Tributes paid to ‘The Formidable Mrs Burn’ as French teacher dies, aged 102

Marjorie Burn
Marjorie Burn
HMS Queen Elizabeth, the UK's newest aircraft carrier, as the ship arrives in Portsmouth Picture: POPHOT Ian Simpson/Royal Navy/PA Wire

‘A symbol of maritime might in the navy for the next 50 years’

  • Marjorie Burn taught French at Brune Park and Grove Road in Gosport in her 40-year career
  • She was also an air raid warden during the second world war
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A FRENCH teacher and volunteer who was well-loved in the community has died.

Marjorie Burn, from Lee-on-the-Solent, died in her sleep at Croft Manor Care Home in Fareham. She was 102.

Marjorie Burn when she was 26 and an air raid precaution warden

Marjorie Burn when she was 26 and an air raid precaution warden

Teaching French at schools across Hampshire during a 40-year career, Marjorie was known as ‘The Formidable Mrs Burn’ by ex-pupils.

Marjorie was also an air raid precaution warden during the Second World War, and in her later years delivered meals on wheels and volunteered at her local Oxfam shop.

She is survived by three sons – Richard, 68, Gerald, 65, and Ken, 63 – five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Gerald, a retired navy lieutenant commander, said: ‘She was a very determined and positive woman. She always found something positive in any situation.’

Born Marjorie Woodford in Hardway, Gosport on May 24, 1914, her father, Thomas, was a naval chief petty officer, while her mother, Maude Laine, was also a teacher.

Marjorie was head girl at Gosport Grammar School, earning a rare scholarship to the University of Southampton and getting her first job as a supply teacher in the mid-1930s.

Graham said: ‘She worked very hard and she was very proud. It reflected her academic ability.’

During the Second World War, Marjorie was evacuated with schoolchildren several times, continuing to teach in the New Forest.

Marjorie married fellow teacher Henry John Burn in 1946. She began teaching at Gosport’s Grove Road school circa 1957, before moving to the newly-opened Brune Park school the following decade.

Ex-pupil Tania Piper said: ‘Mrs Burn was a lovely lady. Every time I saw her after I left school she always had the time of day to stop and chat, asking how we were.’

After retiring in 1975, Majorie enjoyed travelling to the likes of South Africa and India with Henry, who died in 1991.

Graham explained how she also loved tennis and quizzes, and was a ‘voracious reader’.

He said: ‘She had so much energy and she just wanted to do things.’

Marjorie’s family have welcomed friends and pupils to her funeral, which will be held at 1pm tomorrow at St Faith’s Church in Lee-on-the-Solent. All donations to be made to Macmillan Cancer Support and Gosport Voluntary Action.