Mrs May Armitage, mother figure to many boarders at The Moat, a language teacher on the staff 1966-72 and widow of Edward Armitage, died on 9th September 2008 aged 94. In recent years she had attend some of our reunion dinners. Her funeral takes place on 24 September 2008, at St Mary's Ely - see the What's New page for more information.
The Times, Friday 12 September 2008:
This page records the memories received from Soham Grammarians and will in due course record obituaries and tributes. Our condolences go to her family which includes two Grammarians, Rod SG '55' and Robin SG57; their brother Richard did not attend SGS.
from the 1970 School photo
from the 1972 School photo
11 Sep: Paul Stevens 66: Sad news indeed ... Like many, I remember her French and German lessons well and her wonderfully infectious enthusiasm for her subjects ..
12 Sep: Frank Haslam '59': I do not recall having any contact with her when at school (60-66), though she would have been at events and productions. It was only as I returned to the Grammarians in 2002 that I met her at Dinners, arranging the tree, visiting her at number 11 and of course our phone calls. Edward, she said, would be so pleased that the school - its people - were being remembered. It was a privilege to have come to know her, even in a small way.
12 Sep: David Parr 68: I went to see May a few months after her husband died. She was so glad to see me - didn't remember me, of course, but we had tea and biscuits and talked for over three hours. God bless her.
12 Sep: Ron Russell, staff 1971-72: We were very fond of her and got to know both her and Ted very well. She was a huge support to him in the difficult days of reorganisation - and was always a fount of good common-sense!
12 Sep: Geoff Rouse 56: I was sorry to learn of the passing of Mrs Armitage. She will be remembered by most Soham Grammarians as an excellent headmaster's wife - a cheerful foil to a more serious husband. She lived to a good age so one must assume that the responsibility of looking after the boarders at the Moat, plus three boys of her own, did not wear her down!
12 Sep: Graham Whiting 70: During 1971 and 1972 I had the fantastic opportunity to board at Soham Grammar School. During that time Mrs Armitage (I never knew her as May) provided care and support to a group of teenage school boys who were not always the easiest people in the world to care for. Now over 35 years on I still remember those times with happiness and affection. Mrs Armitage was my 'mother' during the week in the boarding house. I will miss her
13 Sep: Martin Knott 71: Mrs Armitage taught me German (and French?) in the last year of the Grammar School. I remember her as a kind and thoughtful teacher.
16 Sep: Chris Wain, Mathematics 1966-70: May was a colleague for those four very happy years, my first post as a teacher. May was a key figure in the Family that was Soham Grammar School. I have so often thought about/spoken of my time as part of this inspiring family, including May. My abiding memory of her is of her vitality, constantly breezing into the staffroom and engaging in friendly lively chat; her passion too for Soham Grammar School; and her undying support, as well as love, for her husband Ted in his role as Headmaster.
I have always felt grateful, even privileged, to have started my career in such an environment, where the qualities of care and sound, purposeful education abounded, in a friendly atmosphere. It was a very special environment, of which I personally have so many happy memories. So many people played large parts, but the driving force was Edward Armitage, as Headmaster.
It has often been said that 'behind every great man is a supportive woman'; I think that was the case within that lovely building and those beautiful grounds of Soham Grammar School. Their influence and the love for them will live on. I will be at St Mary's Church on 24 September.
Dedication of Edward Armitage memorial tree 2004
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page last updated 2 Oct 2008