Barbara Priestman died peacefully on 9th January at James Paget University Hospital.
Prior to being afflicted with Parkinson's disease and osteoporosis Barbara was one of the most quietly active and engaged members of the community. Her altruistic work for both the Parish Council as Clerk and Walberswick Common Lands Charity, as Clerk and then Chair, is recognised as fundamental. She was on the Affordable Housing Committee, part of the Village Plan, as well as the Village Hall Committee. Her love of nature and encyclopaedic knowledge of the natural world led her to become the official Common Warden and she established volunteer groups and regular drop-in mornings to keep everyone informed. She spent many happy hours working on conservation of the land that surrounds Walberswick, liaising with land owners and Natural England.
Barbara’s family first came to the village in 1951. She always dreamt of living here permanently, with her dogs, and in 1980 she left her teaching role in Birmingham and moved into what was then a shed on the side of Creek Cottage. In the early days she worked at The Bell but returned to her love of education in 1986 to lead management and teacher training courses at Lowestoft College. She was highly respected as a lecturer by both staff and students.
She retired in 2006 and worked tirelessly for the community until failing health prevented her from being active on The Common or on committees. She always recognised the support she received, in later life, from the village and often expressed gratitude at being able to continue living at the heart of the community, till the end, because of that support.
A full obituary will be posted on the website in due course.
Barbara’s celebration service will be held at St Andrews at 11am on January 29th. No mourning dress or flowers please, but any donations should be made to Suffolk Wildlife Trust.