Tribute: Eileen Staple
Eileen Staple 1926 – 2017
Eileen Staple first came to Wendover in 1972 along with her husband, Alan who had been appointed as the new minister at Wendover Baptist Church which was located in South Street. They settled in a cottage in the Ellesborough Road which was then The Manse, the home of the church’s incumbent. In four previous churches, Eileen supported Alan in his ministry and she continued to do so in Wendover, quickly becoming a much-loved member of the Baptist Church.
Despite her own feelings of inadequacy, she took on the leadership of Women’s Own and several other roles in the church, while continuing her training as State Enrolled Nurse at Stoke Mandeville Hospital. Life was full and, to add to the busyness, her three daughters all married within a few years of each other during the 1970’s.
Eileen and Alan’s home was open to many friends and acquaintances, particularly at times of need or crisis. With Alan’s wise counselling and Eileen’s warm hospitality and kindness, their home had a healing atmosphere. This led to the vision of having a larger home which could accommodate people in need on a regular basis. With the backing of the Baptist church members and other supporters, a house in Hale Road was purchased, refurbished, renamed ‘Dayspring’ (a name taken from older versions of Luke’s gospel, referring to the coming of Jesus to earth).
Essentially a quiet and private person, Eileen worked hard to adapt to this new way of life. Those who visited Dayspring were often strangers (and some very strange!). With the help of friends, she continued to welcome visitors, put them at their ease and provide for them. At the same time, she continued to work part-time as a nurse and care for her frail and elderly mother. There were often times of stress, but Eileen’s quiet Christian faith sustained her. During Alan’s ministry in Wendover, the Baptist Church united with the United Reformed Church to become Wendover Free Church.
After 13 years, Alan and Eileen left Wendover for semi-retirement in Cambridgeshire, then full retirement in Littlehampton and Chesham. Alan died in 1998 and Eileen returned to Wendover to live near her daughter, Christine. She was welcomed back into Wendover Free Church and was asked to take up her former role as leader of Women’s Own which she did for several years.
Due to increasing frailty, Eileen eventually moved to Bankside and initiated the monthly services of worship led by members of Wendover Free Church. As always, her home was a place of welcome and hospitality for those who visited her. She celebrated her 90th birthday with friends and family in April 2016, but soon felt she needed 24-hour care and moved to Chiltern Court Care Home in Aylesbury Road where she was well looked after for the final months of her life.
She will be missed by many in Wendover, even though her life was limited in the last years and she leaves a thriving family network of which she was was the centre.