Former Newbiggin-on-Lune teacher Mary Isabel Dixon has died at the age of 88.
Known as Isabel (nee Sanderson), she was born on Stainmore in 1932 and grew up at Bowderdale, near Newbiggin-on-Lune, along with her two sisters Ann and Joyce.
After attending Kirkby Stephen Grammar school, she went to Southlands college – now part of the University of Roehampton – in Wimbledon, where she trained to be a teacher.
A few years ago, Roehampton agreed that her course was equivalent to a modern degree course, so while in her 80s, Isabel became a BA.
Despite being in London for only two years, with little money, Isabel attended the Wimbledon men’s tennis finals in 1952 and the FA Cup final in 1953 – the Stanley Matthews final.
She was also kerbside for the Queen’s coronation.
Upon returning to Westmorland, Isabel taught at primary schools in Longdale, Newbiggin-on-Lune, Kendal and then Orton.
She qualified as a Methodist local preacher in her early 20s and was in demand right across Westmorland.
In 1966, she married Leonard Dixon at Newbiggin-on-Lune Methodist church and moved to Scargill, near Barnard Castle.
Isabel was fully involved in the Teesdale community, including with Trinity Methodist Church, Barnard Castle, preaching in and around the circuit, and had two children Graham and Hilary.
She was energetic, full of life and impressed everyone with her positive attitude.
In 1986, Isabel was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, which got progressively worse through the rest of her life.
It didn’t change her as a person. She was still positive, full of life and as energetic as she could be.
Isabel enjoyed being a farmer’s wife and mother, she collected bookmarks and had at least 500, loved word games and knew everything about family history.
When she finally retired to Barnard Castle in 2000, she enjoyed travels abroad with Len and visited relatives in Canada, Switzerland, Norway and Iceland.
Unfortunately, these trips were all too few as Len died of prostate cancer in 2007.
Isabel was able to stay in her own home until she died, thanks to the dedication of carers at Middleton Care. Her family thanked her friends and carers for their support, as well as the Methodist church.