The funeral took place on Friday, at Grove URC, of Eileen Mary Foxall who inspired generations of young and not so young people through her work and cheerful commitment to others.
Eileen, 75, lived in Cleckheaton all her life and was educated at Heaton Avenue Primary School and Whitcliffe Mount Grammar School before studying at University College, London, gaining a BA in English.
While at university she met Alan, who was reading for a law degree, and they were married in 1960.
Her early teaching career was at South Parade, Dewsbury College and Whitcliffe Mount Grammar School. From the mid 1970s until her retirement she taught in South Leeds where she was well known for motivating her students, even collecting them from their homes when they were absent from exams. It was a tribute to her enthusiastic teaching style and care for her students which led all the boys in one class to present her with a red rose on their last day at school.
After retirement, Eileen taught on supply in more than 50 schools in London and every head teacher was keen for her to return because of her knowledge, care and commitment.
Eileen was the founder chairman of Save The Children, Cleckheaton Branch, with more than four decades of service to the charity. Both Eileen and Alan worked tirelessly for SCF and even visited a young boy in Morocco who the branch sponsored. As a former member of Ladies’ Circle and more recently chairman of Tangent and a member of Grove United Reformed Church Thursday Circle, she was at the hub of all activities.
As a lifelong church member of Providence URC, Eileen was a Sunday School teacher and led the youth group. After the closure of Providence Place, the congregation joined Grove URC in 1991 and she became involved with the Sunday School, leading the senior group and the Pilots group for younger children for many years. Despite her illness, Eileen attended her last meeting only two weeks before her death.
The Rev Alison Termie, Minister at Grove said: “Eileen was utterly committed to the care and nurture of every child she taught. She loved them unconditionally and was loved in return. Some who are adults now will admit that, as children and teenagers, their behaviour could try the patience of a saint but Eileen only ever saw the best of the potential in each one.”
She also visited the elderly and sick in their homes, hospitals or in residential care and had a lifetime of Christian commitment to serving the church and helping others.
Eileen was devoted to her family and at holiday times they enjoyed camping, mostly in Europe to begin with. Later, with their youngest son, Tom, they began to spread their wings. It became her ambition to visit all the countries in the world and in fact Alan and Eileen managed to reach 185 of them and there are only 11 left on the list not visited. Everywhere they went, the most important aspect was meeting the local people and to do this they often used local transport which wasn’t always reliable. Reading timetables was a speciality – and the SCF group remember her intense study of the Swiss transport timetable while on holiday in Wengen.
Eileen leaves her husband, Alan and their four children; Ruth, Peter, Mick and Tom. She also leaves eight grandchildren, son-in-law, Gilles, daughter-in-law, Christine and a soon to be daughter-in-law, Kerry.