Teacher Roberta, who taught in Sutton, Wisbech and Gorefield to celebrate her 100th birthday

Roberta Binley, who will turn 100 years old on Thursday January 28.

Roberta Binley, who will turn 100 years old on Thursday January 28. - Credit: Archant

A retired teacher who taught pupils all across Fenland is set to celebrate her 100th birthday this week.

Roberta Grace Sedgwick was born January 28 1916 at Sedgwick House, Crakehall, North Riding, Yorkshire.

She was the third youngest of four children to John William Sedgwick & Jane Anne Metcalfe. Her father was a carpenter, but later they moved to a farm in Whorlton, Swainby, on the north-eastern edge of the North York Moors, before returning to Crakehall after her brother’s death from a motorcycle accident.

She first attended the local Whorlton Parochial School, then Yarm Grammar School, near Middlesborough. She became a school prefect, the Secretary for Girls’ games and Secretary of the League of Nations Union. She excelled at drama, needlework and sports.

After her training as a teacher at the City of Leeds training college from 1934 to 1936, she took her first job as Certificated Assistant Teacher at Sutton, for the Isle of Ely Education Authority in October 1936, but when the newly built Cromwell school at Chatteris opened it took all the senior pupils, so, as the newest member of staff she got moved to another, post at Queens’ Road school, Wisbech.


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Subsequent posts included relief teaching at the County Primary Boys’ School, Ramnoth Road, Wisbech, Queens Senior Girls School, St Augustine’s VP school; and supply teaching at Elm Road, Wisbech, in 1955.

She met her husband, a school teacher at Old St Peter’s school, Wisbech, when assisting with the evacuation of children before the Second World War. He was later called to the army, and they married at St Gregory’s Church, Crakehall, North Yorkshire, after he came back from India. They originally lived in a pre-fab in Magazine Close but moved to a new home in The Chase off Leverington Road when it was built in 1956. Roberta lived there until she had to move into a care home last year following a fall and needing a new hip. Her having died in 1961.

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She started teaching at Gorefield County Primary school as a supply teacher but was later given a permanent post under Mr Watson, the headmaster. In time she became Deputy Headmistress, still with Mr Watson as headmaster, until she retired in July 1978.

After retiring she spent a month every few years visiting her daughter and family in Melbourne and later in Mansfield, in Victoria, Australia. She managed to attend the weddings of both of her grandchildren in Australia, as well as the grandchildren in this country. Amongst her many volunteering roles these included the Octavia Hill museum, library book collection, Friends of Wisbech Museum and the March operatic society.

Until her accident she was a regular attender at St Leonard’s church in Leverington.

She has three children, Elaine, Len and Harold, who are all married and have two children each, and between them she has eight great-grandchildren.

She now lives in the Ashmere care home in West Hallam; which is near to her son, Len, and grandson, Keith, who both live in Nottingham.

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