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

She will be remembered as a person who contributed so much to the village, near Abingdon, 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.

She trained as a primary school teacher and began her career in Plymouth in 1940 – at about the same time the Luftwaffe attacked the city.

The school was closed months later and Mrs Porter spent the remainder of the war teaching at a school in Watford.

In 1951, she was asked by the Seventh-day Adventist organisation to go to Kenya and assess the skills of Kenyan teachers.

She was to spend nearly nine years in Kenya, partly during the Mau Mau insurgencies.

A poisonous snake bit her and her leg was about to be amputated, but she believed the power of prayer intervened and she made a recovery.

Returning to the UK in 1960, she became Dean of Women at the Seventh-day Adventist Newbold College in Berkshire.

It was there she met husband Dennis Porter in August 1962.

He lectured on the faith at Newbold, as well as working at Oxford’s Bodleian Library.

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

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 many projects, including the setting up of low-cost housing, the building of the Appleton Sports Field Pavilion, the formation of the 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, 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.”

Following Mrs Porter’s death on February 8, her funeral service was held in St Laurence Church on February 18, and was jointly administered by Ministers of the Seventh-day Adventists and the Rev Lyn Sapwell, the vicar of Appleton.

The service was attended by more than 175 family, friends and neighbours.

She leaves, Dennis, her husband. The couple had no children.