Much-loved headteacher inspired thousands of children

Mabel Rankin
Mabel Rankin

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MABEL Rankin was a headteacher who formed a formidable education duo with her husband.

Mabel, who worked at Horndean Infants School in the 1970s, has died aged 99 at Pinewood Nursing Home in Chidham.

She had also earlier been the deputy head of Sharps Copse Infant School in Leigh Park and head of Stockheath Primary School.

Mary Cureton, her longstanding friend and professional colleague, said that Mrs Rankin was known for ‘placing literacy as a dominant goal for her children’ and had ‘developed an extremely successful curriculum for teaching English.’

She was also a gifted pianist and taught music to her children, even when she was head of school.

Mrs Rankin moved into the area with her family when her husband, Eric, was appointed head of Warblington School, Havant, in 1964, a post he held for 14 years.

Mrs Cureton said: ‘Together they formed a dynamic and widely-respected teaching duo who contributed much to education in the Havant area.’

Mrs Rankin had a lifetime in primary school teaching, taking time out to raise her three children. She taught in schools in Gloucestershire, London (West Ham), Middlesex and Kent, as well as Hampshire, moving in tandem with her husband’s career.

She gained her teaching qualifications from Goldsmiths’ College, London, in 1939. Her early education was at Lydney Grammar School, Gloucestershire, where she was school captain – an early indication of her leadership qualities.

She was born Mabel Morgan in November 1918, exactly a week after the armistice at the end of World War One. Her mother died in childbirth, so she was brought up by a childless but devoted uncle and aunt in Lydney.

She is survived by two of her children, Penelope, a retired doctor, and Paul, a retired research physicist. Her younger son, Mark, an architect, pre-deceased her.

Her husband Eric died in March, 2003.

A cremation service for close family only will be held at Oaklands Crematorium on February 24, to be followed at a later date by a memorial service at St Thomas-a- Becket Church, Warblington, when her ashes will be interred in her husband’s grave.

n Mabel Violet Rankin, b. November 18, 1918, d. February 2, 2017