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Neighbourhood > Guest Character Profiles > Jean Richards Margot Knight

Jean Richards 1986
Marital Status: Jeff Richards
Occupation: Business Studies Teacher
Died: 1986

When some of the Erinsborough locals decided to take some classes in business studies, they were disappointed to find that they’d been completely booked up almost immediately. Never one to miss out on a chance to make money, Clive Gibbons contacted an old friend, Jean Richards, who agreed to run a series of sessions for his friends. Tom Ramsay, however, thought that the idea of adult education was ludicrous and was about to tell Jean as much, until he saw her and developed a crush straight away. He decided that he should probably attend the classes, just to see what they were like, and he proceeded to make a fool of himself in an attempt to impress Jean.

Despite becoming friends with many of the Ramsay Street residents, Jean remained coy about her own personal situation, with Clive being the only person who knew the truth. When Tom's sister, Madge Mitchell was visiting Zoe Davis at the hospital, she bumped into her teacher and a nurse mentioned that Jean had been visiting almost everyday for the past 12 years. Tom’s attempts to get close to Jean culminated in them going out for dinner together, but she refused to talk about her life and clammed up when Tom mentioned his time serving during the Vietnam war. As she pushed him further and further away, Tom felt embarrassed and Clive tried to convince Jean to be honest about what was really going on. Managing to get the pair of them together at his house, Clive left Jean to explain the truth – her husband, Jeff, had been left a quadroplegic after the war and she’d been visiting him everyday since.

During their next meeting, Jean offered to take Tom to visit Jeff. Although wary about the situation, he agreed to go and the three of them had an awkward few moments in Jeff’s hospital room, before Tom quickly left to get a hot drink. With Tom gone, Jeff told Jean that he could see the feelings they had for each other and she deserved to be happy and should leave him and spend her life with Tom. Jean was hurt by this outburst and told Tom that they should stop spending time together, with Des and Daphne’s wedding being their final day out together.

On the big day, Jean arrived and spent a happy day with Tom, before he accompanied her back to Ramsay Street. Before attending the reception, he took her to the Ramsay house and told her he loved her. Jean told him that there could never be anything between them, and Tom gave her a gift – a medal for bravery that he’d been awarded following the war. He told her that sticking by Jeff for all these years was the bravest thing he’d ever seen. At the reception, Jean promised to continue taking the business classes with the locals. Shane Ramsay then offered to give her a lift home, as he was one of the few people who hadn’t been drinking during the wedding reception. On the way, as she was clutching the medal, one of the tyres suddenly blew, causing the car to swerve and crash. As Shane came around, he went to check on Jean, but realised that she had died.

Notes: Margot Knight returned to Neighbours in 1996 as social worker Tracey Cox. Margot also worked as a writer on the series.

Biography by Steve



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