Tributes to teacher known as ‘Mrs Blue Peter’

Tributes have been paid to Chris Longhurst

Tributes have been paid to Chris Longhurst - Credit: Archant

THE husband of a teacher who was known as “Mrs Blue Peter” has paid tribute to his wife following her sudden death.

Chris Longhurst teaching at Owlets Pre School

Chris Longhurst teaching at Owlets Pre School - Credit: Archant

Chris Longhurst died earlier this month aged 50, two days after minor surgery.

Mrs Longhurst was head of Owlets Pre School in Langford, which was closed last week out of respect for her 19 years of service.

The mother-of-three began her teaching career as a nursery nurse at Ashtree Primary School and Nursery in Stevenage, and also taught at the Merry-Go-Round Opportunity Group, a special needs nursery in Shefford.

She lived in Langford High Street with her husband Trevor, who she met through a work colleague in 1986.

“We have had over 150 cards of condolence which shows how much she was loved and thought of in our village,” said Mr Longhurst, who retired as headteacher of Longmeadow Infant and Junior School in Stevenage in 2005.

“She wanted children to discover through experiences and she loved nurturing them and creating an environment that was exciting. She loved working with the kids and she was known as ‘Mrs Blue Peter’.”

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Aside from teaching and walking her labrador Betty, another of Mrs Longhurst’s great loves was sport.

As a child she attended Fearnhill School in Letchworth GC, where she was the Hertfordshire county schools javelin champion.

She also played in goal for Letchworth GC hockey team in her late teens, before playing football for Langford Ladies in her 30s.

Mr Longhurst, who currently works part-time at Hitchin Girls’ School, added: “She loved football and she had a really good left foot. We would go to the village fayre where there would be a ‘beat the goalie’ penalty game. The goalkeeper would say ‘let the lady come a bit closer’ and she would smack it past them and then score again when the ball was moved back.”

Mr Longhurst, 67, said family and friends were still in shock at the death of his wife.

“It’s just unbelievable that this has happened. We went to a friend’s wedding five days before and she looked stunning,” he said.

“She was inspirational and loving and that’s how I would like to remember her.”

A statement from staff at Owlets Pre School said: “Chris was not only our boss but also a true friend who made time for us all, offering her support and encouragement to one and all. Owlets was her life; she dedicated all her time to ensure the children were in a happy and safe environment, always giving a little extra and putting others first.

“Chris will be greatly missed at Owlets by the staff, the children and their families. She has left a huge gap that will be hard to fill. Her memory lives on in the wonderful place that is Owlets.”

Mrs Longhurst is survived by her and Trevor’s three children, Becca, 23, Alice, 20, and George, 14, as well as her two older stepchildren, David, 34, and Vicki, 37.

Her funeral will be held at Harwood Park Crematorium at 12.30pm on Friday, January 25, before a memorial celebration and thanksgiving tea at 2.15pm at Langford Methodist Chapel.

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