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Son’s tribute to Pearl Ozanne, much-loved Ellon art teacher, 84

Former Ellon Art Teacher Pearl Ozanne.
Former Ellon Art Teacher Pearl Ozanne.

Artist, mother and former Ellon Academy teacher, Pearl Ozanne, has died aged 84.

16-mile trip to school

The only child of Jimmy and Annie Bremner, Pearl was born in Stonehaven on March 21 1938.

Her father was a gardener and her mother looked after their home while Pearl initially attended Tewel School before moving on to Braes of Gartly Primary.

The family lived wherever her father worked, as their home was tied to his job. For this reason she would also enrol at Banchory-Devenick Primary School.

A young Pearl with her parents, Annie and Jimmy Bremner.

When it was time to move on to secondary school Pearl would have to make a 16-mile round trip every day to attend Banchory Academy.

“Mum went out in the dark and back in the dark. It was a long day for my mum, that’s for sure,” said Paul Ozanne, Pearl’s son. “That went on for six years, made worse by north-east winters.”

Travelling art teacher

A developing interest in art and design saw her move on to Gray’s School of Art in Aberdeen. On graduating she undertook a six-month teacher training course. The two qualifications would set the course of Pearl’s life thereafter.

Popular teacher Pearl Ozanne at the start of her career.

The theme of journeying to school would continue when she started her first job as travelling art teacher. Working two days a week at Mackie Academy in Stonehaven and three days in Banchory, her love of teaching became established.

She married Alex Ozanne on July 21 1961 and in August 1964 Paul was born. Pearl returned to work when Paul celebrated his first birthday.

Ellon Academy

In 1965 Pearl joined the team at Ellon Academy – when the school roll was just 500 pupils.

Following the death of her father, and a later divorce from Alex, Pearl and her mother bought a house together and moved to Ellon in 1970. Grandma Bremner helped with childminding and Pearl continued teaching art and design until her retirement in 2003.

Pearl Ozanne, teacher and artist from Ellon.

“From all the messages I’ve had and all the people who I’ve bumped into, I think my mum was everybody’s teacher. I definitely shared her with half of Ellon,” Paul said.

However, Pearl was also fondly thought of within the staff team.

The organiser of a rambling club, she looked forward to weekly walks in the countryside which usually ended with a hearty meal.

Artist in her own right

Pearl’s artistic flair extended to creative embroidery, so much so that she began exhibiting her work in local exhibitions. This led to her picking up her brushes and a new love of painting emerged. More exhibitions, and a fulfilling time meeting and mingling with other artists, would follow.

She had a great eye for form and colours, painting portraits and landscapes. Pearl would often mix real life with design to creating pieces with an “other-worldly” feel.

Pearl Ozanne, second from left, with one of her paintings which she donated to Grampian Hospitals Art Trust.

Following news of her death Artaboyne posted a tribute to Pearl online, crediting her as one of their founding members.

They said: “It is hard to say goodbye to someone who was special in so many ways.
As an artist Pearl Ozanne was very modest about her work but she has left a lasting legacy of beautiful paintings to remember her by.

“She was also a long-term dedicated and much-loved member of Gray’s Graduates too. She brought fun and enthusiasm to both groups with her bubbly personality.
Pearl will be greatly missed by all who knew her.”

Sorely missed

Although she never remarried she found love and companionship again, with Stanley Clark, now deceased. Together they liked to bag Munros and became a lifeline for one another.

She was also mother-in-law to Paul’s wife Sue, and step-grandmother to Phillip and Emma. Latterly she became a proud great-grandmother to Sue and Paul’s grandkids Ben, Bella and Miles.

Paul Ozanne, his wife Sue and mum Pearl enjoying a festive meal together.

Paul added: “Stanley was like a father figure to me and an absolute lifeline for mum. When he sadly passed away in 2017 she would get up and get the bus into Aberdeen every day to the Sports Village.

“That happened until Covid put a stop to it.”

Sudden loss

Pearl died unexpectedly at home on Saturday November 12.

“We still can’t believe it. She was so fit and healthy. But more than that, I just can’t believe she’s no longer with us. She’s so missed. I just miss my mum.

“It’s a comfort to know the legacy she’s left as a much-loved teacher.”

At her funeral service in Aberdeen Crematorium on Thursday November 24 she was described as a “lively, energetic, talented lady with a wonderful eye for colour… who saw the world with an artist’s eye.”

Her favourite Boy George songs were played as people were encouraged to remember Pearl dancing.

You can read the family’s announcement here.