Fond tribute to a teacher who will never be forgotten

A MUCH-LOVED teacher who made music fun and enriched her pupils’ lives has died, aged 69.

Frances Howlett was brought up in Hayes, Middlesex, where her family ran a large grocery store but moved to Rothbury in the 1990s.

She attended the Haberdasher’s Aske School in Ealing, West London, where she excelled, followed by teacher training college at Wall Hall College of Education, Hertfordshire.

Frances then spent a short time teaching autistic children and later went on to study at The Guild Hall School of Music and Drama with an interest in piano accompaniment.

She completed an MEd at Newcastle University and became a lecturer at Alnwick College of Education, eventually becamimg headteacher at Beadnell First School.

After retirement in 1996, she started to teach piano to children and adults but also coached in maths and English from her Rothbury home.

Friend Gillian Singleton said: “She was loved and respected by pupil and parent alike and her honest and direct approach, together with her sense of humour, made her a great friend to many of her pupils. Some of these friendships were lasting.

“Frances was also a deep thinker, a philosopher and an intellectual, a very private person who loved her beautiful house and garden which overlooked the Cragside Estate.

“Her house was very much a home and was filled with interesting puzzles, toys and books that were of great interest to her pupils. She loved animals and several dogs and cats shared her home for many years.

“She was a skilled gardener and attracting wildlife to her garden was very important to her. There was always nuts and seeds for the birds and woodpeckers and jays were no stranger to her bird table ,along with bluetits, sparrows and robins. Frogs and toads visited her pond and at night tawny owls, barn owls and bats could be seen.

“Frances was very well read and had an interest in many subjects including art, architecture and literature but her first love was teaching and she was always using new ways to communicate with her pupils and was not fazed at all by the most challenging of children.

“Many parents will agree that their child would not have achieved so much had it not been for Frances Howlett. She will never be forgotten.”

A memorial concert was held at Rothbury First School for Frances, at which pupils performed in tribute to their teacher.

Frances died on March 9 at Rothbury Community Hospital after a short illness.