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News > Alumni News > Obituaries


Remembering Those We Have Lost
28 Jan 2021
Written by Lucy Lock
Alumni News

Our sympathies go out to the families and friends of all those who have recently lost loved ones and to all those who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

We encourage alumni to share any obituaries so that we can remember those we have lost. Please send any notifications to for inclusion in this section.



We are sorry to bring you news of the sudden death of Veronica Yardley who taught English for 38 years at WHSG and passed away in March 2023. She was also an enthusiastic sixth form tutor.

Mrs Yardley was very organised and hard-working and inspired her students to be the same, bringing them excellent examination results. Her passion for Jane Austen was also shared with her students and we have no doubt that many continue to love this author thanks to the introduction they received at school. In charge of the school library for many years, Mrs Yardley was delighted when her new realm, The Lis Harries Library, replaced the crowded shelves of room 7. Her choice of books and managerial efficieny inspired a love of reading in many pupils. We send our sincere condolences to her children and wider family.

Mrs Dron, Head of English at WHSG commented::

"Mrs Yardley was kind and keenly intelligent with a witty sense of humour and was committed to inspiring her students and to instilling scholarly curiosity. Many of her past A 'Level students will have fond memories of her teaching lessons on Antony and Cleopatra and The Duchess of Malfi and of her enthusiasm for Drama. Supportive to all and rigorously attentive to detail, she was passionate about Language and Literature. She was a wonderful teacher and will be missed.'


JOAN ALDRIDGE (nee Barrel) 1952-57

Sadly passed away in August 2021. Joan married Colin in 1959 and had 62 years very happily married


Provided by Anne Newman (Boatfield)

I’ve just heard that my dear friend Brenda Lobar went to be with The Lord this morning (26/9/21) after a battle with cancer.

I remember always sitting in the desk beside hers & she was such a good friend that I asked her to be Godmother to our elder son. Judy Dunmore (Austin) who used to see a lot of her will miss her badly, as will I. No more long & chatty snail mail letters.

I’m sure she will be missed at the annual lunches as she was a regular. 

DOROTHY RICKARD (Provided by Anne Rickard)

We are sad to announce that Dorothy Rickard passed away on June 6th 2021 aged 93.  

Born and raised in Leigh, Dorothy went to Earls Hall School just as it opened. From there came to Westcliff High School for Girls. She was evacuated to Chapel-en-le-Frith where she made lifelong friendships with her foster family.

In the 60’s she decided to emigrate Australia as a “£10 Pom “. She stayed for two years working in a Childrens’ Home.

During her career she was a social worker in London helping to put adopted families together through the Thomas Coram Foundation. After retirement she enjoyed travelling, in particular fulfilling a lifelong ambition to the Holy Lands

In her retirement she was an active and supportive member of many local communities including  St. Laurence Church, WHOGA , Leigh Floral society, The Leigh Society, Leigh Horticultural Society and latterly U3A.

GAY GRINDELL (nee Brownley) 1953-58

Sadly died of cancer in December 2020.  Gay’s father Harry was a PE teacher in the boys’ school.  Her mother Pam and sister Gill were WHS Old Girls.


Peggy Hazell sadly passed away on the November 16th 2020, after a long and fulfilling life as a key member of Leigh’s community.

Born in 1917, Peggy moved to the Leigh area with her mother as a young child, and became one of the first students to receive a prestigious scholarship to Westcliff High School for Girls.

During the war, Peggy worked in Boots Chemist and it was at this time that she met her husband to be, Policeman Bill Hazell, with whom she enjoyed 52 years of marriage.

Soon after, Peggy started tutoring in local schools, including Crowstone School and College Saint Pierre, before deciding in her 40s to train and work as a specialist teacher for children with additional needs at Leigh’s Kingsdown School.

She remained there for 27 years, during which time her passion for helping children had a great and positive effect on her pupils, many of whom still wrote to her at her flat in St Clements’ Court years later.

Peggy’s daughter Vanessa pays tribute to her mother: “She was an amazing person and she was still dancing at 99!”

This year, as Covid stuck, Vanessa decided to move Peggy in with her to take care of her, and that spring Peggy appeared full of joy on the Victoria Derbyshire television show, filmed by Vanessa.

Tragically, out of her four children, she lost two during her lifetime, which was very difficult to bear.

Nonetheless, her positive energy kept her going, and she also had the joy of 13 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.

Some of her grandchildren accompanied Peggy to the Westcliff High School for Girls centenary celebrations last year: “She was treated as the queen bee and she had a wonderful time!

“Peggy loved Leigh and loved life and was one of Leigh’s true great characters, who will be sadly missed by all who knew her,” added Vanessa.


We are very sad to announce that Mrs Lorene Camy, a former teacher at Westcliff High School for Girls, passed away suddenly on 12th January 2021, aged 77 years. 

Lorene Camy taught at Westcliff High School for Girls from 1982 until she retired in 2001.  She was employed as a Teacher of English and Head of the Lower School.  Lorene was very highly regarded by both staff and students, and comments from staff who knew her very well are detailed below:

“I worked with Lorene from when I joined the school in 1995 to her departure in the summer of 2001.  Lorene was a truly lovely person, a devoted mother and grandmother, gifted English teacher, efficient manager and loyal, supportive friend; it was a blessing to have known and worked with such a special colleague and friend.  She had a mischievous sense of humour which provided lively entertainment for the department.  While I understood entirely her reasons for early retirement, I was devastated to lose her.  We are often told that we are not irreplaceable in our jobs - but this was certainly not true of her.  Students and colleagues were poorer for her absence. Her subject knowledge, and more importantly her ability to share it and to provoke independent thought and lively discussion, were outstanding.  She was a leading light in a department praised by Ofsted for its "infectious enthusiasm" for its subject.”

“I have very fond memories of Lorene during her time as a teacher and Head of Lower School at Westcliff High School for Girls.  She was an inspiration to all of us, staff and pupils alike and everyone appreciated her guidance and empathy. She had a 'happy go lucky' manner but serious at the same time and I shall never forget her smile and laughter.  It was a sad day when she left us and hopefully she had many good years in retirement with her children.  Rest in peace Lorene you will be sadly missed by us all.”

“Lorene was much loved by staff and students alike and legend has it she used to make the girls hot chocolate if they were upset.”

“Lorene was a much loved person who was very supportive to both staff and pupils".


We are very sad to announce that Joanna Cherry, a former Geography teacher at Westcliff High School for Girls passed away on 2nd February 2021, aged 73.

Joanna was a past pupil of the school and returned as a newly qualified teacher having studied Geography at Reading University in the mid 1960's and went straight into teaching A level Geography. Joanna remained at the school until 1986 when she went on to teach at St Hilda's and the King John School.

At King John, Joanna went on to become Head of Geography, followed by Head of Sixth Form and then Assistant Head until she retired in 2007. Joanna was a dedicated and hard working teacher who was a great support to her colleagues, in a career which lasted over 40 years. 

Joanna was always keen to share her passion for her chosen subject and enjoyed pointing out geographical landscapes and formations on holidays. In retirement she loved to travel, worked with local charities and spent time with her family and friends - who all enjoyed her excellent cooking and hospitality. A loving wife, mother and grandmother she will be greatly missed by all that knew her.


We are sad to announce that Mrs Pauline Baines, a former Deputy Headteacher and Teacher of RE at Westcliff High School for Girls, passed away on 10th February 2021, aged 74.

Pauline Baines was employed at Westcliff High School for Girls from 1988 until 2006, and in addition to her role as Deputy Headteacher and Teacher of RE, she took on many other responsibilities, such as SEN and Team Leader for the Science, Music, Drama and PE Departments, as well as leading the Pastoral Team with considerable success for six years.    Pauline was a great proponent of initial teacher training and oversaw the entry of many graduates into the profession.  Whilst working at the school Pauline introduced RE teaching at A Level with excellent results.

Pauline was a very loyal and hard working Deputy Headteacher who was untiring in her efforts to the school, and comments from staff who knew her very well are detailed below:

“I knew Pauline very well.  She was affectionately known to all staff at the time as “call me Pauline”.  She would always be willing to give advice and help where needed, and was very dedicated and knowledgeable.  I think it was the fact that she travelled every day from Kent that surprised most people and she rarely missed a day at work, even during the worst the weather could throw at us at that time.  She will be missed by many in her local community and may she now rest in peace.”

“I remember Pauline Baines as both my teacher and my colleague.  She was a formidable presence at WHSG when I was a student in the 1990s.  She was committed to education and to the development of new teachers.  She was also an amazing cook and I think I had one of the best tiramisus I have ever eaten at a celebration at her house when I and my fellow trainees completed our teacher training.”

“Pauline made me feel very welcome when I joined the school, and always took the time to talk to me.”

“Even though Pauline left WHSG, she still returned to assist with the training programmes.   Rest in peace Pauline.”

PENELOPE THACKER (Provided by John Thacker)

Penelope Thacker nee Hofmann was at WHSG from 1960 to 1967. She remained in contact with some old girls all her life. She was for a time around 1990's on the Old Girls Committee as Social Secretary.

After A levels she became, quite quickly, a Personal Secretary to a Director of a global reinsurance company in London. We married in 1971 and when our second son started school she embarked on an OU degree which lead to a BA with First Class Honours. Her passion was books which lead to her second degree an MSc with Distinction in Information and Library Studies. This suited her post as Library Manager at Southend College in Luker Road and its sister college in Grays Thurrock. We retired in 2011.

ROSEMARY HARDING (Provided by Anne Sorrelll)

Rosemary died on 7 March 2021. Her years at WHSG were 1951 to 1957.

Rosemary was very quiet at school. When she left she became a secretary. She moved to Sussex and looked after her father until he died. When she retired she volunteered at a local charity that rescued and rehomed unwanted cats. 

She will be sadly missed by her friends. 


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