Phyllis Mills (nee Oliver)

27th April 1926 - 15th January 2017

Phyllis passed away peacefully on Sunday 15th January 2017 at the age of 90 from pneumonia. She spent the last two years of her life at Acorn Court Care Home in Redhill, Surrey. The funeral service was held on Monday February 13th at Surrey and Sussex Crematorium, Crawley, Sussex. There were 20 ex-redhillians (1 staff member + 19 pupils) present as well as her nephews Andrew Halladey and Richard Halladey plus their spouses, other relatives and friends.

RHS attendees: Adrian Gray, Andrew Cleare, Bernard Smith (& wife Ann), Chris Brougham, Chris Davies, Donard Baird, Jason Haiselden, John Spiers (& wife Leigh), Mark Conway (now Mark Dell), Marc Maclachlan, Mike Warren, Nick Hendley, Nigel Roche, Nigel Van Dyk, Pete Bradshaw, Peter Scott, Pete Still, Phil Worley, Roy Clark, Tony Hillman

Phyllis was a beautiful woman - inside and out.

Terry Wilson - February 2017




Phyllis Mills (or you may know her as Phyllis Oliver) by Andrew Halladey

Phyllis was born on 27th April 1926 with her twin sister Daphne and grew up at Barming, near Maidstone with her mum Dorothy and dad Eddie. The house at Barming remained the family home throughout her parent's life, initially Phyllis and Daphne grew up there (fighting as siblings will) then through their schooling until they made their own way in the world but always able to return to the home.

Phyllis' big move, that became the most significant part of her life, was her move to Red Hill School where she worked for Otto Shaw in that unique establishment from the 1940's until its closure in 1992. At Red Hill School Phyllis worked as the school secretary, but like all things about Red Hill titles and rules seem to mean nothing, and Phyllis qualified in Psychology and provided support and care to the boys and their families.

This was Phyllis' calling and living in that community she has made so many friends that she cherished and who have remained close. The number of good wishes and expressions of how Phyllis was special to many at the school has been a comfort to the family. Phyllis married Lawrence Mills (the art teacher) in 1957 and they lived in The Cottage at Red Hill until the school closed. The Cottage was a sanctuary and an education to those that visited. Andrew and Richard as nephews and the school boys during term time, where we all learned of fine things, art, music, good food and always a listening ear and guiding hand.

Some may remember that Phyllis and Lawrence lived quite separate lives, and whilst for the family they hosted excellent traditional family events (Christmas was a speciality) they each pursued different futures. It was then a comfort and surprise that after Red Hill Lawrence became committed to support Phyllis as she got older. Phyllis and Lawrence moved to Bexhill in 1992 to a spacious flat where they recreated many aspects of The Cottage in a more modern setting. They established a good relationship with the local community, and enjoyed their separate and shared interests until Lawrence died in 2011.

Phyllis was not strong and became dependent on carers, was regularly visited by her family, and was supported by cleaner Sandra, who provided care for Phyllis that can only be described as saintly, without which Phyllis could not have coped. Eventually Phyllis' medical needs meant she had to move to 24 hour care in 2014 but this had the silver lining that Phyllis and Daphne were together again at Acorn Court in 'Redhill' , Surrey after several years when they couldn't meet.

Daphne died at the end of 2015 and Phyllis in January 2017.


Andrew Halladey and John Spiers gave the eulogies. Andrew was pleased to see the RHS attendees and link faces to names. He was also grateful for what the RHS group told him of their memoirs of Phyllis. In attendance (ex-RHS) were: Donard Baird, Peter Bradshaw, Roy Clark, Andrew Cleare, Peter Still, Michael Warren, Adrian Gray, Bernard Smith (& wife Ann), Chris Brougham, Chris Davies, Donard Baird, Jason Haiselden, John Spiers (& wife Leigh), Mark Conway (Mark Dell), Marc Maclachlan, Nick Hendley, Nigel Roche, Nigel Van Dyk, Peter Scott, Phil Worley, Tony Hillman

Afterwards the reception took place at the Heathy Farm Pub just across the road from the crematorium. Phyllis met Lawrence Mills at Red Hill School (both were members of staff). They married on 23rd March 1957 at East Sutton Church. Andrew Cleare was one of the Red Hill pupils who attended.

Terry Wilson - February 2017



click on images below for the memorial service (courtesy of Andrew & Richard Halladey)

click on photo below for larger image taken inside the crematorium (courtesy of Peter Scott)

click on photos below for larger images