Retired Norwich school teacher and education advocate dies aged 86
- Credit: SUPPLIED BY FAMILY
A retired Norwich school teacher, described as popular with pupils and parents alike, has died aged 86.
Born in Edinburgh on July 20, 1934, Beatrice Mary Ewart, née Simpson, moved to Norwich during the 1960s where she continued to share her love of education.
Known by all as Bea, she was the daughter of grocer Arthur Simpson and his wife Joanna.
After leaving school, she completed a two-year training course at Edinburgh’s Moray House School of Education and Sport during the mid-1950s.
During her first year of teaching, she met her future husband, Eugene 'Gene' Ewart, who was doing his national service at Edinburgh Castle. They married in 1957 and moved to York, where Bea worked with reception and primary school children at Carr Infants School in Acomb, North Yorkshire.
Believing in the potential of the individual, her life was one of continual learning and teaching others. She was always occupied and never wasted time or materials, often burdened with cardboard, glue sticks, bits of cloth, and a belief that craft and play would expand small minds into big imaginations.
She inspired her husband to qualify as a teacher too, and he completed his training in Leeds. They carried out their teaching commitments alongside raising their two young sons, Andrew and Michael. Fortunately, in the 1960s, state support was available for mature students.
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After teaching nursery in Middlesbrough and secondary school in Nottingham, the family came to Norwich, where Bea taught infants at Bignold Primary School while her husband joined the Norfolk Specialist Education Service. She was described there as “popular with parents" after successfully teaching all of her pupils to read.
After retirement, she was involved in literacy classes with the Norfolk Training Service. She also taught English as a foreign language at summer schools, and volunteered at the city’s Family Service Office.
She had a lifelong love of poetry, which she shared in the British Federation of Women Graduates, and, in 2000, her poems featured in the illustrated booklet Wild About Hethersett, alongside Dr Anne Edwards.
Living in the village village, in 2008 she co-authored The Hethersett War Memorials 19141920 with Bob Andrews. She was also a member of the Hethersett Society Research Group, serving as chair, and in 2002 the group published The Book of Hethersett - a Norfolk Village (Community History Series).
An active supporter of the South African charity Breadline, in Cape Town, she also regularly contributed teaching material and workbooks to support the education of children.
Bea died at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital on December 16, following a short illness. She is survived by her husband and their two sons.
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