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Tributes to former Norfolk headteacher who ran school for 25 years

PUBLISHED: 21:22 26 June 2019 | UPDATED: 08:49 27 June 2019

Heather Bennett former head teacher at Clackclose school in Downham Market Picture: Michael Bennett

Heather Bennett former head teacher at Clackclose school in Downham Market Picture: Michael Bennett

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Tributes have been paid to a Norfolk headteacher who has died at the age of 91.

Heather Bennett was the head of Clackclose School in Downham Market for 25 years before she retired in 1989. She passed away at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital on June 13.

Miss Bennett, who grew up in Downham, taught at schools in Norwich and Hunstanton before returning to the town to become head at Clackclose - now the Nelson Academy - in 1965.

Her nephew Michael Bennett, 61, from Swaffham, said: "My aunt was an extraordinary woman, she had been a teacher so long she taught generations, teaching the grandchildren of the people she taught earlier on.

"Children were naturally drawn to her and she was good fun to be with.

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"I had a lady who taught alongside my aunt say to me that Heather made her into a headteacher and that was the type of woman she was, she would take the time to nurture and teach her staff.

"Like a lot of primary teachers she had this type of off-the-wall quirkiness, she was a very good actress and had a funny sense of humour much like the actress Joyce Grenfell.

"One of the things I remember most about her is her amazing imagination and ability to tell stories. She was a great storyteller. I have memories in my mind of books she used to read to me.

"Old colleagues would say as she told stories at assemblies people would inch forward because they were so enthralled by what she had to say."
Well known in the town, Miss Bennett was also a long-standing member of the Downham Market Methodist Church and was present when the church opened in 1966.

Rev Maurice Stafford, from the Downham Market Methodist Church, said: "Heather was a lovely lady, she was a genuine Christian woman who in her working years gave her life to working with children.

"She was very involved in the community and was interested in everything that was going on."

A thanksgiving service will be held at Downham Methodist Church, on Friday, June 28 at 2pm.

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