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Former Newlands Girls' School deputy head dies aged 91

 A former deputy head of Newlands Girls’ School has died at the age of 91.

Stella Kathleen Beedell passed away peacefully at Harwood House nursing home in Cookham Dean on Tuesday, February 5.

Born in Redhill, Surrey, in 1927 to parents William and Kathleen Stella, grew up with her younger brother, Trevor.

She went to the County School for Girls in Reigate before going to the University of Exeter.

After completing her bachelor’s degree in geography in 1949, Stella completed an additional teaching training year at the university.

In 1950 she came to Maidenhead to take up her first teaching post in the geography department at Maidenhead High School for Girls, now known as Newlands Girls' School.

Known by students as ‘the look’, Stella earned the nickname for her method of instilling discipline ‘with her beady eye’.

On moving to Maidenhead, Stella joined St Mary’s Church in St Mary's Close and taught in the young people’s group.

Many of the girls taught by her recall her bringing to life the Bible with geographic knowledge and enthusiasm.

In 1959, the school moved sites to Farm Road and in 1973 it converted to a comprehensive, after which Stella was appointed deputy head.

During her career Stella was recognised by the local education authority and on two occasions received invitations to attend garden parties at Her Majesty’s pleasure.

In 1984, Stella took early retirement and took a round-the world trip to Australia, New Zealand and Singapore.

Nipped by the travel bug she continued to travel, taking trips to Africa, America, Canada, Alaska and Europe.

Eager to have a useful retirement, Stella became a trustee for the Haven of Rest Almshouses in Maidenhead and an education officer and guide for St George’s Chapel, Windsor.

Organised, reliable and responsible, her household accounts testified to every penny spent, including a daily strip of dairy milk and a fondness for millionaire’s shortbread.

Stella also became warden at St Mary’s, where she had many friends and delighted parishioners with her talent as an ‘exceptional pianist’.

She could still be seen on the welcome desk well into her eighties.

She spoke fondly of her brother, Trevor, and her nephews, Paul and Mark.

Paul said they ‘were guarded by her love as she prayed for them throughout her life’ and described Stella as ‘an amazing sister and aunt’.

Countryside walks with her nephews as boys, and later as men with their own families, of which she was very much a part, were fond memories for her.

In her last few years, Stella had Alzheimer’s and spent five of those in Harwood House, where she was reigning Scrabble champion.

Paul said: “We praise God for her life and we celebrate her restoration to wholeness in His Heavenly Kingdom.”

Her service of Thanksgiving will take place at St Mary’s Church, Maidenhead on Friday, March 8 at 2.00pm.

The family have asked for no flowers and have requested donations be made to The Alzheimer’s society either at the church or care of E Sargeant & Son Maidenhead.

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