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 Post subject: Winners of Margot Venables Prize
PostPosted: 29 Apr 2018, 22:21 
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I have been re-reading Gay from China where Jo awards the Margot Venables Prize for the first time. Gay wins the prize on this occasion but who are the later winners? The only two that I can remember are Mary Lou and Tom Gay and I am a bit hazy about them!


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 Post subject: Re: Winners of Margot Venables Prize
PostPosted: 30 Apr 2018, 01:49 
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Hi Scott’s another.

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 Post subject: Re: Winners of Margot Venables Prize
PostPosted: 30 Apr 2018, 04:02 
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I think those are the only ones that are mentioned - Gay in Gay from China, Tom in Wrong CS, Jo Scott in Kenya and Mary-Lou in Coming of Age.

In Kenya it says that the award isn't given every year. (and Prunella Davidson is specifically called out during the prize ceremony as not being eligible, as she was heroic but not helpful).

I think EBD may have forgotten about it in later books, as Len doesn't win it.

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 Post subject: Re: Winners of Margot Venables Prize
PostPosted: 30 Apr 2018, 09:12 
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It gets renamed as Josephine Bettany prize when Mary-Lou gets it, which seems rather unfair to Margot's memory. Wonder how Daisy and Primula felt about it.


Last edited by ivohenry on 30 Apr 2018, 13:30, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Winners of Margot Venables Prize
PostPosted: 30 Apr 2018, 09:21 
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I hate that. It's supposedly because the girls want it named after Joey. OK, none of them would have known Margot and, by then, a lot of them wouldn't have known Daisy or Primula either - and I suppose it also seemed really cool to have a prize named after a famous author. But the whole point of a prize in memory of someone is just that - that it's in memory of them. It's so disrespectful to Margot, who was a former member of staff as well as being Jem's sister-in-law and the mother of two former pupils. It seems very out of character for Joey to have agreed to it.

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 Post subject: Re: Winners of Margot Venables Prize
PostPosted: 30 Apr 2018, 13:36 
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Yes - if Joey wanted a prize named after her she should have created a new one. She could have had something like an essay or short story prize, and left the MV as it was. Actually there aren't many prizes in the CS - it's often a feature of GO stories that EBD didn't include. THe MV is the equivalent of the Popularity prize in several stories, but there don't seem to be others - or am I forgetting any?


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 Post subject: Re: Winners of Margot Venables Prize
PostPosted: 30 Apr 2018, 14:31 
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Isn't there already a Josephine M. Bettany prize? Or am I thinking of a scholarship?

jennifer wrote:
In Kenya it says that the award isn't given every year. (and Prunella Davidson is specifically called out during the prize ceremony as not being eligible, as she was heroic but not helpful).


That's so embarrassing and even a bit mean, to announce that Prunella wasn't good enough.

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 Post subject: Re: Winners of Margot Venables Prize
PostPosted: 30 Apr 2018, 14:40 
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How many different attributes did the winner have to have to win it? I don't recall it being won that often. Did Joey protest about it being re - named? I think I would have done in that case; it really doesn't seem fair she gets the lime light even if she is EBD's main character.

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 Post subject: Re: Winners of Margot Venables Prize
PostPosted: 30 Apr 2018, 14:44 
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There are scholarships, and there's a prize for saving life (personally, I would be extremely worried about sending a daughter or ward to be educated at a school where there were so many potentially fatal accidents that it was thought necessary to have an award for saving life, but never mind), but no big prizes as such. We hear a lot about form prizes and subject prizes, and it actually sounds as if every single form has prizes for every single subject, as well as an overall form prize :roll: . We don't hear who wins them, though!

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 Post subject: Re: Winners of Margot Venables Prize
PostPosted: 30 Apr 2018, 17:28 
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emma t wrote:
How many different attributes did the winner have to have to win it? I don't recall it being won that often. Did Joey protest about it being re - named? I think I would have done in that case; it really doesn't seem fair she gets the lime light even if she is EBD's main character.


I think you have to help other girls, put them first, be nice and kind to everyone, that kind of stuff. Saving a life isn't a requirement. I can see why Prunella didn't win since she is stroppy and stand-offish when she arrives, I just think it's unkind to highlight her ineligibility in front of the school!

The implication is the girls clamoured for it to be named after Jo and Jo bowed to the pressure. Honestly, I can't imagine Jo agreeing to such a thing. She and Daisy are close. She saw first-hand Daisy trying to cope with her mother's death; she even has one of her daughters go by Margot in part to please Daisy. I don't see Jo agreeing to erase Margot's name since I'm sure that would hurt Daisy and Prim. Jo endows the award, so the name is really up to her. Even if that weren't the case, she has enough influence in the school that the Margot Venables prize could have retained its name had she said so.

And surely Madge would have prevented it? Margot was her sister-in-law and Madge helped raise the Venables girls. I can't imagine her agreeing that the school could erase her name like that.

I also can't imagine the girls pushing en masse for a name change or the staff agreeing to it. Doesn't every school have awards named for old students/staff/parents/donors/whatevers? They don't get renamed by popular opinion; they are part of the legacy of the school and have great meaning for the school as an institution even if the names are meaningless for the current crop of individuals.

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 Post subject: Re: Winners of Margot Venables Prize
PostPosted: 30 Apr 2018, 20:31 
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They start life-saving medals but am I right in thinking that they can be awarded retrospectively so ML gets it for saving Kathie and so does Hilary who helped. Was it awarded to Jo Scott eventually? How many would Joey win?


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 Post subject: Re: Winners of Margot Venables Prize
PostPosted: 30 Apr 2018, 20:50 
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Think it was retrospective just to beginning in Switzerland, so none for Joey!


Last edited by ivohenry on 30 Apr 2018, 22:00, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Winners of Margot Venables Prize
PostPosted: 30 Apr 2018, 21:21 
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Why would all the girls ask that the award name be changed, it just doesn't ring true, and surely all Joey had to do was to refuse to allow it to be changed, it always annoys me that it happened.


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 Post subject: Re: Winners of Margot Venables Prize
PostPosted: 30 Apr 2018, 22:24 
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I think EBD couldn't bear the thought of ML receiving a prize that didn't have Joey's name attached. She got another, totally random gift, the next year


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 Post subject: Re: Winners of Margot Venables Prize
PostPosted: 01 May 2018, 04:17 
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The name change seems weirdly presumptuous. I mean, how likely is it that a group of adolescents will petition their school to change the name of an occasionally awarded school prize? Plus, even if they did, how likely is it that the school would rename an award that was in honour of someone who had died? (Short of some sort of massive disgrace falling on the person). I strongly suspect that it's done to show how amazing everyone thinks Joey is, but it makes everyone involved look bad.

And yes, a school awarding multiple medals for lifesaving on school outings is not a good advertisement for the school.

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 Post subject: Re: Winners of Margot Venables Prize
PostPosted: 01 May 2018, 05:49 
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I suppose the change comes from two parts. From an in-story narrative, the prize-money is not coming from Margot, it is coming from Jo, so it makes some sense for the giver to be given the acknowledgement. It has also been more than a decade since Margot's death. It is noteworthy when, in Kenya , it is awarded to Jo Scott, Primula's reaction to the mention of her mother is to look 'startled' rather than expressing the emotion Daisy did in Tom when it was given for the first time. That doesn't suggest a huge emotional attachment to me. After all, Primula is only five or so when her mother dies. We don't admittedly know what Daisy thinks of the matter.

From an authorial POV, it makes a lot more sense for the prize to be associated with a key character rather than having to explain for the umpteenth time to the readers who Margot Venables is, particularly when both her daughters have so completely left the school.

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 Post subject: Re: Winners of Margot Venables Prize
PostPosted: 01 May 2018, 07:49 
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As mynameisdumbnuts said, most schools have prizes like these. I got the Elaine someone prize, and I've no idea who Elaine ever was - presumably a former teacher or pupil - but the point was that the prize was named in her honour. Sports clubs have similar prizes.

Mary-Lou getting a special prize just for being Mary-Lou is along the same lines: it's just bigging up favourite characters. All head girls or head boys of any school should get a prize/gift as a thank you for their hard work, and, if the CS didn't have a prize like that, it should have done :D , but to give one just to Mary-Lou seems to belittle all the effort made by previous head girls.

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 Post subject: Re: Winners of Margot Venables Prize
PostPosted: 01 May 2018, 10:22 
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I got a prize when I was Head Girl for "public service to the school". It was named after a former headmisress, don't know if it was funded by a bequest.


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 Post subject: Re: Winners of Margot Venables Prize
PostPosted: 01 May 2018, 14:34 
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KB wrote:
I suppose the change comes from two parts. From an in-story narrative, the prize-money is not coming from Margot, it is coming from Jo, so it makes some sense for the giver to be given the acknowledgement. It has also been more than a decade since Margot's death. It is noteworthy when, in Kenya , it is awarded to Jo Scott, Primula's reaction to the mention of her mother is to look 'startled' rather than expressing the emotion Daisy did in Tom when it was given for the first time. That doesn't suggest a huge emotional attachment to me. After all, Primula is only five or so when her mother dies. We don't admittedly know what Daisy thinks of the matter.

From an authorial POV, it makes a lot more sense for the prize to be associated with a key character rather than having to explain for the umpteenth time to the readers who Margot Venables is, particularly when both her daughters have so completely left the school.


This comes across a bit like, "Well, Margot's been dead a while, so it doesn't matter anymore," which is a bit sad. The whole point of an award like this is you think the memory of someone is worth keeping alive even decades later! I thought that Jo created the award out of love for Daisy and Prim, but also to honour Margot herself -- her hard work, tenacity, etc. Even if Daisy and Prim heal years later, Margot's character and achievements, which deserved honouring in the first place, remain.

I think there are ways to keep the award in Margot's name and acknowledge Jo's role in it. Every time the award is presented, there is (or should be) a brief explanation of who Margot was, why there is an award in her name and who is behind it. That makes sure new girls are aware of who Margot is. If their favourite author thought so much of her, she must be special indeed!

I do agree though that the change makes sense from an authorial POV though and having the award connected to a major character. As a young child, I would have accepted this no problem. It's only as an adult that I think it's a bit iffy.

Alison H wrote:
As mynameisdumbnuts said, most schools have prizes like these. I got the Elaine someone prize, and I've no idea who Elaine ever was - presumably a former teacher or pupil - but the point was that the prize was named in her honour. Sports clubs have similar prizes.


My school offered a prize in the name of a student killed by a drunk driver I think 10 years before. His parents endowed the prize even though they no longer had any direct connection to the school -- no more children as students, no connection to staff, etc. None of my graduating class had even heard of the family, but we listened to the explanation of the award and what it meant and clapped the winner because we recognized the honour. It would have been inappropriate for anyone to push for the award to be renamed and even more odd for the parents to agree. I realise there's a difference between your own children and your sister's sister-in-law, but at the end of the day you're doing something in the name of someone you love and that should stand by itself.

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 Post subject: Re: Winners of Margot Venables Prize
PostPosted: 02 May 2018, 16:06 
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Alison H wrote:

Mary-Lou getting a special prize just for being Mary-Lou is along the same lines: it's just bigging up favourite characters. All head girls or head boys of any school should get a prize/gift as a thank you for their hard work, and, if the CS didn't have a prize like that, it should have done :D , but to give one just to Mary-Lou seems to belittle all the effort made by previous head girls.


But we don't know that others aren't given one! :D Every single thing can't be mentioned in every book, and ML left in quite a late book, so not many years left. Hilda could have given a gift to every HG after that, for all we know, but we don't see many end of year assemblies.

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