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First head of former Downham Market girls’ school dies aged 100




Downham Market Academy, part of which was formerly Downham Market secondary modern school for girls.
Downham Market Academy, part of which was formerly Downham Market secondary modern school for girls.

The first headteacher of Downham secondary modern school for girls has died aged 100.

Joan Sperring, who led the school from when it first opened in 1956 until the late 70s, died last Wednesday.

Nancy Wright, who taught alongside Joan – when her surname was Tebbutt – said she was a “very good headmistress”.

Miss Wright said: “One of the things I certainly liked about her is I remember she would never ask you to do something she would not do herself.”

She said Mrs Sperring was “very keen” on drama and produced numerous plays.

“She always said that every five years the whole school should take part in something – she was determined every girl should have the chance to perform in something during their school life,” Miss Wright added.

Mrs Sperring was headteacher of the school before its amalgamation with Downham Grammar and Downham secondary modern school for boys into what is now Downham Market Academy.

She was also a geography teacher alongside her headteacher role.

Richard Ehlers, a friend of Mrs Sperring, said she moved to Luton when she retired around 20 years ago.

He said: “There must be people who were her pupils still living in the Downham area who remember her.”



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