Death of a grand lady

Ellaline Jennings
Ellaline Jennings
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A 104-year-old woman, believed to be the oldest in St Helens, has died.

Former Grange Park teacher Ellaline Jennings passed away at Fairfield Hospital in Crank on March 22 after becoming increasingly ill since Christmas.

Her friend, Tony Foster, who released a CD of her music on her 100th birthday, led the tributes.

He said: “Ellaline was very popular and was known to thousands of people across St Helens because she taught arts and crafts at Grange Park for almost 30 years.

“She was one of just two lady teachers at the school and was very forward-thinking. She even took parties of youngsters on a school trip to the Lake District in 1947, which was quite incredible at the time - just two years after the war.

“She was a lady of great initiative who certainly enjoyed life to the full. She was always most enthusiastic about her teaching - she was a devoted teacher.”

He added: “She had been a feature at Fairfield Hospital for the last 18 years and was only nursed latterly.”

Back in 2005, Miss Jennings - then 96 - organised a reunion at the United Reformed Church of former staff and pupils at Grange Park school.

And, in 2008, she released a CD of 31 instrumental tracks, including classics Moon River and Stranger on the Shore, in a bid to raise thousands of pounds for charity.

Miss Jennings first sat at a piano when she was just nine and also took up the cello during the Second World War. All proceeds from the CD - which was entitled 100 Not Out! - were donated to Willowbrook Hospice.

Her funeral service was held at St Helens Crematorium last Wednesday.