TRIBUTE has been paid to dedicated foster carer, teacher and talented singer Anita Perks, who died suddenly on November 8, just three days before she was due to collect a county council long service award for foster caring.
Anita was born in Nuneaton and moved to Wisbech with parents Jack and Gwen Lumb when they took over the Angel Inn pub. She trained as a teacher and taught English at the Queen’s School in Wisbech.
After a brief spell as Head of Drama at Marshland High School in West Walton, she returned to the Queen’s School as Head of Drama in 1987. Before retiring in 2004, she was appointed as Head of the Arts Faculty.
She lived in Walpole St Peter and Newton before moving to Eastfield Road, Wisbech in 1983, where she lived until her death.
Anita had her son, Will Kitchener, during her first marriage in 1979 and then went on to become a foster carer when she met James (Jim) Perks, who she married in 1988.
Anita was foster mum and later permanent carer to Lisa Stockdale (nee Munday) who now lives in New Zealand with her husband. She was also mum to Natasha, Marktika and Nadine and grandmother to Lisa’s children, Isabelle and Cameron.
Following Anita’s retirement from teaching in 2004, she worked with disadvantaged and disabled adults at FACET in March, before becoming Head of Education and Training at the Ferry Project (Luminus) in Wisbech.
Will led the tributes to his mother and said: “My mother was blessed with a beautiful singing voice and an enormous capacity to care for others, both of which were equally captivating. She epitomised generosity and was a remarkable friend and mentor to so many, including me. We will all miss her dreadfully.”
Linda Ingram, chief executive at FACET, worked with Anita and said: “She was a larger than life character, never one to blend in with the crowd. Art and drama were really her passion.”
For many years during the 80s and 90s, Anita also ran the Youth Theatre at Wisbech’s Angles Theatre. Michael Burrell, who worked alongside Anita at the theatre, said: “All her students loved her. She was an amazing woman and had extraordinary discipline. When I took my son into my home she said to me that I needed to give him my unconditional love all the time till all my breath was gone.
“That pretty much sums her up, she always gave her unconditional love to people in desperate need.”
She was a gifted singer and well-known for singing the jingle to the Cadbury’s Flake advert in the 1970s.
• Anita’s funeral will take place at Mintlyn Crematorium on Saturday, December 3 at 11.30am. Following this, a Celebration of Anita’s life will be held at the Queen Mary Centre, Wisbech at 2pm. Flowers can be sent to W. Bailey & Son Funeral Directors, Lynn Road, Wisbech and donations, if desired, can be made to the British Heart Foundation or Wood Green Animal Shelter.