In memory of deputy head Mary Hirst

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A colleague and friend has paid tribute to former Heckmondwike Grammar School deputy headteacher Mary Hirst.

Mary, who died last month aged 90, was born in Dewsbury and attended Batley Girls Grammar School.

She went on to study geography at Leeds University before later qualifying as a teacher.

Mary started her career with a position teaching geography and maths at Pontefract Girls High School.

In 1964, she accepted a role at Heckmondwike, where she stayed until her retirement in 1985.

She began as a Senior Mistress and geography teacher to students in the 5th and 6th form but later went on to become the school’s deputy head.

John Lockwood, who was head of geography when she first joined Heckmondwike, said: “After Mary’s retirement, it always gave her great pleasure to keep in touch with many of her former pupils and colleagues.

“It is the former girls pupils who will particularly remember her for while strict on minor things, as a true feminist, she was always ready to help and advise, and was a strong support.”

In her retirement, Mary took part in painting classes and developed a great appreciation for the Yorkshire Opera.

Through her own efforts and as chair of the Heckmondwike Support Committee, she also helped to raise funds for Huddersfield-based Kirkwood Hospice.

Mr Lockwood said: “There cannot be many people in Heckmondwike who have not either bought a ticket for a craft fair or garden party or purchased something from the Hospice Support Group stall on Heckmondwike Market from Mary Hirst.

“Well into her 80s, in all weathers, she helped on the stall which was a regular feature of the Saturday market held in aid of the Hospice.”

“Sadly the committee no longer exists today.

“But in 2003 they were able to present the Hospice with a cheque for £200,000.

A large congregation ofMary’s former colleagues, friends and family attended her funeral at Dewsbury Crematorium on Friday, April 1.