Tributes to former Crediton teacher Maralyn Kempson

By Crediton Courier Newspaper in Local People

A life of service to the community and generations of its children

MANY friends have given thanks for the life of Maralyn Kempson, who died on January 11, aged 73.

Hers was a life of service to the community, and generations of its children.

Maralyn was born in 1943 in Birmingham to a close-knit family, and attended Kings Norton Grammar School.

When in the sixth form, she decided to become a maths teacher, and after training, her first post was at Tinkers Farm Girls School in Birmingham. She became Acting Head of Maths there, and soon moved to be Second in Maths at a much larger school, Langtree, near Reading.

In 1970, Maralyn moved to Crediton, when, at the unusually young age of 27, she became Senior Mistress at the then Shelley School.

The Crediton schools were soon to be reorganised and, pending this, she taught across both schools, enjoying teaching maths in the sixth form at the Grammar School.

After Queen Elizabeth’s School became comprehensive, Maralyn took up post as Head of Lower School, and became Deputy Head of QE up until her retirement.

As Head of Lower School, Maralyn was a very visible presence, and in her kind but firm way became a symbol of the school to generations of local children.

As youngsters would put it now, Miss Kempson was "a legend"!

She continued to teach maths across both sites and fulfilled many different management functions in the school.

For years, Maralyn used her formidable mathematical brain to write the incredibly complex timetable of this large split-site school as well as being "a tower of strength and support" to successive Headteachers, and in 1993-4 she served as acting Headteacher.

Throughout this period, her calm and "common-sensical" wisdom was a huge asset to the school and its community. It is a testimony to her strength and determination that all this was achieved whilst fighting recurrent bouts of cancer.

After retirement in 2004, Maralyn continued to serve the school as a Governor and as trustee and Chair of Queen Elizabeth’s Educational Trust.

She became Chair of the school governing body and had the tricky job of guiding the school through the process of becoming an Academy.

This again required great wisdom, and not a little tact, both because of the financial complexity, and the lack of universal popularity of the change!

Maralyn lived in Cheriton Fitzpaine from 1973 and became very involved in community life.

She was an active member of the WI, the Parochial Church Council, and of the Village Hall Committee, of which she became Chair.

She delighted in the refurbishment of the hall, was active in the planning and fund-raising that went with it, and was proud and even more delighted to open the hall in the company of Jean Carr in July 2016.

Truly a life of service!

The funeral was held in a packed St Matthew’s Church in Cheriton on February 3.

Readings were made by her niece Rhiannon and nephew Andy, and Rev Steven Smith returned to the Church to give the address.

Colin Clark

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