LAURA Emily Dorcas Whitefield, of Holmes Farm, Buckland St Mary, died peacefully with her family beside her on February 20. She was 87.

Laura (nee Welch) was born at Vardens Farm, Broadway, on November 6, 1919. She was the second child of Frank and Edith. Her brother Stanley died in 1996, and she is survived by her younger sister, Priska.

As a child, she attended Broadway village school, then gained a scholarship to Ilminster Girls' Grammar School. She was a Sunday School teacher and also an active member of Ilminster Young Farmers Club.

After leaving school, Laura started training to be a schoolteacher with posts in various schools including Misterton and Odcombe, her first permanent position was at Shepton Beauchamp.

She married George Whitefield, from Poltimore Farm, at Broadway Church on July 12, 1941, and they spent 62 very happy years together. Her darling George died in 2003, aged 92 years.

Their first home was the School House at Chillington, where Laura was headmistress and after George returned from the war they set up home with their two little girls, Angela and Priscilla, at Dunsters Mead, in Broadway, before settling at Holmes Farm, Buckland St Mary, in March, 1950, which has been home ever since.

As well as home-making, Laura helped George on the farm and busied herself with village life. She gave willingly of her time and energy helping in numerous village tasks and fund-raising over the years. She was a WI member for many years, holding office to treasurer until she suffered a stroke 15 years ago. She was secretary of the village hall for many years, served as a school governor and supported George wholeheartedly with his involvement with the Royal British Legion.

Laura returned to her teaching career in the late 1950s, teaching children in their own homes who were suffering long-term sickness, for which she received high commendations from the county for her dedication, skill and patience.

The funeral service took place at St Aldhelm and St Eadburga Church, Broadway, on March 6 conducted by the Rev Dr Andrew Tatnam and featured the hymns O Jesus I Have Promised, 23rd Psalm, Jerusalem and Lord of all Hopefulness. The organist was Bernard Gready. The lesson was read by Marion Board, the poem 'Music I Heard With You' was read by Laurence Wright and the poem 'Always Young' was read by Carol Jones. The eulogy was given by Ken Hayward (nephew).

Family mourners: Mrs Angela Smith (daughter, also representing Mr Richard Smith), Miss Priscilla Whitefield (daughter), Mr Stuart Smith (grandson, also representing Mrs Sharon Smith, Thomas and Amy), Mrs S. Whitefield, Mrs G. Whitefield (sisters-in-law), Mr J. Welch, Doreen, Mr and Mrs R. Kingdon, Miss R. Welch (also rep Mr K. Welch), Dr R. Welch, Mrs B. Mead (also rep Mr B. Mead), Mrs C. Shaw, Mr and Mrs P. Reeves, Mr and Mrs J. Payton, Mr and Mrs K. Hayward (also rep Mrs P. Hayward), Mr and Mrs T. Franklin (also rep Mr T. Whitefield), Mr G. Whitefield, Mr and Mrs D. Whitefield, Mr and Mrs V. House, Mrs J. Hull (also rep Mr P. Hull), Mrs K. Whitefield (also rep Mr N. Whitefield), Mrs S. Rogers, Mr and Mrs Robert Whitefield (also rep Mr and Mrs D. Whitefield), Mr and Mrs Richard Whitefield, Mr and Mrs E. Player, Mrs M. Mesner, Mr and Mrs M. Hawker, Mr I. Whitefield, Mr G. Hartland (also rep Mrs M. Hartland and Mr and Mrs J. Atwell), Mrs A. Edmunds (nephews and nieces), Mr Gordon Long (also rep Mrs E. Long), Mr George Long, Mrs A. Hill, Mr and Mrs R. Baker (cousins).

Organisations represented at the service were: The Royal British Legion, The WI, Buckland St Mary village hall, Broadway Church bellringers, Bishpswood Players and Church View Surgery.

There were family flowers only but donations in lieu in memory of Laura for the Children's Hospice South West and Church View Surgery are still being accepted by the funeral directors.

The family would like to express their sincere thanks to everyone who attended the funeral service, for the numerous cards and messages of sympathy and for the donations.

Special thanks to Dr Alan Williams and his team for their care and attention over so many years, to the Rev Dr Andrew Tatnam for his comforting service, to family and friends for their participation in the funeral service, to Ruth at the Candlelight Inn for the warm welcome and excellent catering and to Paul Whitmore and Dennise Wellman of A.J.Wakely. and Sons for their sympathetic and dignified help.