An Appreciation of Former Teachers
Four members of the staff at King Edward and Queen Mary Schools who have died in recent weeks all made significant and distinctive contributions to the life of the Schools. All inspired friendship and loyalty amongst their work colleagues and earned the respect of the students, each in a different way.
MARJORIE PENNINGTON was an inspirational Head of Music at Queen Mary School in the 1970s. She was a gifted pianist herself and an ever-sympathetic accompanist to the girls she taught. Marjorie had a special ability to spot and nurture her students’ talents, and enjoyed organising concerts to showcase them.
Her flamboyant personality encouraged colleagues to support her in building teams to present a series of much-acclaimed school operas. After leaving Queen Mary School in 1977, succeeded by Andrew Barratt, Marjorie was influential in the promotion of the arts throughout the area and continued to give some individual tuition.
The annual series of free midday recitals of classical music at Blackpool's Grundy Art Gallery, sustained for well over 30 years, was her particular legacy to the Fylde. She was held in high esteem both by her former colleagues and by music-lovers on the Fylde coast.
AUDREY FRODSHAM was a bright, ever-helpful and welcoming receptionist in the King Edward school office in the 1990’s, part of a happy team with Gill Coleman and Jane Slinger. I loved her warmth and straightforwardness, both face to face and when answering the numerous phone calls of the day.
Audrey was the first person many people met on their first visit to King Edward’s and her friendly manner made an instant impact. She understood the ethos of the School. In retirement Audrey was an interested and enthusiastic supporter of social gatherings for former staff and a major contributor to the life of Church Road Methodist Church, which was full for her funeral.
JOHN LATHAM, always known as Jed from his initials, was a gifted Mathematician who was Head of Applied Maths at King Edwards’s in the 80s and 90’s before a loss of hearing forced his early retirement. I always admired Jed’s patience at explaining Maths to the lad who simply could not grasp a particular concept. Many a struggling student succeeded thanks to this very special talent.
Jed was a keen staff bridge player and was well liked in the staff room where his willingness to pass on advice, in just the right way, to new younger teachers was much appreciated. His considerable abilities as a cricketer – he was a stalwart at Lytham CC- were of importance to the enthusiastic but rather mixed-ability staff team. The very many people from the town who attended his funeral were a tribute to a popular family man whose two daughters attended Queen Mary School.
STEVE PLOWES joined King Edward’s English Department in 1973 from his beloved native Grimsby and spent over 25 years, until his, retirement entertaining staff and students alike with his individualistic style. I liked the way that he made himself the champion of the underdog. Less confident students were taken under his wing and nurtured. Grimsby Town were never far from his thoughts and lessons.
Steve was immensely likeable, if sometimes exasperating to colleagues who had to manage him, and he always had a word and an anecdote to hand, drawn from a mine of droll stories. He will be long remembered with affection, both by his colleagues and by the students he taught, as a complete one-off, a maverick unique in style and spirit.
The school flag was flown in their honour on the day of their funerals and their families, together with all former staff, are appreciative of this kind gesture by Mike Walton and the present staff.