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Teacher who ‘dedicated life to children’ in Barking and Dagenham dies at 86

PUBLISHED: 14:31 14 October 2014 | UPDATED: 15:15 14 October 2014

Vera Reynolds spent 37 years as a teacher in Barking and Dagenham

Vera Reynolds spent 37 years as a teacher in Barking and Dagenham

Archant

The funeral of a long-serving teacher and “great character” will see friends and family celebrate her life, which she in turn dedicated to serving the borough’s young people.

Vera Reynolds (centre) with girls from the 3rd Becontree Girls' BrigadeVera Reynolds (centre) with girls from the 3rd Becontree Girls' Brigade

Vera Reynolds spent 37 years working as a teacher at Campbell Junior School, where her “traditional values” helped her achieve the highest percentage of children going on to grammar school in Barking and Dagenham.

A confirmed Christian, she spent many years working with the Girls Bridage Company, the 3rd Becontree at Greig Hall Church (later New Life Church), only stopping her work with the group two years before her death on Monday, September 29, aged 86.

It was while a captain in the brigade that she received an award from HRH Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, at a Palace Garden Party in 1993 recognising her hard work and dedication.

In 2010, her work as a teacher earned her the Freedom of the Borough.

Vera Reynolds (centre), pictured here with friends, was recognised by HRH Prince Philip for her work in the boroughVera Reynolds (centre), pictured here with friends, was recognised by HRH Prince Philip for her work in the borough

Born in Barking in 1928 Vera never married and had no children. Said friend Gillian Coombs: “Vera dedicated her working life to thousands of children.

“Her traditional values of strictness and discipline were high on her agenda, and her pupils had to work hard, but this was because she wanted them all to do the best they could.

“She always encouraged them to go on to higher education and worthwhile careers.

In her later life, along with friend Sylvia Malcolm, she ran a club for the elderly called Breakaway where she helped produce a program of activities and planned outings for group members.

Vera was still running the club until earlier this year when her COPD, a lung disease, that she had been living with in recent years worsened.

Despite her health problems she met up with past Girls Brigade members in summer and has recorded her own memories of working with the group that will be donated to Valence House archive centre along with other memorabilia.

“Vera was a great character,” said Ms Coombs. “She never let age or ill health get in her way and never gave up, she was always determined to carry through whatever she had decided upon. She will be greatly missed.”

Her funeral will take place at Dagenham Baptist Church, Chaplin Road, Dagenham on Monday, October 20, from 11am. Anyone who knew her is welcome to attend.


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