Former Gidea Park College head Vera Lee will be “fondly remembered and greatly missed”
Friends, family and past pupils have paid tribute to “inspirational teacher” and former Gidea Park College head Vera Lee, who has sadly died at the age of 71.
Born in Thornton Heath, South London, Mrs Lee moved to Romford in 1965 and began teaching at Gidea Park College in 1974. She worked her way up to become deputy head and then headteacher, a position she held until she retired in 2009.
Mrs Lee’s daughter Susan Gooding, who is now head at the primary school, said her mother was “a pillar of society”.
“She was fair and honest,” said Mrs Gooding, 44. “She tried to see the best in everybody and not the worst. She found something good in every child.
“She was an inspirational teacher. People come back with their own children because of the way they felt about her.
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“Everywhere you go people just say what a fantastic person she was.”
Comments left on Mrs Lee’s memorial Just Giving page attest to her popularity with pupils and parents.
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“Mrs Lee, thank you for being the best teacher I have ever had. I learned so much from you, and will miss you very much. I will remember you always,” wrote Megan Waters.
The Kumau Family added: “Mrs Lee, you were a fantastic teacher and role model, who will be fondly remembered and greatly missed.”
Mrs Gooding said her mother, who had two children and four grandchildren, loved her job and believed strongly in the importance of a good education.
“After she retired as head, she went back to being a teacher – because she loved being with the children,” she said. “Education was her world.
“My mum came from a poor background – my granddad was an engineer and my grandmother was in service.
“She filled out her own 11-plus form at the age of 10, and achieved a scholarship to James Allen’s Girls’ School. She believed the best thing she could give anyone was a good education, and if you had a good education you could go anywhere.”
Mrs Gooding said her mother enjoyed gardening, birdwatching and historical books. Towards the end of her life, Mrs Lee - who suffered from cancer - was cared for at Saint Francis Hospice, who will benefit from her memorial fund.
“The people at Saint Francis Hospice were absolutely amazing,” said Mrs Gooding. “They really are a haven for people in the worst time of their lives.
“They gave mum dignity, kindness and love, which was immensely important.”
If you would like to donate to Mrs Lee’s memorial fund, go to www.justgiving.com/veralee.