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Obituary: Mary Wharmby – Former Lymington teacher

A FORMER Lymington schoolteacher with a passion for music and who played the organ at Beaulieu Abbey Church for decades has died aged 85.

Mother-of-four Mary Wharmby, who most recently resided at Court Lodge care home in the town, was heavily involved in Lymington Junior School’s musical activities and would regularly get involved with organising the annual production, alongside playing her piano.

Music also dominated her free time, and she was a member of the New Forest Singers and local Ytinerant Singers.

Mary Wharmby
Mary Wharmby

Mary was born and brought up on a farm at the western tip of the Brecon Beacons, near Llandeilo in Carmarthenshire, South Wales.

After attending boarding school in Carmarthen during her teenage years, she studied at Royal Holloway College, University of London, gaining a degree in history.

She then trained as a teacher in Reading, where she met her future husband Bob who, later in the 1970s, ran the local youth club at Priestlands .

Mary’s early married life was spent in Eaton Bray in Bedfordshire, where son Peter and daughter Rachel were born, followed by a spell in Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire when they were joined by son Neil.

But it was Lymington where the family finally settled, moving to the area in 1970 with the arrival of daughter Katherine.

Mary initially taught in many local schools while the children were young, but became full-time at Lymington Junior from the mid-1970s and stayed until her retirement in the 1990s.

During her years at the school she was given the task of enlarging the library with children’s fictional literature.

One of her favourites was Not Now Bernard, a classic recommendation for busy parents wanting a short bedtime routine.

She was heavily involved with the annual school productions, which included Oliver, Follow the Star and Smike, and played her piano when required.

She also sang in the choir and played the organ at Beaulieu Abbey Church for several decades.

She travelled extensively with Bob in their retirement and enjoyed reliving the trips through talks about her travels to local WI groups.

Mary, who is survived by her four children and nine grandchildren, passed away on 24th November at Bournemouth Hospital.

A memorial service will take place at Beaulieu Abbey Church on 4th January at 11am.

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