A MUCH respected and long serving teacher of Sylvan Road School, Joan Emily Lily Bowley, has died at the age of 72.

"Joan was born at her grandmother's house in Parkstone and was a Dorset person through and through. She unfortunately never knew her father who served in the Royal Tank Regiment as he was wounded in a battle shortly after D-Day and died of his wounds," said her husband David Bowley.

Her mother, now a war widow, moved to Portesham along with her brother Michael. They lived a happy life in the small village and Joan and her brother went to the village primary school. Joan then attended Dorchester Grammar School for Girls, also known as the Green School, because of the uniform and after leaving school went on to Rolle College in Exmouth to be trained as a teacher.

Her first appointment as a full time and newly qualified teacher was at Chickerel County Primary School.

Joan met her husband David in 1966 and they got married in the local village church three years later.

"We were blessed in 1971 with the arrival of our son Andrew, and again the following year with the arrival of our daughter Lorraine," said David.

On leaving service from the Royal Regiment of Artillery in late 1970 David and Joan set up home in Wiltshire but the lure of Dorset was ever present and they decided to move back to Parkstone.

Joan eventually returned to teaching at Sylvan Road First School where she served for over 30 years. She was a very dedicated teacher and was highly respected.

One of her colleagues read an inspirational eulogy at her funeral which include the following tribute, " It is often said of good teachers that they change lives, affect eternity, and influence the way children live their lives. All these tributes could be paid to Joan. She didn't pander to pushy parents nor condescend to those who were less capable. She could identify any special needs a child had and would strive to provide the individual support and help that child needed to take their learning forward".

"Joan had many responsibilities within the school. She was head of the year group in every year she taught in and was head of literacy, as well as head of assessment throughout the school. She took on the task of introducing and overseeing the Standard Assessment Tests for Year 2 and also ran and reorganised the school library".

Joan was an avid reader, knitting, crochet and gardening were her hobbies and she was also an accomplished piano player.

"She was a truly devoted wife, mother and grandmother and is sorely missed by all who knew her," said David.

Joan passed away on April 10 at Forest Holme Hospice and her funeral was held at Poole Crematorium on May 4.