Miss Norah Smith - an appreciation

It is with sadness that we report the death of Miss Norah Smith on 18th January 2004 at the age of 88. Norah Smith taught for nearly forty years at Badsey School. When she joined the school in 1938 as a young teacher in her early twenties, it was known as Badsey Council School. She was there for all of the time that it was known as Badsey County Primary School (for many years as Deputy Head), and left in July 1975, just before it became Badsey First School. Perhaps some of you will recall her retirement. Mr Hugh Chaplin, the Head Master at the time, wrote in the School Log Book: "PTA Fete held this afternoon in glorious weather. A very large crowd attended, and during the afternoon a presentation (garden swing) was made to Miss N Smith to mark her retirement at the end of the summer term."

It is true to say that several generations of Badsey schoolchildren have benefited from her loving care and teaching in those important early years at school. The following are a few tributes from those who knew and loved her. If you would like to add your memories, please e-mail to history@badsey.net.

The funeral took place at St James’ Church, Badsey, at 10 am on Thursday 29th January 2004.


Pat Goldstraw (née Barnard) writes:

Norah Smith was a truly genuine human being. I feel I have known her all my life. Indeed, in 1938, aged six, I was in the first class she taught at Badsey School. Later I joined the school in 1952 as the Reception Class teacher. She and Mrs Sylvia Gorin in the infant department gave me help and kindness which was so reassuring for me in my first teaching post. Later still, my own children were lucky enough to be taught by her. This continuity is not uncommon in Badsey and so many other families must have had similar experiences. She was an excellent teacher: fair, kind and with a gentle, cheeky sense of humour.

She was very creative. In 1953, Coronation Year, we at school had the finest set of Crown Jewels outside the Tower of London – all made by Norah – and also a model of the golden coach of State and horses. Every year she created a beautiful Easter garden which transferred to the church for the Easter celebrations.

She, as Head of the Infant Department, was the right hand to Mr Maurice Harvey, the then Headmaster, and they had a very close and happy partnership. This benefited teachers and pupils alike. I have memories of them and other staff and friends playing tennis on the Infant playground during summer evenings. This was before the present hall was built. They were always competitive and enjoyable games.

For many years she lived in the village with her delightful mother and contributed to all aspects of village life.

Thank you, Norah. We were very lucky that you chose to be here.


Terry Sparrow writes:

Miss Norah Smith came to Badsey School in 1938 when she began teaching in the Infants’ Department. She remained at Badsey throughout the remainder of her teaching career. During her years at the school she earned a reputation as a dedicated and conscientious teacher and she will be remembered with affection by many hundreds of former pupils. She took a keen interest in village affairs and was a member of both the Mothers’ Union and Women’s Institute. She was a most generous lady; the parish church and the village youth organisations were among those who were grateful for her support.


Will Dallimore writes:

One of my memories of Miss Smith was of the enormous Christmas Tree that stood in her classroom. It was beautifully decorated and held presents for every child in the class. Although this was back in the mid 1950s, I still remember us boys 'scrobbling' about on the wooden floor pushing along the toy motor-bikes which we had received; the girls I believe got dolls.


Joan Bearman (née Martin) writes:

I was sorry to hear of the death of Miss Smith (I did not know that her name was Norah!). She taught me in the second infants’ class. She taught us knitting. I remember knitting a pixie hood in her class - they were all the fashion at the time! She was always cheerful. I suppose she was quite young when she taught me but it didn't strike me at the time. I was very surprised when my son started at Badsey School in 1974 that she was still there.


Roger Savory writes from America:

I was through the Infants School before Miss Smith came to Badsey School, so she never actually taught me. However, what I remember most of Miss Smith was during the period when she was living in one of the cottages next to Caswell's Blacksmith's Shop, and what a lovely disposition she had. She never seemed like a "teacher" to me, but more like a "friend". Then, in next to no time (or so it seems), I left the village, first for service in the RN and then university at Birmingham, and eventually off down south for work. So I really lost touch. But the memories of Miss Smith are all "bright and sunny".


Shirley Liebelt (née Thomson) writes from Australia:

I have many happy memories of my second year at school in Miss Smith's class in about 1964. Miss Smith it seemed had taught most of my family before me, including my mother Mavis Thomson (nee Bennett), sister Susan, and most of my uncles,auntys and cousins. My younger brother Mark missed out, as in my last year at Badsey school our family moved to South Australia, before he had started school. Miss Smith and I shared the same birthday, and I always remember standing next to her at morning assemblies and the students and staff would sing Happy Birthday to us. Condolences to her family and friends.


Brian Jennings writes from Zimbabwe:

I joined the infant class at Badsey Council School in 1938 at the age of five and remember Miss Smith very well on that first ever day at school. She together with Mrs. Hartwell were so kind to the 'new kids on the block'. I remember Norman Cleaver starting school on the same day. Another memory is of seeing Miss Smith (she was always Miss Smith) organising the ladies who were making camouflage nets in one of the school rooms at the beginning of the war. My mother was helping in this evening war effort work and I was taken along with her.


Don Curtis writes from Germany:

Miss Smith taught me in Badsey School in around 1965-66. She is one of the only teachers I remember being so kind and friendly, leaving a lasting impression on me and all people taught in Badsey School. She will be sadly missed by me, and I think by everyone who new her. Condolences to her family and friends.

Updated 2 March 2004. Contact email: History@Badsey.net