Generations from TYdd St Mary will miss their champion lady

Christine Jackson (right )on her retirement three years ago with Tydd St Mary School head Sonya Ripley, son Neal Jackson, and grandchildren Charlie and Abby.
Christine Jackson (right )on her retirement three years ago with Tydd St Mary School head Sonya Ripley, son Neal Jackson, and grandchildren Charlie and Abby.
  • Funeral and cremation on Friday, June 26
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Friends and family will expect to be told to “Choppy Chop” when they attend the funeral of a well-loved former Tydd St Mary woman.

Christine Jackson died last month at the age of 71, just weeks after being diagnosed with cancer.

She always managed to find the time to make sure everything was done and everyone had a smile before leaving each morning

Headteacher Sonya Ripley

The words had been a familiar greeting to staff and children at the village school, where she worked before retirement for over 45 years, initially as a dinner lady and then as a caretaker and governor.

She began her career there at the same time her son, Neal, started school, and saw her grandchildren Charlie and Abby follow the family tradition.

Husband of 49 years Ralph said they had only just moved to a new bungalow in Long Sutton when Christine became ill. He said: “We’d downsized from our home in Tydd St Mary to enjoy life, but it wasn’t to be. She was an amazing woman. Nothing was too much trouble.”

As well as her school work, Christine was a successful national bowls player for Tydd St Mary.

In 2001 she was the National EWBF triples outdoor champion and in 2007 the National EWBF pairs outdoor champion.

She was also president of the North Cambs Ladies EWBF team in 2006 and 2007, when she won the Harry Carver Trophy, as well finishing captain and secretary of the Tydd St Mary team.

Proud Ralph said: “She’s always been my champion.”

Her grandchildren were her pride and joy. In a moving letter to “nan” Ralph received after Christine’s death, Abby wrote: “I hope you are having a great life in heaven.”

In a tribute to Mrs Jackson, the headteacher of Tydd St Mary School, Sonya Ripley, spoke of the respect held for a “truly wonderful colleague”.

Sonya said: “Christine loved her work and approached each day with great energy and enthusiasm.

“The staff and children were always guaranteed a cheery ‘Morning!’ or ‘Choppy Chop!’ every day.

“She always managed to find the time to make sure everything was done and everyone had a smile before leaving each morning.

“Many adults, who now have children of their own, remember her positivity and the way she cared about each and every one of them with great fondness.

“Simple things like ensuring every child in school received a birthday cake demonstrated just how much she did care.

“She has worked alongside many different members of staff but one thing we all have in common is the respect we have for a truly wonderful colleague.

“We all consider ourselves privileged to have worked with her and blessed to have shared friendship with such a special lady.

“She will be missed greatly by us all.”

The funeral service will take place at Tydd St Mary Church on Friday, June 26, at 10.15am followed by cremation at Mintlyn Crematorium, King’s Lynn, at 11.30am.

Donations to the (Cancer Care and Treatment Centre) Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Kings Lynn, 42229