Sue Hilsdon (née Sear, Class of 1969)

Tell us what you do for a living?
I’m an occupational therapist, I retired 2 months ago, after 40 years. My husband and I owned and managed a holiday complex in North Devon for 20 years. I now Volunteer as a trustee with our local Almshouses, and with a Day Centre for people who are homeless or transiting into housing.
Are you doing what you thought you’d be doing after you left school?
Yes, I went straight from school to study at OT college.
What’s been your inspiration – what’s pulled you forwards and into your current role?
Inspiration from my work: seeing the value, scope and profile of the profession increase over the course of my career.
What would you say is your biggest achievement to date, the thing you’re most proud of? Professionally or personally!
My biggest professional achievements are managing a county-wide wheelchair service and lecturing at Kings College Hospital, London.
Business-wise: designing, commissioning and developing the first camping barn in North Devon.
Personally: my family.
Was there a particular teacher, or a moment at school that particularly inspired you?
Patti Pearce inspired and encouraged my creativity.
How important do you think your school days were in shaping who you are today?
The chief things that I took away from RLS were a work ethic and a love of learning (although this wasn’t so apparent at school!)
Very little of what I learned has been of direct use! However, my love of the coast, and the understanding of its landforms comes from Tad Newton and geography field trips.
The other valuable thing I took away was long standing and enduring friendships.
What’s your work:life balance like? How important is that to you?
I’m retired but still using my Occupational Therapy skills including blogging, crafting and gardening.

What advice would you give to today’s students who may be struggling to choose which path to take?

What advice would you give to today’s student who may be struggling to choose which path to take?
Pathways aren’t always straightforward or obvious. Choose something you are interested in, or which has scope to develop. There are always the opportunities to change tack, or retrain, if you are willing to keep learning. 
My choice of Occupational Therapy has offered many opportunities, and still inspires me. I could never have guessed the type of work I would do. I’ve worked for government departments, in large London hospitals, teaching hospitals, County services, and small rural community services. Also with charities and equipment companies.  I’ve lectured and participated in international conferences, and given education to my peers and students. I’ve worked with fantastic patients, seeing them achieve so much.  I am still passionate, in retirement, to effect change and promote my profession. 
Most of all, no job is for ever, so keep other interests and contacts fresh in your life. 
Finally, do you have a favourite quote, expression or mantra which inspires you to keep going?
‘Life is an interpretation of the facts.’

Application to Sixth Form 2023

Save the Date

The Sixth Form Open Evening will be held on 17th November 2022.

Important announcement

We are open today, Tuesday 13th December. If the situation changes with the weather we will update the website and social media accordingly.