S I S T E R N O R A H L E S T E R
It is with great sadness but immense pride in her legacy, that we wish to inform our school community about the death of Sister Norah Lester on January 1st after a short illness. Sr. Lester was Headteacher at Sacred Heart High School from 1976-1988
Sister Norah Lester, who was head of Sacred Heart Catholic High School in Newcastle from 1976-1988, died on January 1 after a short period of ill-health. During a varied career she worked everywhere from schools in Malta to Wormwood Scrubs prison, and left a lasting mark on the community in Fenham, Newcastle.
Born in 1935 in Kirkham, Lancashire, Sr Lester taught in the Sacred Heart Primary School Fenham in the 60s, while studying for a degree in history at Durham University. She spent time teaching in Malta and at Digby Stuart College, in London, before returning to Fenham in 1976
In 1976 the headship of our, then grammar, school in Fenham became vacant and Norah took on this post, overseeing the school's transition to comprehensive. She remained as head for twelve years, and spent one final school year (1988-9) teaching part-time and studying for a diploma in multinational education & careers guidance, whilst also caring for her mother, who died in 1989. Norah always carried with her many happy memories of her time in Newcastle, and an enduring legacy in a broad spectrum of lasting friendships.
After leaving Newcastle, Sr Lester dedicated herself to teaching in Wormwood Scrubs Prison, a job she found “humbling and fulfilling”, continuing to work there until the age of 65. She spent much of the early part of her retirement working in the community in London, before moving to the care home where she spent her final days, where she was often visited by friends she made while teaching, as well as her two nieces.
Photograph above, from left to right:
Mrs F Temple Jones, Mrs A Bath, Mrs B Brown, Sr N Lester, Sr J Scott