In these times of Coronavirus when it has not always been possible for us to hold a funeral in church, or the number attending have been limited, we’ve used this page to help us remember people who have been part of the church community and have died.
Peter was born on 30 November 1933. His dad was Ernest, an accountant who worked in the City, and his mum was Gladys – but was called Dot because she was so tiny. He was born in Leytonstone in London and spent his very early years there – but when war started in 1939, his dad sold up and moved the family to Swanage. This proved to be a very good move, as the old family house was subsequently completely destroyed in an air-raid. However, Swanage was not without its moments, including when a German Stuker on the way back from a mission dropped 3 bombs on the village and dive bombed the main street and strafed it with bullets. Peter dived into a shop front to save himself. From Swanage, the family moved to Pitsea in Essex. On another occasion, the Germans were dropping Doodlebugs on London. One landed not far from the house where they lived in in Pitsea whilst he was in the bedroom with his mother. He dived under the covers and his mother’s glasses were shattered by the blast. Peter went to Pitsea Junior School – which was where he and Barbara first met. He then went on to Palmers Grammar School. During this period Barbara and Peter remained friends through the local Sunday School and Youth Club. Romance blossomed and they were married on 15 June 1957. Peter had, by this time, completed his National Service – in the RAF, stationed at a place called Middle Wallop, but not without breaking his nose in an ill-fated round of boxing. His nose never really recovered! He followed his father and embarked on a career in accountancy – studying for his exams by correspondence course. He worked for a number of companies before settling down at Ilford – the photographic materials manufacturer. Peter and Barbara built their own house at Bowers Gifford in Essex and were very happy there for over ten years, during which time their three sons Paul, Martin and Simon were born. They always wanted a daughter but decided to give up after 3 boys! Then came the opportunity to make a big move – Ilford were opening a new factory in Mobberley, Cheshire and needed an accountant for the site. Peter decided to take a chance and the family moved to Knutsford. And as it turned out, it was a very good move indeed – because it wasn’t long before the Ilford site back in Essex was closed and sold. Peter and Barbara lived in Knutsford for 42 years – and were very happy there. They were active members of the Methodist Church. Peter held a number of positions, but probably his greatest contribution was the establishment and development of the Christian Aid collection – which eventually covered the whole town and raised many thousands of pounds over the years. Peter had a number of hobbies and interests. He followed in the family tradition of being a lifelong supporter of West Ham United – something that he was keen to pass on to his sons and grandchildren. When they moved to Knutsford, Peter and Barbara became great friends with Ray and Doris Thomas – and were introduced to walking – this was the beginning was lifelong love of the countryside, and many adventures as they explored it. Peter also enjoyed playing cards and board games, and especially MahJongg after a good Christmas lunch with a glass of ginger wine to hand. Peter was also keen on amateur dramatics – this was something that came about through church. There were two particular highlights to his acting career – first when the Christmas Day service at Knutsford was broadcast by the BBC and Peter was a part of the nativity play – and second when he played the devil – with horns and tail made by Barbara!! In their later years Barbara and Peter enjoyed travelling, visiting family in the USA, Zimbabwe and Canada, and a 70th birthday treat for Peter to New Zealand. Eight years ago, Peter and Barbara decided to move to Arnside to be closer to family. They immediately became part of the church community here – and also part of the village – becoming especially well-known in the cafés! I asked the family what words they would use to describe Peter. Barbara immediately said that he was a very gentle person – a true gentleman. He was considered, thoughtful and reserved. But he also had a great sense of humour with a fondness for bad puns! Given his career in accountancy, it’s not surprising that he paid great attention to detail – he always wanted to be accurate about whatever he was talking about. Paul remarked that his Dad had a steadfast nature – there was no song and dance, he just quietly did what he said he’d do – you could rely on him. Martin commented on his generous spirit, he was always inclined to think the best of you. I want to leave the final tribute to Barbara: “People say that life is an adventure – and it certainly was for us.”
Alice was born in Springburn, Glasgow, to Florence Edwards and Joseph Sloan McGifford on 9th November 1933 at 11.50pm. Alice was one of five children; she had two brothers and two sisters. Life was hard in those days, her father was a steel smelter, and money was tight. Alice remembers going with her mother, sisters and brothers to get shoes from the ‘poor relief’. The shoes didn’t fit properly and you had no choice about colour or style, you were just grateful that you had a pair of shoes. Carol thinks that is why she just loved shoes, clothes and handbags! Alice’s mum Florence was an excellent seamstress and skilfully re-worked old clothes into masterfully created new clothes for her family. She was really talented and Alice inherited those skills. Alice was the first of her family to go onto further education, her family was especially of this, although Alice was far more modest. She qualified as a Senior Registered Nurse on 31st October 1952, and she worked in both Victoria Royal Infirmary in Glasgow and Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. It was during her nursing duties that she met Jim (James Law Leith). Jim had been riding pillion on a motorbike, ridden by Alice’s brother, and had an accident which meant that Jim ended up in hospital on the ward where Alice was on duty. A t that time, Alice had thick, luxurious, wavy auburn hair; Jim nicknamed Alice ‘Bronze’. ‘Bronze’ was his favourite nurse ever! Alice and Jim were married on 6th November 1954 and they set up home in Dundee. Jim continued to affectionately call Alice ‘Bronze’ for the rest of their lives together. On 10th December 1958 their daughter Carol was born – almost on Jim’s birthday, 7th December (same date as today!). Alice and Jim worked hard all of their lives to provide the best they possibly could for their family, striving to provide all of the opportunities that they didn’t have. At that time Jim worked for the Goodyear rubber company and Alice recalls pushing a great big pram into the company van. No seat belts, harnesses or restraints, just baby reined into the pram with its brakes on and Alice sitting on an ‘orange box’ for a seat whilst Jim drove the van for a day out – what a treat! Jim then worked for ICI paints and this took the family to Wideopen near Gosforth, about 10miles north of Newcastle. On 19thJanuary, 1963, along came a baby boy, Stuart. The family then moved to their first house, a brand new build in Penshaw, near Sunderland. Jim began a new job at ‘The Autoport’ in Sunderland. They had wonderful neighbours Joyce and Joe Hope and their son Kevin. Good times were had at 36 Carlisle Crescent! Once Stuart had reached school age, Alice returned to work, this time as a school nurse. Family always came first with Alice and Jim and any job that Alice was to do had to fit in with the children. She then went on to become a teaching assistant, a job she loved. Her qualities of patience, empathy and understanding made her an invaluable member of staff at Penshaw Infant and Junior School. Alice and Jim, however, missed Scotland. So Jim found another position with a car dealership, and Alice worked as a librarian in Aberdeen where they lived very happily up until both Carol and Stuart completed their education. Aberdeen at that time had a thriving oil economy and property was booming. This was just as well, as Jim was made redundant, just as Carol had met her husband to be. Alice and Jim had no problem selling their property and Jim, as resilient and determined as ever, found a new job as Managing Director of the Renault Manchester Dealership. This career move saw Alice and Jim set up home in Wilmslow. Alice worked as a doctors receptionist and then as a playgroup leader. Alice and Jim then became Grandparents when Alister was born to parents, Carol & Les, in 1988. At this point, Jim became unwell, work was very stressful and increasingly Alice and Jim would find themselves coming to Arnside for the weekend to stay with Carol & Les to relax and unwind. They both fell in love with Arnside and decided to buy a house and retire. A second grandchild arrived, Isobel in 1990. They involved themselves fully with their family in Arnside and in Aberdeen. Visiting Stuart & Shona in school holidays and looking after Alister and Isobel whilst Carol and Les worked. Alice and Jim were thrilled and they had a further 6 years together enjoying living in Arnside and visiting family before sadly Jim passed away in December 1996. Brodie was born to Stuart & Shona in 2000, a Millenium baby! Alice was delighted to have another grandchild and we know that Jim was smiling down at his family. Alice continued to be ‘back up’ crew whenever needed – helping to make costumes for school plays, helping Isobel to fund raise for the Arnside Guides, being part of ‘Team Hirst’ when Alister was involved in competition skiing. Alice loved her family and would always be there when needed, they all loved her so much. Alice was always up for an adventure and willing to try new things. She played bowls, learnt how to swim – having taken the grandchildren to swimming lessons, this spurred her to learn. Then she joined the aquarobic group in Silverdale having overcome her fear of water. She developed her artistic talent and joined a local painting group. She joined a Tai Chi group and latterly went to the seated exercise class every week. Alice made many new friends through all of these interests. Alice was widowed for almost 24 years, a long time. The Church has always played a special part of both Alice and Jim’s lives and their faith has helped Alice weather the difficult times. For the family, knowing that Alice’s faith was strong, helped everyone during the dark days. Alice was truly grateful for everything she has been blessed with in her life. This last year has been a struggle with the insidious disease of cancer but Alice’s resilience and determination to keep positive was brave and courageous. Alice had her 87th Birthday on 9th November and thankfully had a ‘good’ day, just 6 days before she passed away. Sue Gardner’s regular calls as part of her pastoral duties meant such a lot to Alice and the family. The kindness and support of church members, her special friends and others has been touching and we know Alice dearly valued all of their friendship and support.
Janet was born in Belfast on 31 March 1940 to Robert, (Bob) and Margaret (Peggy) Tate. She had three younger siblings: sister Anne and brothers Roy and George. After leaving school Janet first worked in a pharmacy, then joined the Women’s Royal Air Force in 1957 at the age of 17. You will see on the back of the order of service a photograph of Janet looking very proud in her uniform. It was a professional photograph taken for recruitment publicity. She did her basic training at RAF Wilmslow in Cheshire, subsequent to which, she was posted to Aldergrove near Belfast, where she met and married George Warren, the father of Martin born in October 1959 and Christopher born in December 1962. All of her family – mum, dad, and three siblings – emigrated to Australia in December 1958. Whilst Janet remained here. George Warren was in the RAF and so she moved with him on his postings to South Cerney, (Gloucestershire), Swinderby, (near Newark), Tern Hill (Shropshire), Odiham, (Hampshire) and then to Manston. (on the Kent coast). The significance of Manston is that it is where Janet met Rip. To be quite clear, there is no impropriety here! George Warren and Rip Pearson were friends and colleagues, both Search and Rescue Helicopter pilots on 22 Squadron D flight. Their families socialised. After Manston, Janet and her family moved to Farnham in Hampshire, (where George Warren qualified as a test pilot) and then to Upavon in Wiltshire. In the late 60’s, Janet’s marriage to George broke down and they separated. Janet had to go out to work to make ends meet. She studied for and passed civil service exams and worked in the administration section at RAF Upavon, but after a short time, was persuaded by her family to join them in Australia. So, in April 1971 Janet, Martin and Christopher flew out to Newcastle, New South Wales in Australia. Not a straightforward journey in those days; the flight out in an RAF transport aircraft entailed refuelling stop overs at Cyprus, Bahrain, Gan, (an island in the Indian ocean) and Singapore. In Australia, Janet lived with her parents, her brother George, her sister Anne and Anne’s young family. She found work in the civil service. However, she decided before long that life in Australia was not for her and her boys. She booked a return passage to the UK on a passenger ship in October 1971. The return journey was a great adventure for the boys: Janet was seasick for 5 weeks, (as she was whenever on water, even on the Norfolk Broads). Martin and Christopher, then aged 8 and 12, have fond memories of having the run of the ship to do as they pleased, calling in on Auckland, Tahiti, Panama and Lisbon. Unfortunately, on her return to her UK after circumnavigating the world, Janet had nowhere to go and so began a bleak period in her life. Her boys had to join their father who by then, was living in Norfolk. He put the boys into boarding schools. Janet sofa surfed, (as they say these days) from friend to friend for a short while. She found employment as a “Lady’s Companion” in the middle of nowhere, near Stalham in Norfolk, where her boys were able to join her for the February half term week. That employment came to an end and Janet found herself unemployed, living over the Easter holidays with no money, in a bed sit with the boys. They were tough times. Things began to improve slightly, when Janet secured employment to start at the end of the Easter holidays, as a matron at Martin’s boarding school, Wymondham, College. The job came with accommodation. Janet worked there as a matron for 7 years, where she was much loved by the children she cared for. During this time, Rip came back into her life. By a remarkable coincidence, Rip was flying helicopters out to the oil and gas rigs from Great Yarmouth, living in a near by village. One day, they passed each other on the stairs in Marks and Spencer in Norwich. Janet called out, “Rip Pearson” as he passed: as Rip would say, “not just any meeting, an M&S meeting”. Both their circumstances had changed since the 1960’s. Janet’s life improved immeasurably from this point onwards thanks, say Martin and Christopher, to Rip. An enduring feature of the lives of Janet and Rip has been wonderful regular camping holidays in the Brecon Beacons with life long and dear farming friends, the Powel Family, the elder of which really was named Baden Powel. In 1979 Janet moved schools to continue as a matron for one year at Christopher’s former school, Eccles Hall. She then worked for a while as an optician’s assistant, before finally retiring in 1983. In 1992 Rip retired from Bristow Helicopters. He and Janet moved together to Arnside, where Rip had been born and had grown up. They renovated and moved into Alderley House, (a property left to Rip by his late father) where they have lived happily together for the last 27 years. Although, there was a moment – in 1999 – when Janet and Rip spent a fabulous 3 months in Australia visiting her family, loving it so much they seriously planned to emigrate, only to be dissuaded by sobbing grandchildren Ben and Ellie Warren, distraught that they thought they would never see their Grandma again. Janet and Rip married on 8 April 2000. Whilst living in Arnside they both pursued a range of interests – and also spent a lot of time travelling further afield to spend time with friends and family – especially to France, the Channel Islands, and of course Norfolk and Suffolk.