Tributes to ‘superb’ headteacher who has died after contracting Covid-19

Former Caister Infant School teacher Patricia Lewis has died aged 80 after contracting coronavirus P

Former Caister Infant School teacher Patricia Lewis has died aged 80 after contracting coronavirus Picture: Supplied by Caroline Butcher - Credit: Archant

A former headteacher who was “loved and appreciated” by all her staff and children has died aged 80.

Patricia Lewis found her vocation as a mature student spending close to 30 years at Caister Infant School where she started out as a classroom teacher before quickly becoming deputy and then head.

She retired in 2000 and died in a care home in Bedfordshire after contracting coronavirus.

Caroline Butcher, a staff member at the school, said Mrs Lewis had been at the happy heart of the setting for some three decades.

She had time for everyone and was “kind and supportive”, as well as overseeing a major change in the age of transfer when Caister infants became a first.

The family had received many messages of condolence, she said, painting a picture of a woman whose kind, caring, and capable leadership made for a very special school.

Some had reflected on how she visited every child in their home before entry to school - 90 children each year - and knew and helped all 360 children and the parents.

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In the messages she was described as a superb head and a natural, talented teacher who was kind and supportive of all her staff from teachers to cooks, and caretakers to cleaning assistants.

She led a very happy and well-behaved environment, with vases of fresh flowers in the hall and offices helping to brighten everyone’s day.

Mrs Butcher said others had written about how she was able to help the staff to change and innovate but kept tried and tested methods that worked.

She added: “She was certainly loved and appreciated by children and staff.

“Pat has left us with very happy memories.”

Mrs Butcher also remembered her as a wonderful storyteller who had a great passion for football, the countryside, music, and poetry.

She said friends and former colleagues still met up twice a year in her honour calling themselves ‘Pat’s old girls’ or Pogs.

Mrs Lewis hailed from Linconshire and worked as a court clerk before moving into teaching.

She married twice and had three children.

She lived with her second husband Bernard in Filby before he died.

During her retirement years she enjoyed holidays and cruising.

She said in her will she wanted her ashes to be scattered at How Hill in Ludham, a favourite place for school trips.