‘I was very lucky to have met her’ - tributes paid to beloved Drayton headteacher, artist and friend

Patricia Howe with partner Peter Brown in 2012. Ms Howe had been made an honorary grandmother at The

Patricia Howe with partner Peter Brown in 2012. Ms Howe had been made an honorary grandmother at The Free School in Norwich by principal Tania Sidney-Roberts. Picture: Tania Sidney-Roberts - Credit: Archant

Tributes have been paid to a retired Drayton headteacher who shaped the community and thousands of pupils' lives.

Patricia Howe with her entry into a competition to design a sign for a housing development in Swaffh

Patricia Howe with her entry into a competition to design a sign for a housing development in Swaffham. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Archant

Patricia Howe led Drayton First and Middle School - now the infant and junior - from 1978 until 1996.

She died at the end of July aged 76, prompting warm tributes from former pupils, colleagues and friends.

Among them was Tania Sidney-Roberts, principal at The Free School Norwich, who described her as a 'fantastic lady'.

She said Ms Howe, who lived in Dereham, had been 'hugely supportive' when she started teaching at the middle school in the 1990s and had been involved as she, years later, set up the free school, becoming a governor and trust member.

Former Norwich City footballer John Deehan, school parents Tony Reynolds and Brian Hawkins and headt

Former Norwich City footballer John Deehan, school parents Tony Reynolds and Brian Hawkins and headteacher Pat Howe pictured at Drayton Infant School. Picture: Adrian Judd - Credit: Adrian Judd/Archant Norfolk 2010


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'She was always on the end of the phone to give advice if needed, drawing upon her many years of experience as a headteacher herself,' she said.

'Up until the end of our summer term, she continued to request a copy of the school's fortnightly newsletter, so that she could keep up to date with all that the children were doing.'

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She described her friend as a 'very talented painter' and 'lover of nature', and said she had been a support when both women battled illnesses.

'She once told me she thought we must both be descended from the Norfolk tribe of Boudicca, as we were both so determined not to be beaten in the battle,' Mrs Sidney-Roberts said.

Peter Brown, Ms Howe's partner of 14 years, said she was a 'popular lady' who made friends easily.

'I was very lucky to have met her and we had some very good years together,' he said. 'She was well-respected and someone people loved to be around.'

Michael Silvester, a former Drayton pupil and a current teacher at the junior school, added: 'I remember her being a very stern headteacher, but a lot of fun, and someone who really was so bothered about all the children and making the school a part of the community. The values she left are still here today.'

On Twitter, Drayton Junior School said she 'helped shape many lives and the community itself'.

Drayton Flower Club, where she was a member and former chairman, posted on Facebook to say she had 'left her caring mark' on countless pupils.

• If you would like to pay tribute, email lauren.cope@archant.co.uk

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