Tribute: Pat Smith
Pat Smith arrived in Wendover in 1965 with husband Ron and two young children Julia, 6 and Graham, 2. The family had moved 9 miles from Chesham looking for a larger family home and had been attracted by the sound of an “unusually designed detached house” in Manor Crescent, which turned out to be a semi-detached house on a corner plot!
It turned out to be a wise choice … as Manor Crescent became the family home for the following 53 years with Clare, Caroline and Stephen arriving in due course and all 5 children going to school in the village.
Pat herself had been born in Small Heath in Birmingham in 1933, the only sister to 3 brothers. The family had Irish connections with her mother having come across from County Clare as a young woman. A keen dancer and cyclist, Pat trained to become a shorthand typist after she left school, joining an insurance company in Birmingham and it was at an inter-company table tennis match that she met Ron Smith, who was the organiser of the London team (and who arranged to be sitting next to her at the after match dinner!). Two years later they were married, living in London and then Chesham before finally settling in Wendover.
Pat threw herself into village life in Wendover and was a valued member of St Anne’s Roman Catholic Church. She was over the years the Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer of the Wendover section of the Catholic Women’s League and Secretary, Treasurer and Vice-President of the Catholic Women’s League’s Northampton branch. As her children grew up she retrained as a legal secretary and spent many happy years working part-time for Francis & Howe Solicitors in Wendover. However, she would perhaps be better known as having started what became Wendover Youth Club and for organising the first discos held in Wendover Memorial Hall. She worked for many years with the local children as a Youth Worker and when her family eventually persuaded her to retire she became a Childminder and helped raise another generation of Wendover youth!
Her family remember a kind and gregarious woman with never a bad word to say about anyone, who was infectiously funny and told some amazing stories. Her only fault being an ability to kill off pets that the family was looking after, with a goldfish and a hamster hastened to an early demise and a school tortoise having run away to avoid the same fate. In her later years Pat was diagnosed with Alzheimers and for the last 6 years of her life she was cared for at home by her husband and family with the support of some wonderful carers from Carewatch. She died on 23 October at Stoke Mandeville Hospital. Pat is already sorely missed by husband Ron and her children and grandchildren.