Tributes paid to Jean Clements who worked as a dinner lady at Wanstead Church School

Jean Clements at the Corner House in Wanstead High Street

Jean Clements at the Corner House in Wanstead High Street

First published in Redbridge East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Photograph of the Author by , Senior reporter

A popular school dinner lady, described as a larger-than-life character by the children she served, has died at the age of 77.

Jean Clements was a well-known figure around Wanstead and remained friendly with many of the pupils she met while working at Wanstead Church School in Church Path during the 1970s and 80s.

She moved to Dangan Road, Wanstead with her husband Walter in 1960 where she lived until moving to a residential home in Buckhurst Hill in 2009.

Her daughter, Kay Wilsher, 51, said: “Whenever I used to walk down Wanstead High Street with mum, she would be stopped by former pupils.

“You would have these big strapping men coming up to her saying ‘Hello Miss Clements. How are you?’

“She remembered them all and never forgot a face.”

Mrs Clements, who was widowed in 1999, was an imposing figure who featured in the Guardian and Gazette paper back in 1982 after losing 10 stone at a Wanstead Slimming Club.

A report at the time described how at more than 23 stone she had been unable to get behind the wheel of a car until she slimmed down.

Former Wanstead Church School pupil and funeral director Anthony Waghorn, 45, of Francis & C Walters in High Street, Wanstead is handling Mrs Clements funeral.

He said: “She was a larger than life figure, that’s for sure - in size, height and personality.

“But all the kids used to love her. She didn’t only serve us our food, she made sure that every one of us ate everything on our plate.

“But she also liked a laugh and a joke and I remember you could always go up to her in the playground and have a chat about anything that was on your mind.

“I kept in touch with her as an adult and would meet her while walking the dogs in the park and chat about the old times. She was a very popular figure.”

In her retirement, Mrs Walters enjoyed attending the Corner House (now called the Alan Burgess Centre) in High Street, where she was a regular at the Age Concern Lunch Club.

Her funeral will take place at the City of London Crematorium in Aldersbrook on January 16.

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