VERA Porter, a pillar of the community in Appleton, has died aged 89.

She will be remembered as a person who contributed much to the village for more than 40 years.

Mrs Porter spent the first 13 years of her life in Europe, North America, Australia and Shanghai, settling in the UK in 1933.

She completed her schooling at Bath High School.

Aged 16, she went to the Seventh-day Adventist college, Newbold College, near Bracknell, to train as a primary school teacher.

She went to teach at Plymouth in 1940, about the same time as the Luftwaffe attacked the city.

The school was closed months later and she spent the rest of the war teaching at a school in Watford.

Mrs Porter settled down to teaching in the UK until she was asked, in 1951, by the Seventh-day Adventist movement to go to Kenya to assess the teaching skills of Kenyan teachers.

Based at Kamagambo High School, Mrs Porter toured small schools in the area, inspecting the schools and assessing teachers. She spent almost nine years in Kenya, partly during the Mau Mau insurgencies.

She believed the power of prayer was responsible for a miraculous recovery after it was feared she would lose her leg because of a bite from a poisonous snake.

Returning to the UK in 1960, she became Dean of Women at Newbold College, which had moved to Binfield, Berkshire.

It was there she met Dennis Porter, whom she married in August 1962.

His family had belonged to the Seventh-day Adventist faith since 1899 and, with a degree in history, he lectured on the subject to Newbold students as well as working at Oxford’s Bodleian Library.

After their marriage, they settled at Yarnton, before moving to Appleton in 1968.

Approached by parish councillors Rosemary Dick and Molly Rose in 1970 to take on the role of parish clerk, Mrs Porter began her work for the community. She was parish clerk in 1970, becoming a councillor in 1987 and chairing the council from 1989 until 1996, finally leaving the council in 2002 at the age of 82.

She was involved in so many projects — the development of low-cost housing, the building of the Appleton sports field pavilion, the formation of Appleton and Eaton Tennis Club, the creation of the Appleton Community Shop, and the master-minding of The Parish Record, celebrating 100 years of the parish council (1894 to 1994).

Margaret Reading, who succeeded Mrs Porter as chairman of the parish council in 1992, said: “Vera was an inspiration to us all. Tall, elegant, kind and caring, conscientious and encouraging, Vera always had time for people — she loved Appleton and we all loved Vera.

“Her sense of humour, quietly expressed and often understated, was lovely “She will be sadly missed and we all share our grief with Dennis, who has looked after her so marvellously over the last few challenging years.”

Following Mrs Porter’s death on February 8, her funeral was held in St Laurence church on February 18, and was jointly led by Seventh-day Adventist ministers and Rev Lyn Sapwell, the vicar of Appleton.

The service was attended by more than 175 family, friends and neighbours. She leaves Dennis, her husband.