Tributes to well-known geography teacher, 104

Missed: Margaret Powell on her 100th birthday, at the gates to the former Park School
Missed: Margaret Powell on her 100th birthday, at the gates to the former Park School
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Tributes have been paid to one of Preston’s most influential teachers who has died at the age of 104.

Margaret Powell, who lived in Fulwood, was head of geography at the Park School from 1946 to 1969, and also served as deputy head for one year.

Born in Consett, Co Durham in July 1909, she decided at an early age she wanted to study geography at university, and had to fight those who claimed a woman wouldn’t be able to cope with the course.

Defying the doubters, she graduated from Aberystwyth University in 1930, and after jobs at girl’s schools in Hampshire and Newcastle, took the job in Preston.

Eve Calderbank, who was taught by Miss Powell and later worked with her at the Park School, said: “A a teacher she was very well-organised, well-read, up-to-date, and planned meticulously.

“She was a disciplinarian, and was sharp, but that was her way of encouraging girls to always do better and make the best of their opportunities. She had lived at the time of suffragetes and had to be tough herself.”

Mrs Calderbank said field trips organised by Miss Powell, especially those to Braithwaite, are still fondly remembered by many.

She added: “As a colleague, she was someone you looked up to, and unlike some others, she was always very encouraging to young teachers.”

Miss Powell, who never married and had no children, pioneered the Local Survey Group, a course looking at local issues for those thinking of nursing or teaching, which was later copied by other schools.

Miss Powell died at Moor Park Home, Garstang Road, on Saturday, May 31.

Her funeral will be on Thursday at 12.30pm at Christ Church, Fulwood.