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Obituary: Jennifer Stott – former headteacher at Lymington Junior and South Baddesley Primary schools

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A COMMUNITY stalwart who was a former head teacher of two New Forest schools has died aged 79.

Jennifer Stott, who was known as Jen or Jenny, took up the leading role at South Baddesley Primary School in 1980, before becoming head at Lymington Junior School in 1989, where she remained until retirement.

She was very active in the community, particularly at St Thomas’s Church in Lymington where she was instrumental in setting up the Vistas drop-in cafe in the church hall.

Jennifer Stott became head at Lymington Junior School in 1989
Jennifer Stott became head at Lymington Junior School in 1989

Jen was born on 5th May 1943 in Stow Bardolph, Norfolk, close to the RAF station where her father Joseph was serving as an intelligence officer.

Shortly after Jen’s birth, Joseph was posted to Burma and Jen’s mother Annie returned with her and her older sister Pat to the family’s home town of Prestwich, Lancashire.

Joseph returned in 1946 and, as a result of his rapid promotion within the Midland Bank ,the family relocated four times in the following 14 years.

During this period Jen’s younger siblings Susan and Paul were born.

Tragically their mother was killed in a car accident in 1961. Joseph remarried some years later and moved to Farnham in Surrey with his new wife, Julie, who had two children Chris and Suzanne. Together they also had a son, Michael.

Jen decided on a career in teaching and attended Brighton Teachers Training College from 1961-64 where she qualified to teach junior pupils, with her main subject being music.

By this time she had learnt to play the piano and the flute proficiently.

Her first post in 1964 was at All Saints Primary School in Winchester. However, an urge to travel led her to spend several years living in Athens where she taught English to adults and children.

On her return to England she held teaching posts in Windsor, Tower Hamlets and Romsey Primary School before being appointed head teacher of South Baddesley Primary School and then Lymington Junior.

In retirement Jen remained an active member of the Lymington community. She had always been a regular member of the congregation at St Thomas’s in the town and served on the parochial church council.

In 2011 she played a key role in launching the Vistas drop-in cafe in the church hall, not only managing it but often serving customers too.

Music was a passion and she sang alto with the Lymington Choral Society. She also enjoyed tending her garden and joined the Lymington Bridge Club, later becoming its chair.

Having already holidayed extensively in the UK and in Europe, in retirement she travelled further afield to Israel, China, New Zealand, Kenya and Canada.

She enjoyed an Alaskan cruise and her niece Caroline’s wedding in California, which she preceded with visits to the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas.

Jen was close to Caroline’s late sister Katherine as well as enjoying spending time with niece Lily and nephews Freddie, Harry and Charlie at Highcliffe beach and on holiday in Cornwall.

Described by her family as “a strong independently minded woman”, Jen dealt with the the adversities of life, and only in the final year of her debilitating illness did she accept support provided by her live-in carer Fatima and Oakhaven Hospice.

Her funeral will be on 23rd June at 2pm at St Thomas’s Church, with a private cremation afterwards.

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