THE many friends and colleagues of Miss Margaret Way MBE are mourning her death which took place on Monday, at The Manor Nursing Home, Bishops Hull, at the age of 92.

Margaret was a Taunton girl although educated at Arley Castle School in Shropshire. Her teaching career spanned an incredible 75 years, specializing in speech and drama.

She taught at many schools in the area including St Joseph's Convent, Taunton; St Christopher's School, Burnham on Sea; and St Audries School, near Minehead. Before the 2nd World War she taught at Exeter, Newton Abbott and Dawlish, travelling regularly by train from Taunton.

During the War she served as an officer in the A.T.S., retiring in 1946 in the rank of captain.

Margaret was one of an exceptional band of dedicated teachers, always prepared to go the extra mile to help her students achieve and exceed their potential. An incalculable number of students, parents, grandparents and teachers, have reason to be grateful for the help and encouragement she gave tirelessly to them during the course of her long career. Her main objective was to inspire confidence through speech, communication, self expression and the love of language.

Until recently, she was still teaching, dividing her time between King's Hall and Queen’s College. She retired from her King’s Hall employment in January but continued to teach at Queen's until May of this year, when health problems sadly forced her to leave. Before leaving, many of her students took LAMDA and Poetry Vanguard Examinations - all were successful, mostly with distinction.

In her spare time Margaret made an enormous contribution to the local performing arts. When she was younger, she had close contact with the amateur operatic and dramatic societies in the area, both as a member, occasional director of productions and also as a producer of many workshops. She maintained an active interest in these societies and seldom failed to support their performances. She also played many roles for Taunton Thespians and is a Vice President of that Society.

Shortly after the War she became involved with the Taunton & Somerset Music & Drama Festival, soon becoming a committee member and subsequently as Drama Secretary and Vice Chairman.

In 1978 she was appointed Vice President and the following year she became the Competitions' Secretary for Speech and Drama. Her input to the Festival was considerable and she was largely responsible for its considerable growth and development over the years.

The marvellously elegant and inspirational Margaret, received the High Sherriff of Somerset Award in 2007 and later that year also received a Taunton Citizen’s Award.

Last year she was awarded the MBE in the 2009 New Year’s Honours List for ‘voluntary service to speech and drama in the county town’. She was truly a legend in her lifetime and will be greatly missed.

Her funeral which will celebrate her life, will take place at Taunton Crematorium on Wednesday July 28 at 11.30am.