June Hitchcock: Fakenham teacher inspired generations and set national exam standards

Obit June Hitchcock

Obit June Hitchcock - Credit: Archant

One of the country's leading textile teachers, June Hitchcock, who has died after a short illness aged 85, set national examination standards.

The former Fakenham High School teacher, who also became head of the fourth and fifth years, moved to Norfolk in 1968 to teach needlework at the town's secondary modern school.

As the switch to comprehensive education took place, she assumed more responsibility for pastoral care at the school alongside her role as head of textiles.

In 1986, she became one of five teachers, who were appointed moderators for the London and East Anglia group textiles for the new GCSE examinations.

She had become the only East Anglian teacher to serve on the secondary examinations council's home economics committee, which set the syllabus for each subject.

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Born in Crosby, Merseyside, she went to school in Chester. After the Second World War, she graduated with a degree in English and geography from the University of Nottingham, which had been granted a Royal Charter in 1948. She joined the Women's Royal Naval Service (the Wrens), where she became a radar operator.

After marrying an aircraft engineer also serving in the Royal Navy, she had to leave the service.

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In the 1950s, they farmed on Snowdonia, raising sheep for several years until her husband, William, returned to his former career in aircraft design and production.

Having qualified as a teacher, and gained experience in Wales and also Surrey, she applied for a post at Fakenham Secondary Modern. Later, they divorced.

After retiring in the late 1980s, she continued as a visiting tutor and taught youngsters, who were unable usually for health reasons, to attend school. It was a role which she relished, and she was always prepared to encourage and motivate her charges with her passion for learning.

She lived at North Elmham for many years until 2001, when she moved to Dorset, where her oldest daughter lives.

She returned to Norfolk about nine years ago and lived at Quebec Hall, Dereham.

She was a member of the parochial church council and also organised the church rota of volunteers who welcomed visitors.

Another cause close to her heart was the on-going project to moder-nise the church lighting. Her family has asked for donations in her memory towards the £67,000 cost. Another highlight was returning year after year to holiday in Crete, which she managed again this summer where she combined her interest in Greek mythology and the island's history.

She leaves two daughters, Anne and Jane. and four grandchildren.

A funeral service will be held at St Nicholas' Church, Dereham on TuesdayNovember 12 at 2pm.

Michael Pollitt

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