THE funeral will take place today of a much-loved and highly respected former deputy headmistress of Bury Grammar School Girls.

Mrs Judith Skinner, who retired in 2007, died peacefully in Salford Royal Hospital on August 23 at the age of 67.

She leaves a husband, Malcolm, who was head of geography at Bury Grammar School Boys and daughter Katharine, a former pupil of the girls’ school.

Mrs Skinner, who lived in Harwood, was born and raised in Prestwich and was a pupil at Stand Grammar School for Girls from 1958 to 1965.

She graduated with a London University external degree in English, law and economics in 1968 and then did her Certificate in Education at Liverpool University.

She took up her first post in 1969 at the Derby High School in Bury as an English teacher and met her husband there. She moved to Haslingden Grammar School in 1971 where she went on to be head of the second year and deputy director of sixth form studies between 1975 and 1976.

She left Haslingden High School to have her daughter and worked part-time at Holy Cross College just prior to taking up her post at Bury Grammar School (Girls) in 1981.

A gifted teacher of English who inspired many girls to study the subject at university, Mrs Skinner was passionate about the creative arts, particularly drama. At the school, she stage a number of productions as well as training teams representing the school in the Rotary Youth Speaks competition.

Mrs Skinner was school librarian between 1984 and 1990, and from September 1990, was head of the sixth form. She joined the senior management team in 1996 and became deputy headmistress in 2005.

She had also been chairman of the organising committee of the Bury Art Festival which has been running for the past five years.

Bury Grammar School Girls (BGSG) headmistress Bobby Georghiou said: “Judith was an exceptional colleague. Her influence reached into every part of the school. She passed on her love of English to many of our girls and as head of sixth form she always encouraged them to be ambitious and to follow their dreams.

“There are young women now in powerful careers who pay tribute to the part Judith played in setting them firmly on their chosen paths.

“Judith also had a Midas touch in her gift for diplomacy; she knew how to say the right thing; her humour and warmth could defuse any argument and her charismatic charm made her a fine leader.

“Girls also recall that she had the highest standards and expected the same from them.

“We were all so sorry when Judith became ill with cancer and we admired the courage she showed as she underwent treatment. The school flag will be flown at half mast on the day of her funeral as a sign of the respect in which she is held at BGSG.”

• The funeral service will take place at Bury Parish Church today at 11am followed by committal at the East Lancashire Crematorium in Radcliffe at noon.

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