A well-respected and much-loved former Ribble Valley headteacher who inspired the careers of many of her pupils has died aged 87.
Mrs Jean Murray taught science and PE to generations of the same family at Riversmead School (now Bowland High) during her long and impressive 42-year teaching career at the Grindleton school. She became deputy head at the school in 1978 and acting head between 1979 and 1980.
Mrs Murray, who died peacefully at a nursing home in Settle, commanded respect and instilled a code of conduct.
Born in Burnley, on leaving Burnley High School she attended college in Leeds to complete her teacher training. Her first teaching post was at Riversmead in 1949. A year later she married Terry, shortly before emigrating to Australia. Mrs Murray’s daughter, Fiona Lambert explained: “After the Second World War, the Commonwealth Government paid people £50 to emigrate to Australia. In return they had to stay in Australia for at least two years. My mum taught in Hobart, Tasmania.” Mr and Mrs Murray returned to England in 1955 and made their home in Oswaldtwistle, before moving to Bolton-by Bowland, Grindleton and then Tosside and working back at Riversmead as a science and girl’s PE teacher. Mr Murray, a fireman, worked for the local fire service.
During her time at Riversmead, she was highly respected by both her colleagues and pupils. In fact, she inspired her students some of whom were educated at good universities and now boast successful careers. Mrs Murray, the youngest of a large family of 13 siblings, was regarded as a “remarkable and determined” individual, who had been part of Tosside’s community for decades. After retirement, she ran a bed and breakfast establishment in Tosside and in her spare time she enjoyed gardening, horse riding and taking care of her German Shepherd dogs and travelled extensively around the world including America, China and Tibet.
Paying tribute, Fiona said: “Not only was she a vibrant member of the community, but she was highly respected in the Ribble Valley. While teaching, she was renowned for being ‘firm, but fair’.” A funeral service will be held on Wednesday (December 7th) at 11 am at St Bartholomew’s CE Church, Tosside.