'Dedicated and devoted' - tributes paid to retired teacher Annick Smith

Annick Smith sipping champagne in her beloved garden in Ipswich on her 86th birthday

Annick Smith sipping champagne in her beloved garden in Ipswich on her 86th birthday. - Credit: Anne Smith

Tributes are being paid to "devoted and dedicated" retired teacher Annick Smith, who has died aged 87.

She taught French at Ipswich High School, the former Mills Grammar School in Framlingham and the former Convent of Jesus and Mary in Ipswich, and inspired countless students over the years.

Her daughter, Anne, said: "My mother absolutely loved teaching, and loved the people she taught. She was very involved in her pupils' lives.

"She was a dedicated teacher, a devoted mother, and a very loyal friend."

Anne said she had received many cards and tributes from pupils and teachers.

Annick Smith outside her Ipswich home with her daughter's dog, Freddie

Annick Smith outside her Ipswich home with her daughter's dog, Freddie, at Christmas 2020 - Credit: Anne Smith

This included former Convent pupils who remembered being taught by her mother back in the 1960s, as well as those who knew her during her years at Mills Grammar and Ipswich High School.  

One former pupil commented online: "She was my French teacher at Ipswich High School in the early 1980s. A fantastic teacher, funny and bright - very demanding, but always warm and helpful.

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"I have very fond memories of her classes that stick with me even 35-plus years later." 

Annick, remembered by her students as Mrs Smith, was born in Roscoff, in north Brittany, in July 1934,and grew up in the Plougasnou area.

Anne said: "She was brought up by her uncle and aunt, and her uncle was the local doctor."

The German occupation of France sadly ran through much of her childhood. "They not only had German officers in their house, but she also witnessed an execution and people being shot," Anne said.

After the war, at the age of 13, Annick moved to Paris. Later, she studied at the famous Sorbonne university in Paris, with her course involving a placement in an English-speaking country.

As a Breton, she was keen to travel to a Celtic country, and so chose to spend the year as an assistant at a school in Enniskillen in Northern Ireland. This was where she met her future husband, John Smith.

"My father was working in Africa as a district commissioner. He was on leave, and his best friend was the head of French at the school where my mother was, and that's how they met," Anne said. 

 After he went back to Africa, the couple courted one another for two years by letter.

Annick and John Smith on their wedding day in Paris

Annick and John Smith on their wedding day in Paris - Credit: Anne Smith

Following their wedding in Paris, they lived in Gabon and then Nigeria.

Their two children were born in Africa, their son Stephen and their daughter Anne. Stephen sadly passed away in 2008, the year after his father died.

The family moved to the UK in 1962. After their return, they at first lived in Clacton, where John's parents lived, before moving to Ipswich in 1964.

Annick and John Smith pictured with children Stephen and Anne in Africa 

Annick and John Smith pictured with children Stephen and Anne in Africa - Credit: Anne Smith

Annick started her teaching career at the former Convent of Jesus and Mary. "She taught in the senior school and I was in the junior school," Anne said.

In 1969 the family moved to the Manchester area for a time, living in Stockport, and Annick taught at Marple Hall girls' school before they returned to Suffolk in 1972.

She then joined the staff at the former Mills Grammar School in Framlingham, where she taught for a number of years during the 1970s. 

Anne said her mother spent some of "her happiest years as a teacher" at Mills, and was also happy at Ipswich High School, where she taught until she retired.

After travelling so much during their early years together, Annick and her husband agreed not to travel so far afield later. But they enjoyed visiting France and exploring areas which were new to them.

Annick Smith with her daughter Anne and Anne's dog Freddie

Annick Smith in July 2021, just after her 87th birthday, with her daughter Anne and Anne's dog Freddie - Credit: Anne Smith

Annick had never been a dog person - but that all changed when her daughter became a dog owner.

"I acquired two beautiful golden retrievers, called Henry and Freddie, just before my father died," Anne said.

"They really worked their way into my mother's heart, and there was a love affair between my mother and Freddie."

Annick Smith passed away peacefully at her home in Ipswich on November 9.

A funeral mass was held at St Mary Magdalen Church in Ipswich, conducted by Father Christopher Smith, a friend of Annick's.

Donations for Cancer Research UK or Medical Missionaries of Mary can be sent to Farthing Funeral Service, 650 Woodbridge Road, Ipswich, IP4 4PW.

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