'Outstanding' former Ipswich teachers leave £2million to charities in will
- Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND
Talented teachers who devoted their lives to enlightening young minds have left an incredible £2million legacy to charities in their will.
Bertram Robert (Bob) and Joyce Iva Dumper married at St Peter’s Church in Ipswich in 1954 and lived in Dales Road - teaching at schools such as Everton House in Humber Doucy Lane, Kesgrave Hall, and Ipswich Civic College until they began a happy retirement in 1991.
The pair had just celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary when Bob was taken ill and died in April 2015.
Five years later, in February 2020, Joyce went into a care home for a trial period and died in October.
Now, the popular couple have left a lasting legacy in their joint will - their total £2million gift is shared between 10 local and national charities, including the British Heart Foundation, RNLI, and Marie Curie Memorial Foundation.
Around £225,000 is being left to St Elizabeth Hospice in Ipswich, which cares for people with progressive and life-limiting illnesses.
Hannah Bloom, director of income generation, said the pair’s donation will help to fund nurses delivering care on the inpatient unit at Foxhall Road, and in patients’ own homes throughout East Suffolk, Great Yarmouth, and Waveney.
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“We are delighted that Mr and Mrs Dumper have thought of the hospice in their will and to receive such a generous gift is fantastic,” she added.
“We know that demand for our specialist end of life care is increasing and such generosity will enable us to be here for those who need us today, as well as in the future.”
‘He was a brilliant teacher, perhaps because he was a student all his life’
Rowell Bell, a close friend of the couple and executor of the will, said the pair “excelled at whatever they put their minds to”.
Bob, the elder of the two, was born in Alton, Hampshire, in April 1926. His father was a painter by trade, as was his grandfather.
Joyce was born in Princes Street in Ipswich, in July 1927. Her father was a railway clerk and his father was a basket weaver for the herring trade. Joyce’s mother was a teacher.
Bob went to Eggar’s Grammar School in Alton, where he met his lifelong friend Godfrey, who, Mr Bell says, in a few lines to Bob’s widow speaks for all who knew them: “I saw him the first day I went to Eggar’s, peering eagerly at a noticeboard, and knew at once he was my sort of chap.
“We sat next to each other in class and began a conversation that went on for quite 75 years.
“We never had a cross word. But wow, what fun we had!
"I never met a man with his lust for life; with his unending quest for the best in music and theatre and books.
“He was a brilliant teacher, perhaps because he was a student all his life.”
Bob met Joyce at University College Southampton, where they appear side by side in the annual student union photographs for 1949 and 1950, so had known one another for at least five years before they married.
As Godfrey added: “And he was so lucky to find you: his perfect partner.”
Bob’s national service from September 1944 to December 1947 was underground coal-mining at Dorman Long & Co, Ferryhill, County Durham.
After six months of supply teaching in 1948, Bob went to read English at Southampton University, obtained his BA (Hons) in 1951, and entered the teacher’s training department at UCS.
He spent the Lent term in 1952 in full-time teaching practice at Peter Symonds’ School, Winchester, before becoming a member of the English staff at Westcliff High School for Boys in September 1952.
Anxious to broaden his experience after a school of 700 boys, Bob joined the School of Commerce and Social Studies in Ipswich in 1954, which became Ipswich Civic College, School of General Studies.
He taught until his retirement in 1991, at what had now become the Suffolk College.
‘Their sparkle lives on in the memories we share’
Meanwhile, Joyce taught at Everton House School from 1954 and then Kesgrave Hall School from 1981 until retirement in 1991.
According to Mr Bell, two words the headmaster wrote in a testimonial in 1992 sums it up too briefly: “An outstanding teacher”.
Her close friend adds that what Joyce said of Bob applies equally to her: “His brilliant teaching of English brought academic success for his students, setting them on paths they till then, had dared not think possible.”
They entertained, as attested by their visitor’s book starting just after they moved to Dales Road in 1954: “I have just spent three hours of being stuffed full of Stan Freberg, cream cheese, Ricky Nelson, fireworks, Buddy Holly and cider, but strangely I have enjoyed myself immensely.”
After they retired, Bob and Joyce travelled far and wide.
“Back in Suffolk, Bob played a part in the creation of the Aldeburgh Festival, and so fittingly, we say a belated goodbye to them on the River Alde at Snape Maltings,” Mr Bell added.
The pair’s ashes are set to be scattered at the beauty spot on Saturday, October 2.
“They excelled at whatever they put their minds to and their sparkle lives on in the memories we share,” Mr Bell said.
“As Joyce wrote: ‘Don’t cry because it is over, smile because it happened’.”
Legacy to provide ‘comfort, care and compassion long into the future’
As well as funding life-changing care, the couple’s generous donation may also go towards funding important research - and it will also help to keep lifesaving crews at sea.
Anne Hillion, legacy and in-memory lead for Suffolk at the Marie Curie Memorial Foundation, said a third of the charity’s work would not be possible without such gifts.
“Mr and Mrs Dumper will make a difference long into the future, and their gift will help Marie Curie to be there for people through all aspects of death, dying, and bereavement,” she said.
“The gift may also go towards funding important research into end-of-life care, or may help us to campaign for change to create a better end of life for all.
“Mr and Mrs Dumper’s legacy will be providing comfort, care and compassion for people long into the future.”
Meanwhile Amber French, the RNLI’s area lifesaving manager for Suffolk, said the organisation was “immensely grateful” to Bob and Joyce for their “most generous gift”.
“Like so many other charities, our ability to fundraise in person has been hit hard by the pandemic, so this legacy will help keep our boats well maintained and our volunteer crews trained to the highest standard and in the best kit to do their job and save lives at sea,” she added.