Local Face: Belinda & Peter Horn

Belinda moved to Buckinghamshire from Surrey for her first teaching post at John Hampden First School after qualifying as a teacher in 1973. Peter, a Building Inspector, moved from Wimbledon to Aylesbury after Local Authority reorganisation in 1974. They met in 1975 at Group 20 (an organisation for people aged between 20 and 35 years) where Peter was the treasurer. Together they both helped to arrange speakers and events for the Group’s programme.

They were married on 12 February 1977 at Woldingham in Surrey. Snow fell that morning on the North Downs and Belinda was worried that Peter would not be able to get up the steep hill to the village but luckily the snow quickly thawed leaving wet slush everywhere. The bottom of her wedding dress was quite wet by the time the photographs had been taken!

Later that year Belinda and Peter moved into Bryants Acre having decided that they wanted to continue living in Wendover. Originally, they planned to stay about three years but they are still there. Peter, with the help of local builders, extended the house as their family grew. They valued (and still do) the friendship of all their neighbours and quickly joined the Bryants Acre babysitting circle when Denise was born in 1979 and Alison two years later.

Belinda stopped teaching to raise her family and started attending the Mothers and Toddlers at the Memorial Hall where she was quickly involved in the committee. As the children grew up she became involved in the Memorial Hall playgroup (now Wendover Preschool) where both children enjoyed the various activities.

In 1983, Belinda helped to form Wendover Wallabies, an after school gym club for children from 3 to 7 years. At this time there were very few out of school activities except swimming and ballet. Wendover Carnival approached them to run the Fancy Dress parade. Peter also took an active part in helping to set up the field for Carnival days.

Summer Sunday mornings were spent at the recently opened Wendover Swimming Pool, where one changed in the John Colet School, then briskly walked to the open air pool. Many friendships were formed at these sessions. They both soon became helpers at the pool, Peter sitting in the wooden shed taking the money whilst Belinda as lifeguard sheltered from the blustery weather in the overhang of the shed roof.

Peter joined the committee of the Friends of John Hampden when Denise started as a pupil there. Belinda returned to teaching in 1985, initially, at the John Hampden and then at the newly formed Halton Combined school. Here she helped form a PTA and introduced residential environmental study weeks to Shortenills having seen the benefits that these had on children. Peter came and stayed if there was an insufficient adult ratio overnight, leaving for work when the Shortenills’ staff came on duty for the day.

While their daughters enjoyed Brownies and then Guides, Belinda would willingly help at meetings, Pack Holidays and Guide Camps often in the role of first aider or cook. Meanwhile Peter was involved with the maintenance of the Wendover Guide Hut.

When Denise and Alison progressed onto the Wendover Middle School, Peter became a governor for four years before becoming a member of the Aylesbury High School PTA after the girls had transferred to that school.

Belinda returned to the John Hampden in 1990 where her interest in computers increased. She can recall how in the 1980’s the school’s first computer had programmes loaded by a cassette tape recorder which could take twenty minutes. As IT co-ordinator she slowly built up the numbers of computers in each classroom. Then she was involved in fitting out and equipping the new IT room with fifteen computers and finally she saw the introduction of interactive whiteboards & teachers’ laptops for every class.

Peter retired in 2003 and started volunteering at Pitstone Green Farm Museum where he frequently cut the grass in summer and helped restore artefacts during the winter. He also became a member of Wendover U3A, enjoying many of the group activities. Two years later Belinda decided that she would retire so that they could spend more time together but soon realised that she missed the buzz of school life and took a part time job at Thomas Hickman School in Aylesbury and later worked at Wendover Junior School.

As Belinda became involved in Wendover U3A she was invited to join the Travel Team, she likes finding interesting places to take a group for the day or a holiday. She helped with the day to day running of the newly constructed U3A website and with support, taught herself some very basic HTML. She continues her interest in computing by running a U3A Computer Group and the Wendover U3A website.

With friends Belinda created the Wendover History Walks (a journey through Wendover’s history from Norman times to the Second World War) to raise money for St Mary’s Church Refurbishment. After an introduction in the Church, Peter would lead the participants to meet their first costumed interpreter.

Through the U3A Peter and Belinda started to play bowls and they now enjoy membership of the Wendover & Chiltern Hills Bowls Club. They love outside activities and looking after their grandchildren.

In their retirement they both appreciate that Wendover is a wonderful, friendly village with so much to offer and they are very pleased that they decided to make their home here 39 years ago.