Hundreds expected to attend memorial service of Newham teacher

Lucia Devine was committed to providing educational opportunities for Newham school children

Lucia Devine was committed to providing educational opportunities for Newham school children - Credit: Lucia Devine

A memorial service celebrating the life of a prominent Newham educationist will be attended by 250 people today.

Lucia Devine, who died aged 57 of ovarian cancer on October 17 last year, will have her life and achievements honoured at Stratford Circus Arts Centre at 6.30pm.

Family members, friends and colleagues from across the UK will honour the East Ham teacher and education advisor who was known for her commitment in bringing arts, sport and dance to children and young people across Newham.

Long-term friend Maria Maher, and headteacher at William Davies Primary School, said Lucia had requested a memorial service to take place in Newham.

She said: “Lucia wanted something for the Newham people because it was a big part of her life. We want to help her fulfil her wish.”

Lucia, who also went by the name of Loo, was born in County Durham but moved to Newham in 1991 to become an advisory teacher for PE and dance.

She later became an Ofsted inspector and a member of the Newham School Improvement team.

Most Read

Her successes resulted in her appointment as the lead officer for children in the legacy plans of the London Olympics 2012.

She ensured that more than 8,000 young people, including representatives from every Newham school, took part in events.

Maria said: “If a school hadn’t signed up, Lucia made sure they did. She would make a personal connection or call just to make sure that the children had that opportunity. She was passionate.”

The pair met at teacher training college in 1976 and had stayed in touch over the years.

Maria said: “She always had the most amazingly funny stories, with great details, and she had this amazing memory. She made us laugh all the time.

Lucia’s younger sister, Felicity, said her sibling had fulfilled her ambition of performing in the opening ceremony for the London Olympics as a dancing nurse.

She said: “It was such a big thing for her dream to come true,” adding that she “admired” her older sister for her “commitment to education”.

Speakers at the memorial will include Nick Williams, the 2012 Olympic Games head of communications for the Newham Unit, and James Thomas, the current director of Children’s and Young People Services for Newham.

There will also be performances by Stratford East Singers and East London Dance, both groups that Lucia had performed with on several occasions.

Donations will be given to St Joseph’s Hospice which cared for Lucia towards the end of her life.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter