A much-loved and popular music teacher from Great Corby has died, aged 67. Katherine Hopkins passed away on Saturday, in Eden Valley Hospice, after a short illness.

Katherine was born in Kendal Street, Carlisle, in 1949, the eldest of three daughters to John and Edith Dickman. John was a civil servant at the Ministry of Agriculture, who studied at night to gain professional qualifications as an Official Receiver. At the age of five Katherine and family moved to Sidcup, after her father was appointed to a post within the Board of Trade.

Her mother Edith nurtured her daughter’s interest in music, and from an early age Katherine showed a natural aptitude for the piano.

Katherine attended Bromley High School for Girls, where she became the first girl from the school to win a place at the prestigious Guildhall School of Music. Here she developed a love for music and teaching, and after completing her degree, gained a teaching qualification in York.

On a trip to Bardon Mill to see her aunt, Katherine visited Carlisle and saw a vacancy advertised for Morton Secondary School. Her application was successful and she moved back to Carlisle in 1968.

She was faced with several challenges in her early career, not least of which was her stature: many of her pupils were taller than her! With the support of colleagues and a natural empathy with children, she became an accomplished classroom teacher.

She took a sabbatical from her teaching career after her marriage and the birth of her first child. She devoted herself to raising her family of two boys and a girl, until, in the late 1980s, she was persuaded by Howard Todd, headteacher at Newlaithes Junior School, to take a part-time role in the music department.

After three years she resumed full-time teaching and became head of music. She developed the school’s music capabilities resulting in many successes in the Carlisle School Music Festival.

In 2002 Katherine became a peripatetic teacher with the Carlisle Music Service, specialising in keyboard and recorder.

Throughout her school career she also taught piano and flute privately, and many of her pupils went on to success in examinations, particularly those of ABRSM. She was an inspirational teacher, who brought out the best in her students, many of whom remain close friends.

Katherine inherited her mother’s love of gardening, and wherever she lived, she developed the garden into a space of beauty and tranquility. In later years, she was also a keen allotment holder, firstly at Etterby Lea and latterly at Warwick Mill.

In the little spare time she had, she was also an avid reader, and for some years worked part-time at Bookends together with her mother, where the two could slake their thirsts for literature.

Katherine is survived by her mother Edith, her husband Andy, her children by her first marriage, Ben, Sam and Jenny, and her grandchildren Nayla, Charlotte, Aisling, Lachlan and Thomas.