It was the funeral of our much-loved teacher Carol Mary Derwent this week.
Carol was born in December 1944 to Molly and Tom Derwent.
Carol lived and studied (Educational Psychology) in Belfast, Glasgow, Tyne & Wear, and London's East End. She was a high achiever and enjoyed reading The Times and Independent everyday and enjoyed talking about current affairs. When at university, teaching underprivileged children became a strong passion and purpose and she volunteered to teach English to children in Sierra Leone, West Africa. Returning home she worked as an Educational Psychologist in Gateshead and then moved to North Wales to tutor children with special needs, behavioural or medical difficulties in their home. Through her non-judgemental patience and persistence; her young, fun attitude to life; refusing to give up on these children, she set them up for successful careers, and many became lifelong friends. One student was interested in studying computing but Carole didn’t know anything about IT so she enrolled on a course to enable her to teach him. Another former student had regular calls for help when she first got her own computer: it tickled him as it was often the cable that had come out of the socket that had caused the problem.
She started working at St David’s College around 1999. When she retired she tested children at Emrys Ap Iwan High School once a week. She was highly rated by the staff as she had time for the children, chatting to them to help them feel at ease to complete their tests.
She was a doting aunt to her sister Judith's children: Rachel, Ian and Brian, baking cakes with them, always ready for a walk with a picnic, thermos flask and KitKats in her pocket. But walks with Aunty Carole could take a while as she liked to talk to every passing stranger and point out the wild flowers and trees that she knew all the names of. If there was a flower she didn’t recognize as soon as she got home she’d be looking it up on her computer or her numerous flower books.
She volunteered at RSPB reserve in Llandudno Junction, where other staff affectionately called her "Aunty Carole" as she always gave them chocolate digestives. Her laugh could be heard all around the shop. Conwy mountain was another favourite of hers, although on windy days she described being lifted off her feet "like Mary Poppins!" She could always make herself heard, a talented pianist and singer, a member of a choir since living in Gateshead, whether belting out hymns in the congregation or performing (e.g. Messiah) in the Choral Society. She spent two "lovely" hours on her birthday a few years ago outside ASDA in Llandudno singing with the choir to raise money for Amnesty International.
Diagnosed with advanced lung cancer in December 2017 Carole spent time at Glan Clwyd and Denbigh hospital and her last five weeks of life at Eryl Fryn nursing home.