My best teacher

21st April 2000 at 01:00
My favourite teacher was called Miss Hickey. She was our teacher for four years in primary school and we all loved her. She was just so lovely, so sweet to us all.

The main thing I remember was that she used to do our hair in French plaits. Once a week we would all queue up for her to do our plaits. I don't think the head knew about it! It was the highlight of the week for me and my twin sister, Keavy.

The whole class was really upset when Miss Hickey left us. She was from Kerry, you see, and she decided to go back there when I was 10 or 11. We all clubbed together and bought her a silver bracelet. We had the words "Moira Hickey, Number One Teacher" inscribed on it.

That was Belgrave primary school in Dublin, but it wasn't our first school. We started at Santa Sabina, a nuns' school. I hated the nuns. They were so strict, just so narky. I was very happy when they closed down the primary school part of Santa Sabina because of falling pupil numbers and we moved to Belgrave.

But there was one terrible thing that happened. When we first went to Belgrave, they tried to split up me and Keavy. My dad was straight round there and put a stop to that. It's probably still the policy to split up twins but I don't know why. Keavy and I are very much individuals, even though we went through school together.

I had a favourite teacher in secondary school too. It's terrible, but I can't even remember her real name. We all called her "Womble", though I don't think she knew that. She wasn't actually our teacher, but I can remember her being the only one who was encouraging about our singing and dancing. We'd started our own dance trio by then, and she would always ask us how it was going when she saw us. The others all said we had to aim at "real jobs". They wanted me to concentrate on technical drawing! Our career guidance teacher said we were just dreaming. But the way I see it, what I'm doing now is a job, and someone' s got to do it. It might as well be us. You just need to be ambitious and determined and believe in yourself.

My secondary school was Grange community college in Dblin. Art and metalwork were my best subjects, and my report always said I was a right chatterbox. Once in a blue moon we bump into people we went to school with. One of them said they couldn't understand our success because "you have to be special, and you're not special enough". We certainly proved them wrong.

When we first started B*Witched we did a schools tour of England. It was great, but really weird because we were only just out of school ourselves. All in all, I think I had a very good education - the standards in Irish schools are among the highest in the world. But it didn't offer much on the creative side.

Luckily we came from a musical family. Our grandad played the fiddle, so we never needed much of an excuse to dance and sing, and we performed our own songs from an early age. I always wanted to be a singer, but I didn't even take music as a subject at school because I knew it didn't offer anything for me. Any encouragement we got in our career we got outside school, especially when we enrolled in dance school. My motto is don't listen to people who tell you you can't do it - once you believe, you can do anything.

I haven't seen Miss Hickey since she left Belgrave. If you're reading this, Miss Hickey, thank you for the plaits, and please ring me. I'd love to have a chat with you.

Edele Lynch was talking to James Bennett.


1979 Born in Dublin, a twin to her sister Keavy.

1995 The twins' big brother Shane Lynch shoots to fame with the boy band Boyzone.

1996 The twins recruit a third band member, Sinead O'Carroll, then meet the final member, Lindsay Armaou, at a kick boxing class.

1998 B*Witched go straight to No 1 in the British charts with their debut single 'C'est La Vie'. Their debut album, B*Witched, sells 3 million copies worldwide.

1999 The band make chart history when their next three releases also enter the singles chart at No 1 - the first act ever to begin their career with four instant No 1s. Second album, Awake and Breathe, is released.

March 2000 Latest single, 'Jump Down', is released.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today