More than 200 people pack Harborough church to pay their respects to retired headteacher Liz Howe

Miss Howe, who was head of Great Bowden CofE Primary School from 1982-2006, died at the beginning of October after a short illness, aged 73

Monday, 25th October 2021, 9:48 am
Updated Monday, 25th October 2021, 9:50 am
Liz Howe

More than 200 people packed into Harborough parish church for a celebration of the life of retired headteacher Liz Howe.

Miss Howe, who was head of Great Bowden CofE Primary School from 1982-2006, died at the beginning of October after a short illness. She was 73.

She came to Market Harborough in 1978 as head of infants at the CofE primary school in Fairfield Road. Her previous posts had included five years in Germany at an Army school in Gutersloh and at the British School in Tehran, having to make a dramatic exit from the latter when the Shah was overthrown.

One of her first tasks at Great Bowden was to oversee the school’s move from its original home in Dingley Road to the current site in Gunnsbrook Close.

During the service of thanksgiving at St Dionysius Church, Market Harborough, former pupil, Anna Bowes (nee Hefford) paid tribute in a recollection of her Great Bowden schooldays.

“Miss Howe viewed her pupils as family. She genuinely loved them and the school. Her generosity and warmth of character and the kindness she showed were unique,” she said.

Close friend and former Mail editor, Gordon Birch, referred to her as ‘an exceptionally gifted classroom teacher’.

“She possessed a wonderful combination of discipline, affection and genuine love for all her pupils. And they responded accordingly,” he said.

Music was among her many hobbies and she had been a staunch member of St Dionysius church choir and at Great Bowden church. She also sang with Leicester Philharmonic Choir for many years.

In more recent years she volunteered at Harborough’s Oxfam shop.

Liz was creative and artistic and belonged to Aspects of Stitch, a town needlework work group, specialising in embroidery.

She was also chairman of Market Harborough Street Pastors, which was described as ‘the perfect vehicle for her caring nature’.

“She and her team would patrol the streets and parks until 2-3am at weekends, helping youngsters who were worse for wear from drink, drugs, or both, without any judgement whatsoever,” added Gordon.

The service of celebration was jointly led by team vicar, the Rev Alison Iliffe and associate priest, the Rev Susan Cooper, both of the Parish of the Transfiguration. It was preceded by a burial at The Willows natural burial ground, South Croxton.

Donations can be made in memory of Liz to Market Harborough Street Pastors and the Jubilee Foodbank online at or sent to J Stamps and Sons, Funeral Directors, The Chestnuts, 15 Kettering Road, Market Harborough.