Brenda Carey, the former head of nursery at Aire View Infants School in Silsden, a post she held for 19 years, has died, aged 68, after a brief illness.

Originally from Salford and the Lake District, Mrs Carey trained as a teacher in Oxford and moved to Silsden with her husband Mike in the 1970s, raising three sons and running a popular play school at her home.

In 1985, she was appointed head of nursery at Aire View and developed a reputation for creating an imaginative and inspiring environment. She also served as special needs co-ordinator for many years.

On “retirement” from Aire View in 2004, she became a nursery consultant with Bradford local education authority.

Outside school life, Mrs Carey devoted her energies and creative skills to the community around her, in particular to the Methodist Church.

She taught in Sunday school and regularly led thoughtful and original nativity and “moving on” services. She also contributed to the Silsden Churches Together group, including its Passiontide plays.

In 1989, she and her husband launched the non-denominational Shell Club for seven to 11 year olds.

Since then, they have worked with hundreds of children, promoting co-operative play, arts and crafts, and personal development. Mrs Carey was leading Shell Club activities as recently as three weeks ago.

She also initiated Meet Other Mums, which has grown from an attendance of three at the initial session to a membership of over 50 parents and infants at its weekly sessions.

Mrs Carey was a founder of Silsden Community Productions, not only taking acting and production roles in its first two plays but also encouraging the active involvement of young people in this new venture.

Her funeral was held on Tuesday at the Methodist Church and burial took place at Windermere yesterday. Mrs Carey is survived by Mike, her sons Jonathan, Ben and Thomas, and grandson Izaak.