Obituary - Rosemary Reid 1947-2012

26th October 2012 at 01:00

Rosemary Reid swam with seals off the Galapagos Islands, climbed the Himalayas and sat by the Taj Mahal at dawn. She used these special experiences to inspire the children she taught, and encouraged them to dream of seeing the world.

Rosemary Taylor grew up in Gloucester, attending school in Clevedon, North Somerset. Her father, a printer by trade, had given up mountain climbing when his children were born. But the spirit of adventure lived on in his daughter.

Rosemary went on to study geography at the University of London. After graduating, she trained and worked as a teacher in Uganda as part of an initiative called Teachers for East Africa. The scheme aimed to give school workers an insight into a different education system.

She met her husband Peter, also a teacher, in 1976 on a course in Bristol on how to teach mixed-ability classes. Ten days later Peter sent her a Valentine's card, and six weeks after that he proposed. The whirlwind romance was complete when they married six months later.

The couple learned to share each other's interests: sailing and skiing; cooking and gardening. They had three children: Juliet, now 34, a teacher in New Zealand; Rosalind, 32, a civil servant; and Michael, 30, a traveller and expedition leader currently working with Sir Ranulph Fiennes.

After living in Devon and Somerset, Mr and Mrs Reid settled with their family in Plymouth in 1989, where Mrs Reid taught at Notre Dame Roman Catholic School in Derriford until she retired in 2004.

In the holidays the family would go camping and flotilla sailing as well as entertaining friends. Their visitors' book is signed by people from 30 different countries.

When their children left home, Mr and Mrs Reid took to backpacking in low-income countries, meeting people and experiencing the local culture. They also visited Juliet, Rosalind and Michael when they were working or studying abroad - in the Netherlands, California and Ethiopia. Indeed, the family celebrated the couple's silver wedding anniversary together in Zanzibar.

After they retired, Mr and Mrs Reid spent three years volunteering with development organisation VSO in Nepal, where Mrs Reid worked for the country's education department.

In 2009, less than a year after their return from this latest adventure, Mrs Reid was diagnosed with melanoma, an aggressive form of cancer. But this did not stop her travelling. She and her husband went back to Nepal, and to the Canary Islands, Ghana, Portugal and Ireland.

Mrs Reid took part in a drug trial at world-leading cancer hospital the Royal Marsden in London. This extended her life, allowing her to attend Juliet's wedding and Olympic rowing races this summer. She even appeared in a BBC Horizon documentary about "defeating" cancer. But in August doctors said the drugs had stopped working. Twelve days later Mrs Reid died, surrounded by her family.

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