Tribute paid to popular school teacher, Jean, who was loved by generations

Harry Harris, of Exton, with a picture of his late wife Jean. MSMP080414-002af.jpg EMN-140804-151808001

Harry Harris, of Exton, with a picture of his late wife Jean. MSMP080414-002af.jpg EMN-140804-151808001


A popular school teacher who was loved by generations of pupils in her community has sadly died, aged 86.

Jean Harris worked at Exton Primary School for 30 years and her husband Harry has paid tribute to his “wonderful wife”.

Jean joined the school in the late 1970s and was as popular outside the classroom as she was in. She used to run a sweet shop from her porch opposite the school in Garden Road for the children.

Jean lost her three-year battle against schwannoma, a growth on her lung, at her home on Friday.

Harry, 90, who was married to Jean for 26 years, said: “She was my life and all I had. I can’t believe she has gone but I’m glad I was there with her until the end.

“She was a nice person and very honourable.

“She was quite private but she loved all her pupils.

“It’s just amazing how many people from have come up with cards, and all the children who were asking how she was and wishing her well when they knew she was ill.

“She’s someone that really will be missed.”

The couple started selling sweets from their porch when Harry came up with the idea after visiting a sweet stall in Stamford one day.

The village did not have a shop for children to buy sweets, chocolates and soft drinks after school.

Harry then started buying and collecting from a wholesaler in Loughborough.

Being the popular face in the village, Jean served the children.

When Jean was ill she told Harry to keep running the sweet shop.

Despite not serving the children before her death, Harry said he was determined to honour his promise to her.

He said: “I will carry on doing it for her. She wanted me to continue to do it and that’s what I’m going to do.

“To be honest I will just miss seeing the children if I didn’t.

“She never did it for profit. It was just for the pleasure of doing it.”

Jean moved to the village with her previous husband Aubert Barrah, when he became headmaster of Exton Primary School, as it was previously called before it changed to Exton and Greetham Primary School.

She had taught at schools in Derby, Bristol and the west country, where she met Harry while on holiday.

Jean has one daughter, Jane, from her previous marriage, two grandsons David and James, and two great grandaughters Alesha and Kasey. In her spare time, she was a keen gardener and the couple loved to travel.

She also enjoyed hosting jumble sales in her porch.

Harry, who was a former village correspondent for the Rutland and Stamford Mercury, said: “Jean lived for the garden. It was her life.

“We also loved our holidays away. I’ve got so many great memories of trips to Broad Haven in Wales.”

Jean was also a treasurer at St Peter and St Paul’s Church in Exton.

Her funeral service is set to be held at the church on Wednesday, from 11am.

Harry said he would like as many of the children at the school and former pupils who she taught to be there if possible.

He said: “I think it would be reassuring for the children to be there.

“We’re trying to arrange for the village hall to have refreshments afterwards and make sure that everyone who knew her can come along.”




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