Warm tributes paid to retired Battle teacher

Pearl Thornton
Pearl Thornton

A “gentle woman” who dedicated her life to teaching at a Battle primary school has passed away aged 90.

Pearl Thornton lived at her Netherfield Road home from the day her family moved to the town in 1938 – when she was just 10 years old – until her death from pneumonia on December 22, 2018.

Pearl was an only child, born in Northumberland in 1928. After moving to Battle, she went to Southlands teacher training college in 1946, where she studied literature and music before graduating in 1949.

In 1950, she started working at Battle and Langton Primary School, where she stayed until her retirement in 1998.

One of Pearl’s pupils – Gwen Thurston – recalls her being very gentle and musical. She was inspired by Pearl so much, she became a teacher herself and took up a post at Battle and Langton Primary School, where Pearl had since become deputy headteacher.

Gwen said Pearl contributed such a lot to making the school a lovely place to work, adding: “Through our long association, Pearl offered an unconditional, inspirational and utterly reliable friendship.

“A truly gentle woman and loved by many.”

In 1977, Pearl was awarded The Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal for her services to education.

Aside from teaching, Pearl had a love of music, gardening and wildlife, as well as literature and poetry, writing and even illustrating her own poems.

She never married or had any children. Instead, she dedicated her time to looking after her parents and a lodger who had survived a gas attack during the war.

Her friend Sue Densem said: “Pearl’s heart and door were always open.

“She loved people, she was friendly and outgoing.

“She never complained. She was a very sweet person, too sweet for this world.

“She was part of the fabric of Battle. She loved the school and loved the children, and they loved her back.”

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