Obituary - Helen Postle 1932-2012

Kerra Maddern

Helen Postle will be remembered for her glamour, loyalty and fun-loving nature, as well as her energy and creativity. Her classrooms were always full of art and excitement. She would often get children to use water, paint or sand in lessons, and they adored her as a result.

Mrs Postle, born Helen Clark in 1932, spent most of her early childhood abroad. She and her mother, Mossy, left Hong Kong on one of the last troopships to depart prior to the region's invasion during the Second World War. They ended up in Canada, where Mossy drove ambulances. Mrs Postle always said that this was among the happiest periods of her life.

After the war, she and her mother returned to Britain, specifically Scotland; her father, who had been a prisoner of war in both the First and Second World Wars, travelled to the Caribbean to manage a sugar plantation. Helen was sent to boarding school.

After leaving St Leonards School in St Andrews, she trained as a teacher at Froebel College in London. Early in her career, she took a job in Cornwall, where she spent her spare time swimming and playing sport, particularly tennis, and often made the long journey from Penzance to Scotland in her white Mini to go skiing.

In the 1970s she moved to Bath and taught at Moorlands Infant School. Fellow teachers Sheila and Blanche fed her "inexhaustible" interest in glamour by buying her jewellery.

She then moved to Kingswood Primary School in Bristol, where she is remembered as being unfailingly kind to colleagues. On one occasion, she drove a supply teacher to work every day for six weeks - both his arms had been left in plaster after a pupil crashed their bike into his Vespa.

In December 1986, she finally married her long-term partner Julian. The couple lived in Bath, where she enjoyed being Mrs Postle and making a home for them. She soon retired from teaching in the hope of leading a more leisurely life and took up floristry, producing arrangements for people's birthdays and anniversaries. She was critical of her own talents, but colleagues say her work was impressive.

The couple also travelled after Mrs Postle, with her husband's help, overcame her fear of flying.

In her sixties, Mrs Postle developed Parkinson's disease, but she tried to ignore the limitations that it placed on her. For years she determinedly continued to drive and play tennis. Eventually Julian became her full-time carer, but Mrs Postle still preferred a shopping trolley or her husband's arm to a walking stick.

Julian died unexpectedly last September, just before the couple's silver wedding anniversary, and Mrs Postle followed in January. She had already begun to plan how she would celebrate her 80th birthday later this year.

Register to continue reading for free

It only takes a moment and you'll get access to more news, plus courses, jobs and teaching resources tailored to you

Kerra Maddern

Latest stories