Memorial service to be held to celebrate the life of a Norwich art teacher

Irene Ogden, who inspired many pupils in her role as art mistress at Norwich High School. Photo: sub

Irene Ogden, who inspired many pupils in her role as art mistress at Norwich High School. Photo: submitted. - Credit: submitted

A special memorial service is to be held to celebrate the life of a Norwich art teacher who inspired countless pupils over more than three decades.

Irene Ogden, known as Rene, taught at Norwich High School from 1946 until 1979, and was also a devoted member of the Norwich Cathedral community. Miss Ogden, who died on November 10 aged 96, was originally from Blackburn. Born in 1919, she was the daughter of Rowland and Edith Ogden and sister to Pat Banks and Albert Ogden.

Barbara Miller, one of Miss Ogden's pupils and later a colleague, described her as 'a woman of huge talent, great humility, deep inner strength with a warm personality and a gift for friendship.'

She said: 'I was in my last year at the school when she entered into the life of Norwich, but in that year Rene opened the world of art to me as she was to do for countless girls over the next 33 years.

'Rene was an enthusiast and an encourager; few of her pupils were skilled artists but she always found some form in which they could express what talent they had – batik, collage, pottery, embroidery as well as drawing and painting.


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'Multi-skilled, endlessly inventive and committed, she could never resist a challenge and would work unceasingly until her objective was achieved...Perhaps her greatest triumph at school was the costumes and masks she and Anne Cook made for the medieval cycle of miracle plays and Chaucer texts performed in the cathedral. They were a triumph.'

She said when Miss Ogden retired she moved to The Close and made Norwich Cathedral her spiritual home.

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'She loved her time in retirement, seeing her family, travelling, painting, taking art classes at Priscilla Bacon Lodge, completing the great mural for the old Norfolk and Norwich Hospital when the Jenny Lind moved into the main building, creating art works for the cathedral, welcoming friends with home baked bread and her famous barm cakes; it was a packed life, lived to the full.'

Miss Ogden's funeral was held in Hornby Church, near Lancaster, on November 27 and a Requiem was said in Norwich Cathedral.

A memorial service will be held at Norwich Cathedral on a date still to be decided in January.

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