Tributes paid to ‘inspirational’ former Woodroffe School art teacher

Dot WoodTRIBUTES have been paid to former Woodroffe School teacher Dot Wood, who died on Saturday after a bravely-fought battle with leukemia.

Before retirement, Dot worked as a teacher for 40 years and spent 29 years leading the art department at The Woodroffe School in Lyme Regis.

The Woodroffe community said it was “deeply saddened” to learn of Dot’s passing on Saturday, with colleagues describing her as an “inspirational teacher who loved what she did”.

Dot joined the team at Woodroffe from Axe Valley College, having worked in schools around the UK and abroad in the Caribbean. She was instrumental in working with former headteachers Kerrigan Redman and Dr Richard Steward to secure government funding and Arts Specialist status for the school.

In a combined statement, her former colleagues said: “Dot drove the project and her passion for involving everyone in activities that brought joy, and were in and of themselves a reward, was infectious.

“This drive would lead to the creation of international links with Cameroon, new purpose built buildings for the arts, wonderful community projects and a voice for a subject she felt passionately about. 

“Woodroffe became recognised as a hub for the visual arts and this legacy has offered countless students the opportunity to pursue their creative dreams.”

Dot went on to join the senior leadership team at Woodroffe driving a range of high profile community arts project over many years, and one of her greatest triumphs was said to be the Caves to the Cathedral project, where students having been inspired by Beer Quarry Caves, performed at Exeter Cathedral with John Miles’s B Sharp group.

She led work in school to add murals brightening up the site, inspiring many students to pursue their own passion at universities far and wide.

Her matter of fact, enthusiastic and dedicated approach meant she was much missed on her retirement.

Her colleagues added: “Dot was a very skilful and dedicated art teacher who had passion and drive for her subject. She inspired students to create fantastic pieces of work which brought colour and warmth to the corridors and classrooms in school.

“Dot will be sorely missed by staff, former students and the wider community. Our thoughts are with her friends and family at this difficult time.”

Outside of teaching, Dot had a love for sailing and the community she worked and lived in.

In recent years she had volunteered as a trustee for Lyme Regis Development Trust, playing a key role in the delivery of the annual Fossil Festival, and as chair of the trust’s property management company.

She also championed the establishment of Lyme Bay Radio and the community café at The Hub to help combat social isolation.

CEO of Lyme Regis Development Trust, David Tucker, said: “Hardworking and enthusiastic, Dot’s contribution to our charity was very significant.

“Dot’s greatest triumph at LRDT was as the guiding light of our Community Workshop. Dot raised the funds to get the workshop off the ground and many people have been able to develop new skills and make new friends as a result of her work.

“Dot’s impact on wider Lyme Regis was immense. As many of us discovered, her passion for education and the arts stretched well beyond the school gates. She used the town as inspiration for her students and threw herself into a series of community initiatives, some of which were delivered with LRDT.

“Our charity and our town are very much the poorer for the loss of Dot and the passion she brought to so many projects and initiatives.”

Dot, who lived in Uplyme, is survived by her husband and fellow former Woodroffe School teacher, Ian Wood, and her sons James and Matthew.

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