FAMILY and friends of Blackwood former teacher Peggy Dash gathered at her funeral to pay their respects to a woman described as being “full of spirit, love and compassion”.

Around 150 people attended the funeral service at the town’s St Margaret’s Church, including a few of the thousands who, as youngsters, came under Mrs Dash’s nurturing wing while pupils at the now defunct Blackwood junior school.

Brought up in Abertillery, Mrs Dash trained as a teacher in Chichester, Sussex, where she met her future husband Albert Macauley ‘Mac’ Dash, who was serving with the Royal Navy.

They married in 1944 and lived in Scotland and Malta, where their son Peter was born in 1948, and where she set up the country’s first English-speaking junior school.

After her husband’s naval career ended, they settled in south Wales, and Mrs Dash taught at Blackwood junior school for around 30 years, from the 1950s into the 1980s.

Her influence on her young charges during their formative years was recalled by her daughter-in-law Christine Dash, in a fond remembrance read by the Reverend Trevor Morgan, who conducted the funeral service.

Paying tribute last month to her mother-in-law, Christine Dash had called her “everyone’s favourite teacher”.

Reverend Morgan yesterday also recalled a woman of strong faith, kind, generous, and with a boundless love of life, who had played a major role in the community in and around Blackwood over many years.

The congregation sang the hymns Lord Of All Hopefulness and Abide With Me as part of the service.

Mrs Dash died at home in Blackwood last month aged 95. Her husband died in 2009, and her son - a former South Wales Argus photographer and picture editor, died in 2016 aged 68.