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Teachers celebrate founding member

A stamp commemorating Adele Tucker in 2007 (File photograph)

Members of one of Bermuda’s largest unions will today pause to remember the legacy one of their founding members, Adele Tucker.

Today marks the anniversary of her birth.

Bermuda Union of Teachers president Shannon James said: “We should never forget those who struggled to established the BUT.

“Ms Tucker was one of four founding members, the others being Rufus Stovell and cousins Matilda and Edith Crawford, who met in the in the graveyard of St John’s Church, Pembroke, at the funeral of a teacher, who was the third colleague to die in quick succession under financially strained circumstances.”

The BUT is celebrating its 100th anniversary on February 1 next year and is holding a series of events to mark the milestone. It is also trying to raise $100,000 for scholarships for four students.

Mr James added: “At first the Union did struggle but those founding members never gave up and eventually, in 1947, the BUT became the first union of register under a new trade union law. It is only right and fit that as we prepare to celebrate our 100th anniversary that we spare some time today to remember Adele.”

Ms Tucker was the headteacher of Paget Glebe School for more than 30 years and retired in 1934, forced out by a new law that required teachers to quit the classroom at age of 65. She left “with tears”, she later said, but was given a big send-off, that was reported on the front page of the Bermuda Recorder.

In 2007, her achievements were recognised when the Bermuda Post Office launched a “Pioneers of Progress” stamp issue which featured her and five fellow teachers including Edith and Matilda Crawford.

In 2015, she was one of several Bermudians honoured by the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs’ Emancipation Committee at a ceremony at the Ruth Seaton James Auditorium.

Mr James added: “Ms Tucker was an outstanding individual who, along with the other BUT founding members, fought for the right to a good education with teachers who were properly equipped to do the job.

“Everyone owes her, Rufus Stovell and Matilda and Edith Crawford an enormous debt of gratitude.”