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DULCIBEL MARY PEAKE, who died on 23 January, aged 104, was the USPG’s longest-serving missionary. She was appointed by the Universities’ Mission to Central Africa as a teacher in 1937.
She spent much of the period from 1938 to 1960 training teachers. Though herself a classicist, she adapted her skills to encourage and develop teachers in village schools in the rural diocese of Masasi. After cycling from village to village in all weathers, she would spend the mornings observing and listening to teachers, and the afternoons and evenings explaining to them how to improve their methods and techniques.
Usually sleeping in the parish church, Mary would attend daily mass, and cycle on to the next village in time for classes. Generations of teachers came under her influence, and she never forgot her old pupils, even when, in later years, she met them as high-ranking government ministers in Dar es Salaam.
In 1960, Bishop Trevor Huddleston thought it was time for her to have a less rigorous existence, and she went to St Joseph’s College, Chidya, where she taught English, managed the estate, and befriended generations of young missionaries, volunteers and participants in the Teachers for Africa scheme.
In 1967, Mary went to St Cyprian’s College, Rondo, to teach New Testament Greek and English, and act as Librarian. When the diocese moved its theological education to Dar es Salaam, Mary went too, and continued as Librarian at St Mark’s until 1994.  In her latter years, Mary was cared for by the Sisters of the Community of St Mary of Nazareth and Calvary (CMM).

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