Tributes paid to much-loved Mary

HUNDREDS of people are tomorrow expected to pay tribute to a woman who helped thousands of children through her work as governor of one of the town's schools.

Neil Puffett

HUNDREDS of people are tomorrow expected to pay tribute to a woman who helped thousands of children through her work as governor of one of the town's schools.

Around 300 people are expected to take part in a thanksgiving service for Mary Rackham, who died at the age of 69.

Mrs Rackham served as governor at Sidegate Lane Primary School for 30 years, holding the position of chairman of governors for ten years.


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Her service to education in Suffolk was rewarded with an MBE, received from the Queen in 2003.

She had been unwell for about 18 months before being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in June last year.

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Her son, Richard, said: "As the hundreds of cards and letters state, mum, enriched so many people's lives.

“She was a lovely lady and will be remembered as a wonderful mother, wife and grandmother and a friend you could always rely on.

"She took her duties as school governor very seriously, and was motivated to take such an active part by the simple desire to help children achieve their very best at school.

“Mum never sought personal gain from her public service and she was more surprised than anyone when the letter came notifying her of her MBE.

“Having said that, it was an award she treasured."

Mrs Rackham was born at home in Cavendish Street, Ipswich, on October 2 1938, the only child of Ethel and Jack Robinson.

She attended Clifford Road Primary School then Northgate Grammar School where she attained six O levels.

She left school at 16 and went to work for Lloyds Bank on the Cornhill, Ipswich, for 11 years starting as a trainee clerk before being promoted to a supervisor.

Mary met her husband Barry at a church social club when she was 15 and he was 17. They married on June 3 1961 at Holy Trinity Church, Ipswich, and spent most of their married life living in Sidegate Lane, Ipswich, opposite the primary school, which was attended by their children, Richard and Jane.

Mary was later elected by parents to become a governor at the school.

She served in this role for 30 years, holding the position of chairman of governors for 10 years. Her service to education in Suffolk was rewarded with an MBE, received from the Queen in 2003.

As well as her public service she also supported Barry in his career in which he had risen to become managing director of the East Anglian Daily Times and a board member of the Eastern Counties Newspapers group.

A thanksgiving service will be held for Mrs Rackham from 2.30pm at St John's Church, Cauldwell Hall Road, Ipswich.

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