Marjorie died peacefully on 6th February 2020 aged 93 in Priory Paddocks, Darsham.
Marjorie was born in Chester in 1926, the fourth child in a family of six children. She loved walking to the County Grammar School across the Old Dee Bridge, polishing the marble in Chester Cathedral with the Girl Guides and paddling on the River Dee with the Sea Rangers. She was school hockey captain, taking particular pride in a 12-0 win over the local convent school. She was told by the groundsman that she could run faster than any of her sporty brothers.
Marjorie trained as a nurse at Middlesex Hospital. Marjorie loved her time as a nurse. In the immediate post-war period, the Middlesex was thriving. The nurses were led by a charismatic matron, Marjorie Marriott, who later became President of the Royal College of Nursing. There was a new nurses’ home whose excellent facilities included constant hot water, a delightful chapel and a swimming pool. By the time she married, Marjorie had completed eight years. She was a State Registered Nurse, a State Registered Fever Nurse and a midwife.
Marjorie first went to London from Chester with her friend, Barbara,in 1944. She had a £5 note tucked inside a Bible, given to her by her mother at the station. It was quite a shock for these young provincial girls to experience wartime London with the new danger of doodlebugs. Marjorie and Barbara visited Barbara’s Aunt Elsie in Ealing. Elsie was also Aunt to Peter and Elsie had the idea that Marjorie might be just what her favourite nephew needed. Peter and Marjorie were married in November 1952. Marjorie left nursing to become a full-time wife. They lived first in Oldham, where Peter secured his first job as an economist at textile manufacturer Platt Brothers. As they later said: no money, no worries, no nappies.
Helen was born in 1956 and Rachel in 1958. The family moved briefly to Sutton Coldfield and in 1961 settled in Cheam in Surrey. Mothering came easily to Marjorie. She was always there for Helen and Rachel, never demanding, always loving, accepting and supportive of their choices, at school and play. Every morning they went off to school after a cooked breakfast and arrived home to Marjorie’s exquisite jam tarts. Her pastry, thanks to her cold hands, as she would say, was second to none.
In about 1960 Marjorie was proud to start work with the Family Planning Association (whose slogan was ‘Children by Choice, not by Chance’, and was incorporated into the NHS in 1967). She worked for the FPA three half days each week for over 20 years. It was hands-on, practical counselling and advice, not just on contraception, but on all aspects of relationships between young and not so young people, whether married or not. She loved the company of young people and, with two teenage daughters, was particularly passionate about her work with young women at youth advisory clinics.
Marjorie’s first connection with Walberswick was through her close Middlesex nursing friend, Heather Block, who was born and brought up in the village and whose family lived on The Green for generations. On retirement in 1984, Marjorie and Peter came to live in Leveretts Lane. Marjorie continued to be a superb home-maker and a wonderfully supportive mother and grandmother. She and Peter were enthusiastic supporters of many village activities, including programme planning for the WEA (the Workers’ Educational Association), hosting NADFAS (National Association of Decorative and Fine Arts Societies) speakers, and dressing up in fancy dress at any opportunity. Their hospitality was legendary. Friends, newcomers, family, carol singers... everyone would be given an enthusiastic welcome, with a trademark G-P cocktail and canapés. They travelled extensively, very often to France, but also to India, Sri Lanka, the Middle East, Northern Cyprus and Turkey. They also enjoyed their trips to visit family in London, never leaving home without flowers from the garden, a roast chicken and fairy cakes in the boot!
It is impossible to date the beginnings of Marjorie’s dementia. Perhaps because Peter was always so loving and protective of her, her illness only gradually became apparent.By the time he died in 2011, Marjorie was already very diminished. She managed at home at first with the regular care and companionship of Edith List and latterly with full-time, live-in care. In October 2015 she moved to Priory Paddocks Care Home in Darsham. For her age, she was physically well and mobile, and fortunately, her warm and smiley demeanour shone through. However, in a long and unpredictable process, her mind and body gradually shut down. The care she was given was as professional, sensitive and compassionate as that which she had given others throughout her life and the end, when it came, was peaceful.