Pamela Mary Sandilands (the Dowager) Lady Torphichen was educated at the Convent (Old Palace) Mayfield, Sussex, and the Royal Academy of Music (where she obtained her degree: LRAM). Afterwards she trained with the Red Cross and became a V.A.D. nurse (serving with the Royal Navy) in the last years of the 2nd World War. With the conclusion of war-time service she joined the Young Conservatives and was elected a Borough Councillor before eventually marrying Thomas (a former Royal Air Force officer, 2nd World War). Later as a widow (ten years after her husband's early death) Pamela married James Bruce Sandilands ("Master of Torphichen") in the United States where he was teaching as a history professor. James and Pamela had first met and become friends many years before while he was a young undergraduate at Oxford University. Within a short time after their marriage James's elderly father (the 13th Lord Torphichen) sadly died suddenly at home in Scotland. This forced James and Pamela to return from America to Britain much earlier than envisaged to look after the Sandiland's historic family seat "Calder" - a castle built in the 1300s. (Among the distinguished people who visited or stayed there in the past was the renowned protestant preacher Knox and celebrated composer/pianist Chopin).
The Rt. Hon. James Bruce Sandilands 14th Lord Torphichen has the distinction of being the first (and apparently only) member of the Sandilands family to return to the Catholic Church since the Reformation - the period when the family had acquired the title of Lord Torphichen. The Sandilands (Lord Torphichen) connection with Torphichen Preceptory (of the Knights of St John, Knights of Malta) in Scotland meant James inherited the oldest links in the British Isles with this historic religious order (See : "The Knights of Malta" by H.J.A. Sire, published by Yale University Press 1994 - a history on the Knights of St John). It is an organisation familiar to Pamela.
On becoming widowed (on both the first and second occasions) she had involved herself each year with helping the sick at Lourdes with the Knights of Malta. As a result she made many good friends within the order, and became a Companion of the Scottish Delegation. Pamela was later elected president of the Ladies of Charity, a post she held for twenty-five years. (The organisation had been established by St. Vincent de Paul to help the homeless, sick and elderly. It thus has the distinction of being one of the world's oldest charities). Among her other activities Pamela has also been involved with the charity 'Aid to the Church in Need', raising funds for them through charity work.
Lastly there is her music. Ever since her time at the Royal Academy of Music Pamela continued her interest in the piano. She studies piano with York Bowen and singing with Roy Henderson and composition with Dr. Frederick Durrant. In 1977, she collaborated with Lee Pierce, writing the music for the play Tea and Tyranny which was performed at the Loeb Theatre, Cambridge, Mass. (USA). In 1988 she read Irina Ratushinskaya’s poem Song of Freedom, en route to Boston and, by the time the plane landed, the song was almost complete. Some of her later musical compositions have been published and performed (most notably The Great Atlantic Waltz which she composed to mark NATO's Anniversary: this was first performed by musicians at their 40th anniversary party held in London in 1989 and received favourable reviews in the press at the time).
It spite of recent illness Pamela still retains an interest in the work of the charities she supported over the years, and seeing her many friends who continue to give support.
List of Works
Awakening, The [Joseph Stansbury] - for medium voice and piano
Cuckoo by Moonlight [Sugette Compton] - for medium voice and piano
Great Atlantic Waltz, The
Isle, The [Percy Bysshe Shelley] - for high voice and piano
Not Yet [Anonymous Welsh] - for medium voice and piano
Scorpio [Alfred Marnau] - for medium voice and piano
Song of Freedom [Irina Ratushinskaya] - for medium voice and piano
To Electra [Robert Herrick] - for medium voice and piano
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