Town’s “ray of sunshine”

Date: Friday 1st May 2020
Jan Ryde
Jan Ryde

A POPULAR Penrith primary school teacher who taught pupils in the town for more than 30 years and would always “bring a ray of sunshine” into the day of her many friends and family, has died, aged 81.

Janice (Jan) Ryder (above), of Penrith, was born and raised in Bishop Auckland, County Durham. The only daughter to Fred and Bernice White, she attended The Mount school before going to college where she trained to be a home economics teacher.

Jan’s love of cooking and entertaining was a huge part of her vibrant life. Whether it was teaching girl guides, students or her grandchildren to cook, she always found this hugely enjoyable. Jan moved to Greystoke in 1966 with her husband, John, soon after the birth of their son, Christopher. John was a partner with Arnison and Co Solicitors, in Penrith, and they moved to the town after their daughter Kathryn was born in 1967.

Jan always enjoyed socialising and both she and John made a number of long-lasting friends when they respectively became members of Ladies Circle and Round Table.

Jan made and decorated countless wedding cakes and was renowned for wonderful New Year’s Eve and dinner parties. She also had a well-deserved reputation for mixing a potent gin and tonic!

In the early 70s, Jan started work as a primary teacher at Scaws Infant School (now Beaconside Infants). She taught there for more than 30 years and enjoyed every minute.

“Even very recently she would recall many of the children that she taught and giggled at the fun times she had with her colleagues,” said Kathryn.

Jan was very proud of her children and grandchildren Jade, Caitlin, Thomas and Kyle. While they were young, she would love looking after them and baking with them. As they reached adulthood Jan would thoroughly enjoy going out for meals or away for weekends with them, always having fun and laughing with a real zest for life.

Towards retirement, Jan took up bowling as a hobby. Initially she bowled at Penrith Castle Park then she progressed to play for the county. Jan bowled indoors in the winter months so as not to lose her “edge” and had more recently joined Skelton Bowling Club which she very much enjoyed. Bowling was a big part of her life and it allowed her to make a lot of good friends.

She was heavily involved in the community and was a regular at WI and Tuesday Club, often turning her hand to baking or crafts to contribute.

Jan had a far-reaching circle of friends which reflects the sort of person she was. She had many happy holidays with her friends and family and would always bring a ray of sunshine to their day.

She will be remembered for being a caring, professional and committed primary school teacher, a wonderful cook and hostess always wanting to look after everyone else.

“Most of all she will be remembered for being a truly inspirational mum and gran and someone who will leave so many happy memories in the hearts of so many,” added Kathryn.

Jan is survived by son Christopher and daughter Kathryn and her four grandchildren.

Due to the current circumstances the family held a small service at Carlisle Crematorium on Friday, 24th April, which was officiated by the Rev David Sargent, and Richardsons Funeral Directors, Victoria Road, Penrith, had charge of the arrangements. A memorial service will be held on a date to be arranged and Jan’s family thanked those who had sent special messages, cards and flowers.