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Long serving headteacher Gwen Hawkins dies aged 89
11:00am Thursday 14th February 2013 in News
Mrs Gwen Hawkins, who has died at the age of 89, will be remembered as the longest serving, and last, headmistress of Hebden School.
She was reader at St Peter’s Church, Hebden, St Michael’s, Linton and Hebden Methodist Church and also sang in the Linton Church choir.
Born near Rotherham, Gwen had two younger brothers, Eric and Brian, and two sisters, Beryl and Eileen.
She gained her teaching certificate and taught in Dagenham.
As Miss Parker, she was appointed headteacher of Hebden School in 1950 and married local man, Albert Hawkins, in 1953.
They had many happy years together.
Gwen enjoyed her teaching and, in some instances, taught two generations of the same family.
It was not just a 9am to 3.30pm job as there were lessons to prepare, books to mark and other “behind the scenes” work.
She was secretary to the school managers, who later became governors.
It was a very special occasion for Gwen when Hebden School celebrated its centenary in January 1975.
Several former teachers and past pupils travelled to Hebden to join in the celebrations and were welcomed by Mr and Mrs Hawkins.
A special centenary service was held at the church.
Just eight years later, in July 1983, the school closed when Mrs Hawkins retired after 33 years of dedicated teaching.
Again there was a special party and the children presented Gwen with a Paddington Bear and bouquets of flowers.
And two of her earliest pupils gave her an oil painting of the Dales.
The following Wednesday, she and her husband were guests of the Queen at a Buckingham Palace Garden party.
For many years, Gwen served on Hebden Parish Council, including a considerable time as chairman.
She also served on Hebden Parochial Church Council – acting as honorary secretary for many years – arranged flowers and decorated the church and helped with fundraising events.
In recent years, she had been a Friend of Linton Church and was a trustee of the Fountaine’s Hospital charity at Linton.
During retirement, she initially lived in Hebden but moved to Grassington a few years ago. Her husband died in 1989.
She continued to attend Hebden Church and Chapel as well as Linton Church and enjoyed participating in special events such as the Queen’s diamond jubilee street party.
She helped with fundraising for Cancer Research and enjoyed being a member of Grassington Singers.
Gwen will be missed in the local community.
A funeral service was held at Waltonwrays, Skipton, and Mrs Hawkins is survived by her sister, Eileen, and brother, Brian.