A LONG-serving PE teacher who was passionate about sports has died aged 71.

Glynis Wheatcroft, who had lived in Wallingford for 40 years, taught hundreds of children during her 22 years working at Cheney School.

The retired mother-of-two was also well-known for her role overseeing competitive school athletics, and managed county athletics teams for decades.

Mrs Wheatcroft died peacefully but unexpectedly on September 24 at the Churchill Hospital, following a sudden cancer relapse.

She was born and grew up in Hertford, with younger sisters Shirley and Yvonne, and moved to Oxfordshire in 1973 to teach at Wallingford School.

It was there that Mrs Wheatcroft, nee Willmett, met her husband Jon, now 67, who taught in the town for more than 30 years.

The pair married in 1977 at Didcot registration office, on a day that the school's staff and pupils had been allowed off for the purposes of Christmas shopping.

Mrs Wheatcroft left Wallingford School in 1978 to have their children Clare and Tom, now aged 40 and 38 respectively.

After a career break she taught at various schools including Carmel College and Didcot Girls' School, before joining Cheney School as head of girls' PE in 1986.

During her time at the Headington secondary school, she also taught maths and oversaw the special educational needs provision, and served in several senior posts including as assistant headteacher.

As Mr Wheatcroft said of his late wife's many roles at the school - "You name it, she did it."

Mrs Wheatcroft was also heavily involved in the transition of Oxford schools from the three-tier to two-tier system, at the turn of the century, which saw middle schools phased out in favour of the primary and secondary school model.

She worked closely with the councils to aid the reorganisation.

Mrs Wheatcroft, who was also a grandmother to six-year-old Alice, left Cheney School to retire in 2008.

She still played an active role in education thereafter as a governor, and was chair of governors at Fir Tree School in Wallingford until last year.

Most people in Oxfordshire will remember Mrs Wheatcroft for her dedication to the county's athletics scene, and she was involved in overseeing track, field and cross-country fixtures.

She managed Oxfordshire school athletics teams for about 30 years and also played a large role in Thames Valley Orienteering, organising events alongside her husband.

Mr and Mrs Wheatcroft travelled the world following the successes of some of the Oxford athletes she had worked with, including Hatti Archer, Hannah England and Nathan Douglas, visiting cities including Helsinki and Moscow in the name of sport.

Mrs Wheatcroft was also a keen gardener and took pride in her plot at Wallingford allotments, even winning an allotment competition in recent years.

Her funeral service will take place at South Oxfordshire Crematorium in Garford on Tuesday, October 15, at 1pm.

The family has requested no flowers but donations can be made if desired to Macmillan Cancer Support, via Howard Chadwick Funeral Service in Crowmarsh.