Double-decker takes Val on her last ride

Valerie Richards.
Valerie Richards.

TRIBUTES have been paid to a much-loved and respected Northumberland teacher.

Val Richards died from cancer at the age of 59 on February 19 following a career which included 24 years at Druridge Bay Middle School.

At yesterday’s funeral service in Embleton Hall, Longframlington, family, friends and former colleagues paid tribute.

And to mark her irreverent sense of humour, the funeral party travelled from her home in Morpeth in a red double-decker bus.

Mrs Richards’ husband Pete said: “Val brought music, colour and light into people’s lives and she will be greatly missed.

“We have received messages of condolences from her friends in Australia, France, Spain and the USA, along with many from across Northumberland, all saying how much they respected her and how well thought of she was in the community.

“Val was determined to see the birth of her two grandchildren, who brought her a lot of joy.

“I decided to use a London Bus as Val didn’t want a conventional funeral and as she came from outer London and they had been such a part of her younger life.

“I thought it somewhat off the wall, but also rather appropriate to use a Routemaster.”

Mrs Richards, nee Stanton, grew up in Surrey, moving to Northumberland to complete teacher training at Alnwick Castle from 1971 to 1974.

She taught at schools in Amble, including Amble High School, before joining Druridge Bay Middle School in 1982, where she became Deputy Head and was heavily involved in music and drama.

From 2006 to 2008, she worked at County Hall in the Education Other Than At School (EOTAS) department.

Mr Richards, 50, met her at the Carrib Northumbria bar in Shilbottle that she helped to run and the couple were married in Alnwick in October 1986. They lived in the town before moving to the Kirkhill area of Morpeth in 2002.

Mrs Richards was a member of the North East Gospel Choir and the Caedmon Choir.

She leaves son Chris, daughter Kerry, grandchildren Mollie and Thomas.

The family would like to thank Macmillan Cancer Care, Marie Curie, St Oswald’s Hospice, Wansbeck General Hospital and Co-op Funeral Care.

Following the funeral, there was a woodland burial service at Fairmoor Cemetery in Morpeth.

Donations in lieu can be made to St Oswald’s Hospice, care of Co-op Funeral Care in Manchester Street, Morpeth.