Carol (Donnison) Weston was born on the 15th September 1950 at St Helens in Lancashire, the only child of Kenneth Donnison (1914-1992) and Florence Skyrme Fairhurst (1917-2004) and was baptised on 31 December 1950 at Gorton Pariah Church, Manchester .
Having no siblings, her cousin, Nick Hough, was a surrogate brother. She went to school at Huyton College  , and although a Lancashire lass, thereby acquired a neutral accent. When she was thirteen her father became the optician/pharmacist for the Coop at Coventry and they moved there. She then attended Barrs Hill  from 1963 to 1968. This was a problem as the two schools were very different in their curriculae, She was ahead of the others on languages, but behind in science. Her father had a Ford Mark I Console which was called Ollie.
|Paris University identity card |
She remained at Ford, working mainly at Warley but with a spell at Trafford House, Basildon, until she retired in 2011. She worked mainly in Payroll, Software and Equipment Support (later renamed Software and Productivity Support) and Office Productivity departments. Towards the end of her Ford career she worked partly from home with a concept called Hot-desking and using the internet with VPN so that she could access Ford central network from home. This was 20 years before the world woke up to the possibilities during the Covid pandemic. She completed 25 years service  and shortly before retirement volunteered for part time working.
On 18th July 1983 she changed her last name by deed poll to Fairhurst. .
She married JG Weston in November 1988 at Brentwood registry office , and lived there, opposite Ford Central Office for a year, but then moved to South Woodham Ferrers. She was very much on the Arts side but her husband was very much on the Science side. They influenced each other and did many Open university courses together and some different ones.
|Carol and JG at Bath summer school|
She got a second degree, a BSc, from the OU studying Philosophy, Psychology, Astro Physics, Paleantology and Geology, among others. She sometimes took courses together with her husband, for example A101, the Arts foundation course, so theycould attend summer schools together. Her husband introduced her to bird watching and she became adept at being able to name birds at a distance.
She joined the South Woodham Ferrers U3A  in 2007, soon after it started in South Woodham Ferrers and has been a member of many groups. Just before her death she was still an active member of the Science and Technology and Digital Photography groups and she taught French to the French group.
She always had an interest in photography starting with an SLR (Zenith) and an Olympus Trip. When the digital cameras first came out, Carol, like many of us, saw the benefit of no longer having to worry about how many images one took, cost was no longer an issue. Many people looked down on digital as the early low resolutions were no match for the quality of film. Carol stuck with it though and learnt how to get the best out of Photoshop as well as the Camera and improve by entering club competitions and participating in the 365 Project []. She took the digital courses offered by Steve Hedges and the Open University course TG089 Digital Photography and learnt much from the digital photography group of our local U3A []. She became an accomplished photographer.
(This duplicates some of the above but gives a different perspective as she wrote it herself (about 2010).)
After I left school in 1968, I went to St Andrews University, where I graduated with an M.A. in French. I worked part-time after that (taught French at evening classes) while I looked after my son. In 1978, I trained as a teacher and taught French at a comprehensive school in Essex for 2 years. In 1980, the school acquired a computer and I'm afraid it was love at first sight! I left teaching to train as a computer programmer and ended up working for a large multi-national company, again in Essex. I'm still working there, now specialising in integrating computer software into the workplace. I enjoy the computer industry very much -it is always changing and always challenging. In 1988, I remarried and as he is another computer enthusiast we are a rather sad pair! In the 1990's I took a BSc degree in Psychology with the Open University. I try to keep up my French by attending advanced conversation classes at work and also by holidaying in France or Belgium as often as possible.
What have I been doing since 1968? <Takes a deep breath>. Went to St Andrews University, got a degree in French, got married, had a son, taught evening classes and then taught in a secondary school for 2 years. The school acquired a computer in 1980 and I fell in love with it! I left teaching to train as a computer programmer, did my Industrial Attachment at Ford in Brentwood, Essex, they offered me a job and I started there in February, 1981 (and am still there!). I got divorced, had a miserable few years on my own, then met John, who was also working at Ford as a systems programmer. We got married in 1988. In the 1990’s I did an Open University degree in Psychology, out of interest. My current job at Ford is working in Collaborative Applications – i.e. investigating ways of communicating on the PC with colleagues in other locations, using methods such as videoconferencing and data sharing. I get to play with the latest hardware and software and really am in my element! I’m afraid I have turned into a bit of a geek; I’m on the PC all day at work and also spend most of the evening and weekend at my PC too, reading email, working on web pages, surfing etc.. My interests (outside computing!) are astronomy (we have a 10 inch telescope in the garden), classical music, watercolour painting (I’m hopeless at it but it is very relaxing), cinema, wine, birdwatching and most things French. We have 2 cats and live in a small new town just south of Chelmsford, Essex. The house is within strolling distance of the River Crouch. We get some interesting birds here particularly in the winter and it’s just a short drive to Maldon to see the lovely Thames barges. These days I tend to go to London (40 minutes on the train) only for courses but we used to go to concerts and the opera quite regularly.
She attended a reunion, in about 2010, of former pupils of her grammer school. These are recollections she recorded afterwards,
Barr’s Hill Reunion: What struck me….
• Seeing a photo and not remembering where it was taken
• Seeing a message on a school magazine in my own handwriting but not remembering anything about it. And the handwriting has changed , even though I can recognise it as my own.
• Not being able to recognise the other girls until I’d read the name labels and then it clicked.
• Having anecdotes recited about oneself and just not remembering (taking somebody’s table at lunchtime when nobody else would, Lawrence of Arabia, the school choir)
• Having the same old gut feeling about people one didn’t get on with and having warm feelings again for those one did
• Realising that some perceptions/memories were inaccurate
• Realising that some things I found unpleasant were unpleasant to the others as well. I was not alone!
• Of course, how difficult it was to believe we were 50-year old women and that school was a long, long time ago.
They say there is a reason, They say that time will heal,
But neither time nor reason, Will change the way I feel,
No-one knows the heartache, That lies behind my smile,
No-one knows how many times, I have broken down and cried,
I want to tell you something, So there won’t be any doubt,
You’re so wonderful to think of, But so hard to be without.
From Melissa L Eshleman’s book, “Always Within; Grieving the Loss of Your Infant.”
I found this poem when looking for something suitable for our remember the children page. It seemed appropriate to express my feelings about Carol (they are still the same three years later) so I have included it here.
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Carol is 27 degrees from Isaac Asimov, 31 degrees from David Attenborough, 26 degrees from Bill Bryson, 25 degrees from Richard Dawkins, 37 degrees from Bengt Feldreich, 39 degrees from Ruth Gates, 21 degrees from Stephen Hawking, 33 degrees from Julius Miller, 25 degrees from Bill Nye, 28 degrees from Magnus Pyke, 33 degrees from Carl Sagan and 25 degrees from David Randall on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.
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