For all that knew her in Walford

Tessa Channell  Wed, 1 May 2013 17:36:48 +0100

Theresa slipped away this afternoon at 3.46pm Spanish time

Larger than life, funnier than most stand ups, adorable, independent, and gone.
I used to work with her in Walford, that educational emporium which is no more, where she was a very colourful addition to our life there.

Two little anecdotes about her:

Without any exaggeration she once saved my life. A very disturbed boy once ran into the school corridor searching for me, furiously shouting he was going to kill me. He had almost caught up with me when Tessa more or less gathered me up and scooped me into her ICT room and barred the door, while fending him off until further help came. She could be very scary – once she rose to her full height (not small) and extended to her full width (not small either), she was petrifying. The boy duly scarpered. It was a very shocking experience but without Tessa I would have been mincemeat. He was menacing and wiry with very long specially sharpened and hardened fingernails so he could do utmost damage without an actual weapon! (he once explained this to me when he wasn’t angry with me.)

So thank you, Tessa!

But a much funnier occasion was when I had invited a friend of mine who was a Capuchin Friar to come and talk to some 6th form students in the school about medieval life. He came into the staff-room wearing his habit,brown, long and dirty! and Tessa delightfully greeted him with the words, in her frightfully frightfully accent, “Hallo, darling, are you for real, or are you the strippergram?” and she lunged at his habit. he nearly fell backwards, a bit nonplussed, as everyone hissed loudly ”He’s for real!”

She quickly recovered her poise and so did Stephen, but the scene is one I shall never forget!

Tessa was adored by the students because of her booming voice, her chortly laugh and her eccentric dress sense – vast fur hats, long knitted garments with the moth holes patched with applique strawberries etc. She was adored by the staff for her sense of humour and justice and her hilarious anecdotes about the various phasees of her life.

She died far too young, but no doubt she is booming away in heaven, entertaining the angels and melting the clouds with her fag ends! RIP

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