OBITUARY: Thank you, Mrs D

BETTY was well known in Bundaberg through her commitment to the education of our children both as a teacher aide at the Bundaberg Special School, her commitment to Religious Education in many Bundaberg schools and an active member of the Anglican Parish of Bundaberg over a period of 33 years.

Betty was born on 21 January 1926 at Guernsey, United Kingdom to Edward Cook and Rita (nee Hutchinson).

Her parent s were corner store operators and Betty was their only child. Her stories of the German occupation of Guernsey gave an amazing insight into World War 2 life.

The siege from June 1944 to liberation on 9 May 1945 was particularly grim with severe food shortages.

She later married Frank Duquemin and they set sail from London to Australia with their little son Michael on the "Stratheden" on 27 June 1947. After about 4 weeks they set foot at Freemantle WA on 22 July.

By 1949 they had moved to Brisbane.

Soon they were living in Mackay but by 1958 they had moved to Maroondan and started cane farming. Around 1963 they moved into Bundaberg where they would stay.

With her children growing up fast , Betty became one of the first teacher aides in Bundaberg.

She started at the Bundaberg Opportunity School prior to 1974 where her duties included typing, duplicating, as well as interacting with every student.

In 1975 she moved to the Bundaberg Special School at Norville.

Betty soon became involved with music and PE and thoroughly enjoyed the choir and games.

She was a firm believer in the school's philosophy of individual programs, positive experiences, building self esteem, respecting individuality and minimising failure.

These goals came naturally to Betty.

With retirement came another challenge which saw Betty commence a rigorous round of teaching Religious Education.

She would usually start each lesson with a story about her cat and the children soon knew that she couldn't start her interesting cat story, unless there was quiet and attention.

It proved a useful tool in the classroom.

Many of the children regarded her as another Nana and they treated her with great respect and the feeling was mutual.

Betty would always lend an ear to any child and would often be late for the next lesson because of this pastoral care. Betty was caring, concerned, compassionate, protective, supportive, innovative, fair and uplifting.

She also committed her time to the teaching of Sunday School at Christ Church Anglican Church for many years.

At one time she also spent over a year in Fiji teaching at an orphanage. Of course Mrs Duquemin was a hard name to remember, consequently most of her hundreds of students would remember her simply as "Mrs D. "

Thank You Mrs D.

Betty passed away on 15 August, 2015 in Bundaberg.

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