A STALWART of Newport's amateur dramatics scene, with more than 40 years' service in Newport Playgoers Society, has died aged 68.

Desrae Tucker directed many productions for Newport Pantomime Society in addition to her decades of service to the Playgoers, and was also a founder member of the Dolman Youth Theatre.

As well as acting she organised props, prompted, assisted and directed plays, worked backstage and on occasion organised sound and lights.

Drama also played a key role in her teaching career. Educated at Duffryn High School, she obtained her teaching certificate at Caerleon College of Education, and after teaching in several primary schools returned to Duffryn to teach English and drama.

She also taught at Bettws High School, later being appointed head of English and Drama at Brynmawr Comprehensive School, where she ended her career as deputy head.

To Des, teaching was a vocation and she considered helping young people to achieve their full potential to be an honour and a privilege. Her past pupils and former colleagues all remember her with great affection and gratitude, said friend and fellow Playgoer Ann Kelly.

Mrs Tucker was also a past regional president of the National Union of Teachers, and a past president of the city branch of the Soroptimists, a women's organisation working to better lives for women in this country and abroad.

She was an active member of Newport Rotary Club, and secretary of Newport Photographic Club, being herself a keen photographer.

- The funeral service takes place tomorrow at 1.30pm at St. John's Church, Penhow, followed by cremation at 2.30pm at Gwent Crematorium. Family flowers only, but donations to Mary's Meals and Wateraid may be sent to Tovey Brothers, 9/11 Cardiff Road, Newport, NP20 2EH.