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Jean Kaye: Teacher and peace campaigner
4:00pm Thursday 3rd October 2013 in News
A PEACE campaigner who once got thrown out of the House of Commons has died aged 87.
Jean Eleanor Kaye (née Sherbourn) was born in Witney on April 30, 1926, the second of four daughters to George and Ellen Sherbourn.
She lived in the town until shortly after her retirement in 1985, when she moved to Rose Hill in Oxford.
In 1952 she married Francis Kaye. He was from Katowice in Poland and his original name was Franciszek Krzakala.
The couple had four sons, Michael, now 58, Stefan, 57, Gregory, now known as Jan, 54, and Andrzej, 53.
Mrs Kaye also had seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
Her son Stefan Kaye said: “In her youth she was active in the Girl Guides, holding the post of district commissioner.
“A keen hockey player, she was a regular goal-scorer for Witney Ladies.
“She often recounted how she was denied a glorious finale to her playing career when her attempt to score a goal in the final seconds of her last match was thwarted by the final whistle – blown by her husband.”
Mrs Kaye worked as a teacher, mostly at Our Lady of Lourdes primary school in Witney.
During this time she was one of the first students to enrol in the Open University and became the first member of her family to gain a degree.
Her husband died suddenly in 1980, and Mrs Kaye retired from teaching five years later.
Stefan said: “By this time she was already heavily involved in the peace movement and threw herself wholeheartedly in this direction, providing support to the women’s peace camps at Greenham Common and Aldermaston.
She was involved in numerous demonstrations and actions, always peaceful, and was arrested several times, once spending a few nights behind bars in Holloway after refusing to pay a fine imposed for trespass on Salisbury Plain.
In 1991 she was thrown out from the chamber of the House of Commons for shouting and raising a banner against the First Gulf War.
In the same year she appeared on national TV news being dragged away by police from a blockade of Whale Island at the Portsmouth arms fair.
In the 2000s Mrs Kaye was a founding member and education team leader at Oxford’s Asylum Welcome, where she gave her time, money, skills and hospitality to those in distress.
In 2010 she received the Neve Shalom-Wahat Al Salaam Pax Christi Peace Award for ‘commitment over a number of years to working for peace’.
She died on September 16 in the John Radcliffe Hospital after a short illness.
Her funeral took place on Monday at Blackfriars church in Oxford, followed by burial in Tower Hill cemetery in Witney.