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‘A passion for words and language’ - Tribute paid to Norfolk teacher and author

PUBLISHED: 16:03 22 December 2019 | UPDATED: 16:03 22 December 2019

Audrey Serreau, née Capp. Picture: Supplied by Elizabeth Serreau

Audrey Serreau, née Capp. Picture: Supplied by Elizabeth Serreau

Archant

A woman who wrote a history of Norfolk workhouse as well as essays on the county’s dialect has died at the age of 94.

Audrey Serreau, née Capp at Lingwood School in 1935. Picture: Supplied by Elizabeth SerreauAudrey Serreau, née Capp at Lingwood School in 1935. Picture: Supplied by Elizabeth Serreau

Audrey Serreau, née Capp, was born in Freethorpe and went onto spend much of her adult life in France, after first studying French at school in Lingwood.

Her daughter, Elizabeth, said she continued her studies at Norwich's Blyth School for Girls - now Sewell Park Academy - and went onto study modern languages on scholarship at Leeds University.

Elizabeth said: "One of her first memories went back to the joy of holding a book in her hands and exploring words and language.

"There also was an old recipe book which early on, gave her the desire to explore the art of cooking."

Audrey Serreau, née Capp, in Paris in 1947. Picture: Supplied by Elizabeth SerreauAudrey Serreau, née Capp, in Paris in 1947. Picture: Supplied by Elizabeth Serreau

After moving to France to teach after her studies, she met her husband, André Serreau, in Poitiers, and they had three children.

Elizabeth said: ""She met a French couple who invited her to France at Tours, then in Poitiers, where she taught Spanish and French at L'Ecole Normale - a training school for teachers - during a one-year teaching appointment.

"She created a warm and welcoming home for her family and friends throughout the years.

"Audrey always kept contact with Norfolk and friends there, throughout her life.

Audrey Serreau, née Capp. Picture: Supplied by Elizabeth SerreauAudrey Serreau, née Capp. Picture: Supplied by Elizabeth Serreau

"She stayed attached to her roots in Norfolk."

Mrs Serreau founded an association called 'Les Femmes Étrangères' to support foreign women living in France, and she also learned Spanish, German, Dutch, Italian, some Danish and Russian.

She wrote the book 'Times and Years' tracing the history of the Blofield Union Workhouse in Lingwood, from its foundation in 1835 to when it was closed after the Second World War.

Elizabeth said: "Audrey's research for this book was meticulous and well documented, with the help of the county archives, the Norfolk Records Office, and the museum curator and archivist of the Norwich Union."

Andre and Audrey Serreau, née Capp, in 1948. Picture: Supplied by Elizabeth SerreauAndre and Audrey Serreau, née Capp, in 1948. Picture: Supplied by Elizabeth Serreau

Mrs Serreau also contributed columns about the Norfolk dialect to the Eastern Daily Press.

Audrey Serreau, née Capp, graduating from the University of Leeds in 1946. Picture: Supplied by Elizabeth SerreauAudrey Serreau, née Capp, graduating from the University of Leeds in 1946. Picture: Supplied by Elizabeth Serreau

Audrey Serreau, née Capp, in around 1934. Picture: Supplied by Elizabeth SerreauAudrey Serreau, née Capp, in around 1934. Picture: Supplied by Elizabeth Serreau

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