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Remembering great-great grandmother and Falkland Primary School legend ‘Mrs Teddy Bear’ Pat Richardson





Newbury has paid tribute to a great-great grandmother and local legend.

Described as a woman who exuded love, Patricia Anne Richardson was known to many in the town.

Pat Richardson, picture: Paul Richardson
Pat Richardson, picture: Paul Richardson

A funeral was held last week (Wednesday) for Pat, who died at the age of 94 on February 13, 2024.

A procession, led by horse and carriage, made its way from her home in Dormer Close, past Falkland Primary School – where she worked – and to St Nicholas Church where friends and family remembered her ‘larger than life’ character.

Pat was born in Penzance on July 28, 1930, but lived in West Berkshire for 87 years with her husband and four children – Yvonne, Laura, Paul and Stephen.

Before having children, she trained as a librarian and optician. But she was better known, locally, for her role at Falkland Primary School – where she worked for 53 years.

Horse and carriage procession, picture: Paul Richardson
Horse and carriage procession, picture: Paul Richardson

She started in 1969, from the day the school first opened.

It was here that she adopted the nickname Mrs Teddy Bear – she wore a fluffy coat and was 4ft 9ins (having shrunk from 5ft 2ins) so the children loved to cuddle her.

“She had an ability to relate to children,” former Falkland head of 24 years Alan Askey said.

“She was there as a non-teaching member of staff that they could easily relate to.

Pat Richardson, picture: Paul Richardson
Pat Richardson, picture: Paul Richardson

“Pat was one of those extremely valuable members of staff that glued a school together.

“If a child was feeling a little bit low or a little bit worried, they naturally sought her out.

“She was always a very friendly figure.”

But she was more than Mrs Teddy Bear. To her children she was “one of the seven wonders of the world”.

The procession in Newbury, picture: Paul Richardson
The procession in Newbury, picture: Paul Richardson

Her son Paul Richardson recalled her “cheeky, crazy exploits”, describing her as a “larger than life” character.

At the age of 70, Pat paraglided in Goa and again at 84-years-old in Dubai.

She was the oldest person to ever do indoor sky-diving in Bahrain at 86.

At 89-years-old she insisted on riding a Segway and got behind a bar to make a strong gin cocktail – before “downing it” in front of an audience that had gathered around her.

Pat making a cocktail in Bahrain, picture: Paul Richardson
Pat making a cocktail in Bahrain, picture: Paul Richardson

And she danced most of the night of a New Year’s Eve party in a Newbury pub at the age of 91.

Had it not been for Covid, she would have sky dived from a plane – in her nineties.

“Mum was so much fun,” Paul said.

“She had an enormous zest for life, but a totally self- sacrificing attitude.

“When given a plate of food at home she would never start eating before saying ‘where’s yours’?

“Or if asked if she wanted a drink she would say ‘only if you are making one for yourself’.

“Everybody always came before her as making others happy made her happy.”

He added: “She was also cheeky and mischievous.

“She walked on this earth and with each and every step with each and every person she came into contact with she exuded a light of pure love, kindness, peace and joy in an effortless manner.

“Who can say that they were blessed enough to have a living guardian angel all their lives for more than 60 years.

“And know that she is still there acting as our guardian angel and we can feel it in many moments of our day.

“She is always with us continuing to nurture, protect and love us.”



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