Much-loved former Ilkeston infant school teacher dies aged 81

Dorothy Haywood, a former teacher at Chaucer Infant and Nursery School, has died at the age of 81. (Photo courtesy of the Derby Telegraph)
Dorothy Haywood, a former teacher at Chaucer Infant and Nursery School, has died at the age of 81. (Photo courtesy of the Derby Telegraph)

Former colleagues and pupils have paid tribute to a much-loved former Ilkeston school teacher and church organiser who has died at the age of 81.

Dorothy Haywood, who taught generations of local children as they passed through Chaucer Infant and Nursery School, died at Derby Hospital on Thursday, April 12, after a short illness.

Her former colleague Christine Wojtania said: “She will be fondly remembered by many colleagues, pupils and their families for her honesty of opinion, wit, kindness and continued jollity throughout her life. She will be missed but never forgotten.”

Dorothy trained at Waverley College Nottingham as a nursery nurse before joining the staff at Chaucer when the school first opened in 1975.

She stayed there until her retirement in the late 1990s, but continued to support the school in a voluntary capacity.

Christine said: “Even after retiring she still supported our school by continuing her fantastic renditions of Bible stories once a month in assembly.”

Dorothy will also be mourned by members of the St Andrews Methodist Church community where she worshipped over many years.

A spokesman for the church said: “Dorothy was a very determined woman, who came to St Andrews when it was built, having grown up in a family which was active in the old Primitive Methodist Chapel.

“She was central to organising the social life of the church: as a Sunday school teacher, leader of the ladies’ fellowship, and Bible study groups.”

The spokesman added: “She also did a lot of pastoral work with people who were sick or suffering. She would always phone them, and helped however she could.”

Her funeral will be held on Friday, May 4. There will be a short service of committal starting at 11am, followed by a Service of Thanksgiving at St Andrews at 11.45am. Bright colours have been requested, according to Dorothy’s wishes.

Former pupils have been taking to social media to share their memories and tributes.

Ian Fretwell said: “Such a gentle soul and a lovely lady.”

Hayley Gomm said: “I was telling my partner what an amazing teacher she was only last week.”

Anne Barker said: “I remember her make up and lipstick were always perfect.”

An online fundraising page has been set up, purportedly by another former pupil, for a permanent memorial at Chaucer, https://goo.gl/BqNPUU.