Tributes paid to popular teacher who loved her Norfolk beach hut
- Credit: Supplied by the family
She taught generations of schoolchildren, sharing her love of making others happy through the power of music.
But one of her favourite sounds was the melody of waves as she sat at her Mundesley beach hut with family, friends and a faithful Labrador companion.
Tributes have been paid to Sue Ling, of Mundesley, who has died aged 83.
Her daughter Jane Gay said: “She and dad always made sure they were hospitable. We always had people around at Christmas - she would look out for people who would be alone and invite them around. It was a house where there was always someone coming to visit or stay.”
Mrs Ling, then Miss Boagey, was born and brought up in London and spent war years as an evacuee in Newent, Gloucestershire.
She took up the piano and violin and subsequently played in orchestras and competitions, even travelling to the Netherlands to perform. She attended Clapham County School for Girls, where she was a prefect, captain of games and captained tennis, rounders and hockey teams.
When she was 18, she moved to Norfolk to train as a 'music specials' teacher at Keswick Hall College, where she became part of a group that put on puppet shows.
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In her early twenties she played the fiddle for the Kemps Men of Norwich Morris dancing group and took part in amateur dramatics in North Walsham.
In 1961 she married Keith Ling, an agricultural engineer, and they had many happy years together until Keith died in 2004. The couple lived in Stalham briefly and then North Walsham, and Mrs Ling moved to Mundesley in 2009.
Mrs Ling's first job was at Aylsham High School in 1957 and she went on to teach at Manor Road and Millfield Road schools in North Walsham, including a period when Jane and their son, Matthew, were pupils there.
Throughout her life she demonstrated her dedication to both her professional life and her family and friends.
Mrs Ling moved to Mundelsey Junior school in 1978 and later taught at the Clare School in Norwich.
She also became a captain for North Walsham’s Girl Guides, and ran choirs for children and adults. She was always up for a challenge and, in her 40s, decided to sit the piano and violin exams she had not done as child. She proceeded to attain Grade 8 with distinction in piano and Grade 7 with distinction in violin.
Many of the musical groups were associated with the church, and Mrs Ling later was a licensed lay minister with the Church of England for 20 years.
Mrs Gay said: "Her deep Christian faith shaped much of her life and how she approached death."
Over the years she led services, Bible studies, retreats and musical groups at St Nicholas church in North Walsham, as well as the village churches in the King’s Beck and Mundesley and Trunch benefices, and at Mundesley Methodist church.
Mrs Gay said after her mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer just a year ago, there were two dreams she wanted to fulfil before she died.
One was to watch Norwich City play at Carrow Road - something she had never done before. So in February one of her grandsons took her to the stadium for the club’s final game before the first lockdown.
“She was determined to get there,” Mrs Gay said. “Delia Smith and Chris Goreham from BBC radio came down to make a fuss over her.”
Mrs Gay said her other wish was to spend a final summer at Mundesley beach, where she and Keith had kept a beach hut for years and had spent many happy hours.
“It was a lovely time and she was very contented with what she was able to do,” Mrs Gay said. “She was able to see lots of family and friends - she has seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.”
Mrs Ling would always buy a flask of tea and a scone from the beach café, and had her Labradors, firstly Toby, who had a black coat, and later the yellow-coated Sophie by her side.
Her funeral will be held on Monday, February 1, and, in line with her wishes, she will make one final trip to Mundesley. At about 11.30am, the hearse will travel down Back Street and onto the village church for prayers at the lychgate before before going along the seafront to a private burial at North Walsham.
Donations in Mrs Ling’s memory can be made online at togetherinmemory.pancreaticcancer.org.uk/In-Memory/Susan-Ling.
Others also wanted to share their memories of Mrs Ling, and spoke about her ability to listen and encourage the gifts in those around her.
One past pupil said: “She was my teacher at Mundesley Junior School - a lovely lady and wonderful teacher.” Another added: “My wonderful teacher at Mundesley Junior School. I still remember her playing us Wagner!"
A friend of Mrs Ling's added: “Sue was a remarkable and lovely friend, insightful and thoughtful, calm, a great sense of humour and very funny with a great giggle." Another said: “I remember her as a welcoming, kind, energetic lady. Full of wisdom and faith.”