Further education champion Mary Rimington warmly remembered at celebration of her life

Mary Rimington swimming at Hampstead Heath

Mary Rimington swimming at Hampstead Heath - Credit: Archant

A popular teacher was fondly remembered as a “force of nature” and an education “warrior” by friends, family and colleagues as they celebrated her life.

Mary Rimington

Mary Rimington - Credit: Archant

Dartmouth Park resident Mary Rimington, who died aged 65 on February 15 after a battle with cancer, was described as an exceptional person who touched the lives of countless student during an emotional memorial service at City and Islington College last Saturday.

After starting her career at girls’ schools in Hampstead and Highgate, Ms Rimington taught at the college in Blackstock Road, Finsbury Park, for more than 30 years and rose to be its deputy principal. Two of her three children, Rosie and James, now work there as well.

She was made an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours last year for services to further education, after dedicating her life to helping adults and young people to achieve their potential.

College principal Frank McLoughlin told the memorial service: “Mary was a fiercely loyal friend and colleague who not only loved to teach, but was an exceptional manager, leader and person.

For over three decades, Mary made a difference to the lives of countless adults and young people across London.

“Though this evening is a terribly sad occasion, it is also a celebration of her life, and the best memorial to Mary is the living college she served.”

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Others remembered her as “a force of nature”, a further education “warrior” and an “eccentric non-conformist”.

The college renamed its restaurant the Mary Rimington Café at the service.

Afterwards, her daughter Rosie Smith, 36, interim curriculum manager for supported learning, said: “She was a fantastic woman with a huge range of talents and interests.

“She was a history lecturer, she loved to travel, loved running and swimming on Hampstead Heath and she loved to cook and try out new recipes on us all. She was a fantastic mum and wonderful grandma.”

Ms Rimington’s teaching career began in 1972 at South Hampstead High School in Maresfield Gardens, Hampstead. Within two years she was head of history at Channing School in The Bank, Highgate.

After taking time out to start a family, she returned to work at City and East London College, a forerunner of City and Islington, as a part-time history lecturer, beginning her commitment to adult and “second chance” learners.

She was also a keen swimmer who could be found at Hampstead Heath’s lido every morning and a volunteer warden at St Anne’s Church in Highgate West Hill, Highgate.

She is survived by her children, James, Rosie and Trisha, and grandchildren, Heath and Poppy.