05:00PM, Friday 22 May 2020
A dedicated former headteacher of Larchfield Primary School has died aged 88.
Mildred Jones passed away peacefully at Clara Court Care Home in Courthouse Road last month.
Born in Pontarddulais, near Swansea, South Wales, in 1931 to parents John and Annie, Mildred grew up with her older brother, Graham.
Life for the family centred around music and together they would sing through the chapels, Mildred had a good mezzo-soprano voice and also played the piano.
She was a Welsh speaker but completely bilingual and attended Gowerton Girls Grammar School in Gowerton, near Swansea, where she was taught English.
After school Mildred went to teacher training college in Swansea before taking up her first teaching post at Broadford Junior School in Romford.
During this time she enjoyed socialising in London with her brother and friends, some of whom were also teachers, and maintained these friendships throughout her life.
In around 1957, and only in her mid-twenties, she moved to Maidenhead to become deputy head at Larchfield Primary School in Bargeman Road.
Just two years later she was appointed headmistress at the school, which Mildred’s niece, Delyth Jones, believes is the youngest such appointment made at the time.
Known to Delyth, and her sister Sian, as ‘Auntie Mil’ Delyth said: “From our perspective she was very jolly, but I suspect she was a very formidable headmistress.”
Delyth described her aunt as ‘independent and determined’, she learned to drive as a young woman and owned various vehicles including a scooter, and a three-wheeler car.
She also said Mildred ‘was always very strong-minded, with a clear sense of what she thought was the right thing to do’.
In her position as headteacher Mildred saw Larchfield through a number of changes, including a big local re-organisation, during which she had to re-apply for her post, and was duly reappointed.
She continued to be headmistress at the school until her retirement in the early 1990s.
“I think probably the school was central to her life and she dedicated all her time to it,” said Delyth.
“She was immensely proud of her pupils and her staff.”
Despite her commitment to Larchfield, and its pupils, Mildred also enjoyed a busy social life.
She spent her spare time and school holidays in continental Europe with friends, and visiting loved ones in Wales.
Even in retirement Mildred still abided by the school calendar, taking her holidays when she always had done.
Delyth recalls many long lunches with her father Graham, sister Sian, Mildred, and usually one of Mildred’s friends, where they would ‘talk and laugh and usually be the last people leaving the restaurant’.
“I just have this image my head of her chuckling, she had a great sense of humour,” said Delyth.
As well as her love of music, travel, friends and family, Mildred also adored cats and had many beloved pets over the years.
Mildred remained living independently in her home in Langton Close as long as she could, but increasingly struggled with dementia.
She moved to Clara Court Care Home about four years ago, where Delyth said she was also known as ‘Auntie Mil’ to staff and until recently she had thrived there.
Mildred is remembered fondly by her nieces, Delyth and Sian Jones, and family friend Sidney Hopkins.
Her nieces would like to thank all the staff at Clara Court for their kindness.
A private funeral will take place today (Friday) at Slough Crematorium.
Mildred passed away on Saturday, April 18.
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