Mourners lined the streets of Appleby as the funeral took place of Jenny Morgan — a dynamic figure in the town who held a special place in many hearts.
Jenny, 72, of The Old Brewery in Doomgate, was a force of nature in Appleby with her tireless work to help numerous organisations and voluntary groups earning her the respect and affection of many.
She was a much-loved face in Upper Eden where she had taught at Kirkby Stephen Grammar School, was three times a mayoress of Appleby and stood alongside her late husband Keith when he served as Eden District Council chairman.
Born in 1948, Jenny was the only child of Alf and Norma Jones and grew up in Hartlepool. She trained as a teacher at college in Didsbury, Manchester, and it was during her time as a student she met her husband Keith.
She had gone with friends to stay at the former Knock Youth Hostel in 1967 and met Keith who was working there as a warden.
When her holiday ended they kept in touch by letter. Keith visited Jenny for a two-week holiday and ended up staying 15 months.
They married in St James’ Church, Hartlepool, in 1969 before moving to Chorley, Lancashire.
During this time Jenny had taken her first job teaching in Bolton and worked at a number of schools in Lancashire. She trained as a teacher of the deaf in the 1970s and spent some years at a specialist school.
In 1979 their eldest son Gareth was born. A research professor at Boston University School of Medicine, he now lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with wife Zina.
The move to Appleby came the same year. It was during a visit to Appleby horse trotting that Keith noticed the Old Brewery on Doomgate was for sale.
They moved to Appleby and lived in a neighbouring bungalow while renovating the family home. The Old Brewery was also a base for Keith’s business, Dinsdale Fine Arts picture framing service (named after the family cat), which he ran from 1980 to 2001.
In 1981 their son Matt was born. He now lives in Burrells running Tyla Tree Services with his wife Nicola.
After moving to Eden, Jenny worked at various primary and secondary schools in the area before taking a role at Kirkby Stephen Grammar School in 1987.
She went on to become its special needs co-ordinator in 1994 and was on the Kirkby Stephen Grammar School senior management team before she retired from full-time work around 2005.
During her career Jenny had acquired a diploma in dyslexia education and M.Ed. in the late 90s. After formally retiring, she transitioned to teacher training and tutoring children with literacy difficulties.
She continued to keep some involvement in education in schools around the country until she became ill last year.
Jenny was also a huge supporter of community events and charities.
This included Appleby Inner Wheel, Appleby Carnival, Appleby Community Acting Together, Appleby Sparkle Day, St Lawrence’s Church, Appleby Meals on Wheels, Mothers’ Union, Appleby summer playscheme, the Smile Train charity, National Association for the Welfare of Children in Hospital (now Action for Sick Children), Christian Aid, WaterAid, and others. She also raised funds for local schools.
Alongside Keith she helped run local theatre activities and as his mayoress carried out numerous official duties including a royal visit to Appleby in which she hosted Prince Charles. Most recently Jenny was chair of governors at Warcop Primary School.
Gareth said: “Mum worked so hard at so many things over the years. I think that fundamentally, she saw the best in everyone and cared deeply about helping them to be the best person that they could be.
“Her Christian faith was an important pillar of her life and she interpreted it as though the ultimate reward may be in the next world, but meanwhile there’s plenty to do in this one.
“Whether through teaching, friendship or service to the community she was always ready to step up and do what needed to be done. And she could see what needed to be done and how to do it, far more than she gave herself credit for.
“It took her a long time to realise that she was actually an expert in what she was doing, and to accept a little bit of the credit.
“Looking back, we were incredibly lucky to have her unconditional love and support. She always had the time and energy to support us in everything that we did.”
Around 2003 she was treated for breast cancer and had been in remission until autumn last year. The family have thanked the local NHS for the excellent care she had received.
She died at her home in Doomgate on Thursday, 16th July.
A private family service was held at Appleby Cemetery due to COVID-19 restrictions but mourners were invited to pay their respects as the cortege made its way through the town.
Donations in her memory will be given to Hospice at Home Carlisle and North Lakeland and Penrith District Nurses Amenities Fund, care of Walkers Funeral Directors.
Members of Appleby Town Council held a silence in memory of Jenny at their meeting earlier this week and issued a tribute to her, which read: “Appleby Town Council’s flag flew, at half mast, at the Moot Hall last week as a mark of the town council’s respect at the passing of Jenny Morgan.
“Over four decades Jenny was a dynamic figure in the town, commanding gratitude and affection all across the community.
“Tribute will be paid elsewhere to her tireless work as educator of deaf children, active Christian, leader of cultural events, compassionate carer and listener and much more.
“From a council perspective, we particularly recall her as an exemplary mayoress both for her husband, the late Keith Morgan, and Stan Rooke; and as the initiator and organiser of Appleby Sparkle Day.
“She will be much missed.”