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Former Cowbit teacher, children's worker and pub landlady passes away, aged 84

Tributes have been paid to a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother who was at the heart of the Cowbit community for nearly 30 years.

A thanksgiving service is being planned for Val Day, former landlady of The Dun Cow pub and past chairman of the Cowbit Village Hall committee, who has passed away, aged 84.

Mrs Day, who also taught at Cowbit St Mary’s Primary School, set up the village’s Brownie group and was a member of St Mary’s Church, died while resident at a care home in Peterborough on Sunday, September 13.

Val Day was a member of St Mary's Church, Cowbit.
Val Day was a member of St Mary's Church, Cowbit.

The thanksgiving service, due to be held next year once COVID-19 restrictions are eased, will follow a private family funeral held at Surfleet Crematorium on Thursday, October 1.

Paul Day, one two children, five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren who survive Mrs Day, said: "Mum went to Durham University where she gained a degree in Teaching before a career in schools around South London and Surrey.

"In 1990, the family moved to Cowbit to buy and run the village pub, The Dun Cow.

"Mum continued teaching at local schools for the next 15 years and she was also was a very active member of the local community.

"She attended the local church where she helped as a fundraiser and ran a monthly coffee morning, later becoming a lay preacher who helped out in church services.

"Mum also served on Cowbit Parish Council, she was elected chairman of the Village hall committee, started up a village Brownie pack and ran the monthly bingo sessions, as well as helping with fundraising events and organizing harvest suppers, race nights and Christmas parties for the elderly.

"Our family all miss her greatly, but her love, support, energy,and character will always be remembered."

Darren Harper, chairman of the village hall committee, said: "Val was very much part of the community, in fact, she was the community and my predecessor as chairman of the village hall committee.

"However, Val did much more as she helped with reading at the local school, ran the Dun Cow pub with her late husband Brian and was on the committee that tried to save it from being bulldozed.

"As chairman of the village hall committee, Val ran the bingo there for 10years.

"But she was also involved with the playing field committee and was a big supporter at St Mary’s Church, fundraising and supporting many of its events."

Parish council vice chairman Coun Chris Elliott said: "Cowbit Parish Council members were sad to hear of the passing of Val Day who was not just a resident of Cowbit, but was the heart and soul of the village.

"No organisation or institution was untouched by her kindness and generosity.

"From teaching at the school to running the pub, from chairing the village hall committee to working on the playing field committee and village events, Val was there.

"She was also a stalwart at the church and was still helping to run coffee mornings for the village's senior citizens, many of whom were much younger than she was, right up to the COVID-19 lockdown.

"Val also set up the Brownies in Cowbit and always reserved a place in her heart for all the young residents.

"Val Day has probably done more for us than anyone and she will be sorely missed."

Mary Haresign, a friend of Mrs Day's who worked with her as part of a group who raised funds to repair the church clock, said: "As landlady of The Dun Cow pub, Val was always there to welcome visitors, moving from table to table, chatting and helping people to feel at ease and welcome.

"During her time at The Dun Cow and later as a resident of Cowbit, Val was involved in many village activities and she was always willing to help.

"She was enthusiastic, with lots of ideas, as Val believed very strongly in the importance of community.

"Even as she grew older and her health deteriorated, she was still determined to be involved in village life.

"Val was a remarkable woman who gave so much of herself to the village of Cowbit."

The Rev Charles Brown, priest-in-charge at St Mary's, said: "I believe that Val had a deep faith in God, a faith that saw her through all the ups and downs of her life.

"I think her knowledge of, and trust in God’s love, motivated her to reach out to others in the community, especially the young and the elderly.

"We at St Mary’s Church, along with many others in the village, greatly miss her.

"May she rest in peace and rise in glory."

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