Tributes paid to nun who got the better of Sir Jack
A former headteacher who ‘won’ thousands of pounds in funding from former Wolves owner Sir Jack Hayward has died at the age of 93.
Sister Helen Weston was headteacher at St Dominic’s School, in Brewood, between 1978 and 1990.
She is fondly remembered by former pupils, staff, parents and governors at the school near the Shropshire-Staffordshire border, with current headteacher Peter McNabb describing her as a ‘real character’ who held a special place.
He also explained how a series of cheeky bets with Sir Jack had enabled the school to be developed.
He said: “Everyone talks fondly about Sister Helen as someone who made a significant difference to St Dominic’s.
“She was known for her self sacrifice and was a loving, caring person – but very strict.
“Everybody connected with the school and the broader community at that time have so many memories of Sister Helen’s time here, her influence on them and her loyalty and commitment to St Dominic’s.
“People who came into contact with here still talk of her when they come back to school or meet up elsewhere and they all mention the good work she did while she was here.
Mr McNabb said one of the funniest stories centred on the former Wolves owner, who visited the school in 1987 to open the new sports hall he had given £30,000 towards.
After a series of challenges, Sir Jack was persuaded to dig even deeper to help the school.
He said: “The hall was finished but not completely paid for and Sister Helen managed to get Sir Jack to write a cheque out for another £12,000.
"He then bet Sister Helen another £10,000 that none of the school’s 400 girls would be able to recite his favourite poem.
“Needless to say she soon put forward a 14-year-old pupil who did so, word-perfect, and another £10,000 was added to the cause.
"But, amazingly, it didn’t end there – and Sister Helen challenged Sir Jack to double-or-quits.
“He asked her to name the Wolves team who played Portsmouth in the FA Cup final of 1939. She did so, naming the team alphabetically.
"It is a great story and one that typifies the great characters that were Sister Helen and Sir Jack. Both are no longer with us but both left some wonderful memories..”
Sister Helen died peacefully on December 3 in Dublin.