Eastbourne tributes following death of popular former teacher

'She will be sorely missed': Judy Parker with her husband Hugh
'She will be sorely missed': Judy Parker with her husband Hugh

A well-loved teacher and prominent member of the community has died.

Judith (Judy) Parker, who taught for 25 years at St Thomas A Becket, has died aged 63 after living with Multiple Sclerosis for years.

Her husband, former town councillor Hugh Parker, said, “She will be sorely missed. She always had a twinkle in her eye and she lived a very full life despite extreme restrictions.

“Caring for her was made easy by her attitude. I am very proud of her. I have got so many cards and letters, I’ve realised the impact that she had. She really had an interest in the town and what people were doing. She affected a lot of people very positively.”

Mrs Parker was born in Kent and moved to Eastbourne in 1971 to train as a teacher. There she got involved in the Young Liberals and met her future husband.

She married Hugh Parker in 1974 and they lived 42 “happy years” together, having two children, Laura and Hannah, and three grandchildren.

Mrs Parker was a teacher at St Thomas A Becket from 1975-2000, looking after many generations of children.

Last summer Judy was delighted to visit Stonehenge with her husband, something she had always wanted to see.

Mr Parker said, “She never complained about her MS, although effectively quadriplegic in recent years, and she maintained a wicked sense of humour. Everyone who met her was impressed by her happy attitude.”

For years, Mrs Parker was a member of the MS Society and was also supported by St Wilfrid’s Hospice.

Cllr David Tutt said, “I first knew Judy in her Young Liberal days in the 1970s. She was a determined individual and a strong campaigner.

“She was a lovely person who remained cheerful and maintained her determination. In later life this took the form of continuing to live life as fully as possible.

“I last saw her at the theatre in December, when clearly suffering she was still smiling and looking to the future. My thoughts are with her family at this sad time.”

The head teacher at St Thomas A Becket school said, “Judy was a valued colleague and talented teacher. She had a wonderful sense of humour and brought out the best in people.

“We are praying for her family.”

Her funeral will be at Eastbourne Crematorium on Friday, March 3, at 12.15pm. Family say all who knew her are welcome to come and it is to be a celebration of her life.

Donations will be gratefully received at Haine and Son Funeral Directors, High Street, Polegate, for St Wilfrid’s Hospice and the Eastbourne Branch of the Multiple Sclerosis Society.