Former head ‘Miss Joyer’ dies aged 77

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A TEACHER who helped to establish a school in Bedford has died,

Rosemary Joyeux, 77, was the head teacher of Portway Centre, which worked with non-English speaking children, for 10 years.

The school helped youngsters learn English and acclimatise to their new surroundings before moving on to mainstream education.

Known as ‘Miss Joyer’ to her pupils Rosemary was often one of the first friendly faces welcoming children to their new lives in Bedford.

The centre was seen as a progressive example and was heralded by national newspaper The Times as ‘providing a vital bridging role between cultures’.

Barbara Cardus, who worked at the school and remained friends with Rosemary, said: “We made sure that they were cared for at an important time of their lives when they had come from totally different cultures and ways of life.

“They might be from Italy, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh or the West Indies but when they came to Bedford, instead of being thrown in at the deep end with no English and no knowledge of British culture we helped them to swim and move on to other schools better prepared to continue their education.”

Rosemary was born in Bedford, her father painted weekly film posters at the Granada Cinema and through him Rosemary developed a love of art.

She carried on her artistic development studying at Bath Academy of Art before moving to France with her husband and having two sons.

After the couple divorced Rosemary moved back to Bedford and taught at Westfield School before becoming a teacher and eventually head at Portway.

While volunteering at Bedford Samaritans Rosemary had the first in a series of strokes which left her suffering from paralysis for 25 years.

Following her first strokes Rosemary studied Italian so that she could speak with her grandchildren living in Italy. But after suffering a second severe stroke Rosemary was paralysed from the chest down and was only able to communicate with the world through frequent visitors and carers.

Rosemary Joyeux’s funeral will take place at 1.45 on Monday at Norse Road Crematorium.

Post tributes to Rosemary Joyeux online: www.bedfordtoday.co.uk