Mongolia and Sub-Saharan Africa with her trusty sketchbook, she set up her own business and began giving talks to schools and other organisations.

watercolour of elephants being washed
Washing the Elephants
Women with colourful saris drying
Women with colourful saris drying
Watercolour scenes of village life
Village Life

Alongside her new business she championed various causes including the fight to set up the Arts Centre in which she made an innovative and successful intervention.

A Parable to Save the Arts Centre
A Parable to Save the Arts Centre
Parable Illustration
Parable Illustration

The final part of Robina’s story focuses on her voluntary work and support for charities which often took a very hands on approach, from working with refugees to inviting victims of torture to stay for a holiday. In all Robina has led a fascinating life full of twists and turns, disappointments and triumphs. We are privileged to be her companions as she tells her story.

Interview & Article Barbara Evans
Robina Hattersley

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