FORMER pupils have praised a “charismatic” and “popular” former Monmouthshire schoolteacher following her death.

Fran Jones, who was head of history at Monmouth School for Girls and later became head of Sixth Form, died on December 30, aged 74.

Monmouth School for Girls said Ms Jones, who taught in Monmouth from 1981 until her retirement in 1999, worked tirelessly to create a happy and positive atmosphere, and was able to lighten difficult moments with humour and wisdom.

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Fran Jones (left) with Shelagh Salter

Ms Jones became head of Sixth Form at Monmouth School for Girls in 1984, and quickly gained the affection of her pupils.

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“Everyone has that one teacher who inspired them and put them on the path to where they are today. I am absolutely heartbroken by the news of the death of Miss Jones,” said former Monmouth student, Vicky Breakwell.

Tineke Brown, another former pupil of Ms Jones’, added: “Miss Jones was one of my favourite teachers at Monmouth and was a brilliant head of Sixth Form.”

Ill health forced Miss Jones to take early retirement at Monmouth in 1999 at the age of 53, but she continued to volunteer as often as she could.

She moved to Cardiff to contribute to SNAP, which helped parents negotiate with teachers when they and their children had difficulties.

Ms Jones’ neighbour and close friend, Delia Smith, a former head of boarding at Monmouth School for Girls, said: “Fran enjoyed a few other short spells of voluntary work, including as a lay person on a hospital interview board.

“She loved cruises and travel and never lost her sense of humour and, despite suffering from ill health, she always put people at ease and maintained a love of history.”