Tributes for former Burnley and Nelson teacher who fought brave cancer battle for seven years

A teacher, who was known for her zest for life and natural beauty, has died after a courageous seven year battle with pancreatic cancer.

Former teacher Miss Beryl Dennis who has died at the age of 65
Former teacher Miss Beryl Dennis who has died at the age of 65

Miss Beryl Dennis, who was affectionately known to family and friends as Bes, was 65.

Burnley born, Miss Dennis attended St Augustine's RC Primary and the former St Hilda's RC High schools in the town. While at St Hilda's she was chosen as games captain twice due to her sporting talent.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Her love of sport led her to complete a teacher training course at Endsleigh College in Hull before she returned to her former high school as a PE teacher.

Miss Beryl Dennis was a PE teacher at the former St Hilda's RC High School in Burnley and also head of year at Nelson's Pendle Vale College.

During her three years at St Hilda's Miss Dennis gained a reputation for being strict but fair, encouraging her students to excel, particularly in netball and volleyball.

She left teaching to pursue a career as a holiday rep with the tour company Cosmos and the job took her all over Europe including Spain, Italy and Portugal. She made friends from all over the world and kept in touch with them all.

After 10 years in the holiday industry Miss Dennis returned to the UK and resumed her teaching career at the former Walton High School in Nelson. When the school became Pendle Vale College in 2006 Miss Dennis was appointed as a head of year until her retirement in 2011.

Fit and active throughout her life, two hour daily dog walks were the norm for Miss Dennis who was also a member at Crow Wood gym.

Paying tribute, Miss Dennis' sister, Deborah said the family had been overwhelmed with messages of sympathy and support.

She said: "One person who paid tribute to her said that when Bes entered a room you knew she was there.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"She loved entertaining people and she lived life to the full. She loved being with family and friends and she enjoyed her holidays.

"In January we had a last family holiday together on a Caribbean cruise."

Miss Dennis was also a caring and compassionate person who was always willing to help people out. Her niece Kate said she recalls a time when her aunt took her to a children's home to deliver Easter eggs.

She said: "She was a very thoughtful person and was always helping people."

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Miss Dennis, who also leaves her partner of 21 years, Peter Ashworth, her mother, 92-year-old Babs Dennis, and brother in law Steven, doted on her great nephews, one-year-old twins Isaac and Alexander.

A funeral service will be held on Wednesday at Burnley Crematorium and neighbours, who cannot attend due to lockdown restrictions, are preparing to stand at their front doors to applaud the cortege.

A celebration of Miss Dennis' lfe is being planned for friends and former colleagues and students to attend in the future.