A MUCH-LOVED teacher Mrs Gwendoline Chandler has died at the age of 95.

She was the widow of George Herbert ‘Jock’ Chandler, the first headmaster of Southcote Primary School which opened in 1954.

Mrs Chandler was born on 12 December 1924 to George and Katie Squelch. Her father, a Reading Transport bus inspector, died when she was ten.

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During her education at George Palmer School and Kendrick School she was determined to follow in her mother’s and godmother’s footsteps and become a teacher.

In the Second World War her teaching training college was relocated to Doncaster.

In her holidays she had to earn money and was employed at a residential nursery in Waddesdon Manor, where there were 75 under-fives.

On leaving college at the age of 19 she obtained a teaching post in Middlesex.

In 1955 her mother became ill and she applied for a job nearer home, a teaching post at Southcote Primary School.

During the interview she “fell” for the headmaster Jock Chandler and three years later they married.

After their honeymoon they moved into a new home in Chazey Road, Caversham.

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Both Jock and Gwen were sad that they could not have children of their own and so the pupils of Southcote Primary School became their children.

All the children believed that the couple were devoted to making learning fun.

At weekends in the summer months Jock and Gwen would spend every Saturday afternoon at the school’s open-air swimming pool and they became a familiar fixture in the Southcote community.

A measure of the respect that pupils had for the couple was that even up until last Christmas Gwen received cards and hampers from all over the world from them.

Both Mr and Mrs Chandler retired in 1978 and Mr Chandler died at the age of 90.

Reading Councillor Rose Williams, a former Mayor of the town, was aged seven when the school first opened.

She said: “I remember returning to the school after the holiday to find that Mr Chandler had married Gwen and as children we were amused by this.

“Although he was the head teacher Mr Chandler always did the playground duty and played cowboys and Indians and other games with us.

“In classes Mr Chandler never raised his voice and he and Gwen were so respected.

“My eldest son and daughter were also fortunate to attend the school when Jock was headteacher and were taught by Gwen who took the seven to eight-year olds and eight to nine-year olds.

“First thing in the morning before assembly Mr Chandler would read to the children so that the teachers could prepare the work.

“My children can remember him reading Charlie and The Chocolate Factory and they say you could hear a pin drop.”

In recent years Mrs Chandler was a resident of Sunrise Living in Sonning and died there on Easter Saturday.

A private funeral will take place on May 1 at Reading Crematorium. A memorial gathering will take place later in the year.