THERE was laughter as well as sadness at the funeral at St Cuthbert's church, Darlington, on Monday of Miss Christine Jewsbury, former headmistress of Darlington girls' high school. Her obituary appeared in the D&S Times last week.

The vicar, the Rev Robert Williamson, and the former curate, the Rev Iosif Grosu, both raised sympathetic laughter from the many old girls and former staff present as they decsribed how they had fallen victim to her passion for high standards.

Mr Williamson said that Miss Jewsbury had left clear instructions for her funeral. The bells were to be rung, but not muffled as is usual for funerals; the service should not be solemn and there should be joy.

There was, he said, much to celebrate. Miss Jewsbury had been an outstanding headmistress, a pillar of the community and a long-standing and much-loved member of St Cuthbert's congregation.

She set high standards for herself as well as others and, if she did lose her temper, an abject apology followed. She was also an extremely generous person.

Mr Grosu, who is now at St James's, Hardwick, Stockton, described how Miss Jewsbury had become their "adopted mother" when he arrived in Darlington from Romania.

Seeking advice after preaching his first sermon in English led him to Miss Jewsbury and, from that day until just before she went into hospital a few weeks ago, they met every week to do what Mr Grosu called "our work". On Monday, he was very conscious that his words had not been subjected to her scrutiny.

She had introduced him to the surrounding countryside and was, said Mr Grosu, the first person to show faith in his driving skills, letting him drive her car on their excursions.

Lessons at the funeral were read by Mr Scott Lunn, lay reader at St Cuthbert's, and Mrs Kathleen Bryant, a churchwarden who is also a high school old girl and a former member of staff.

Among the mourners were Mr David Henderson, the head teacher of Hummersknott comprehensive school, which took over the high school buildings, and a group of pupils.

Family mourners were Mrs Lillian Learmonth, sister; Mr and Mrs David Learmonth and Mrs Sarah Calvo Platero, nieces and nephews.