LEATHERHEAD PARISH CHURCH

Alison Wright
8 Nov 1942-14 Oct 2021

Horace Wright CBE MC MM 1916-2000

 Service of Celebration
of the Life of

Alison Wright

8th November 1942 - 14th October 2021
Thursday 4th November 2021 at 2.30 pm
St. Mary & St. Nicholas, Leatherhead

Conducted by Canon David Eaton
past Vicar of Leatherhead

The full recording of Alison’s Memorial Service is now available please click here
It has been made possible thanks to John Swanson, Churchwarden:
'Although the quality is a bit dodgy in places it is still a
worthwhile way of revisiting Alison's service'.

This page is based on the texts provided, amended where
possible from the recording to what was actually delivered.
If you wish to use them, music links have been provided
(you may need to skip advertising)
though you may prefer to listen to the actual recording.

Order of Service


Alison's life was celebrated in a packed Leatherhead Parish Church,
the doors left open and our masks little daunting the heart we put into our singing.

MUSIC

It Is Well, It Is Well With My Soul

WELCOME AND OPENING PRAYER

Canon David Eaton:

May I warmly welcome you this afternoon's service. We have come together to remember Alison  with much love and thanksgiving.

There are some introductory sentences.

We meet in the name of Jesus Christ who died and  was raised to the glory of God the Father. May grace and mercy be with you.

We look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen; for the things that are seen are transient but the things that are unseen are eternal. 

Today we come together  to remember before God Catherine Alison Wright, to give thanks for her life and to comfort one another in our grief. Father in heaven we praise your name for all who have finished this life, loving and trusting in you. For the example of their lives, the life and grace you gave them and the peace within which they rest.

We pray to you today for your servant Alison and for all that you did through her.

Meet us in our sadness and fill our hearts with praise and thanksgiving for the sake of our risen Lord Jesus Christ. Amen

I think you will know that we are now singing in church but with masks, for all the obvious reasons. With that constraint may I ask you to sing lustily, with all your might.

HYMN - CWM RHONDDA

Guide me, O thou great Redeemer,
pilgrim through this barren land;
I am weak, but thou art mighty;
hold me with thy powerful hand:
bread of heaven, bread of heaven,
feed me now and evermore,
feed me now and evermore.

Open now the crystal fountain,
whence the healing stream doth flow;
let the fire and cloudy pillar
lead me all my journey through:
strong deliverer, strong deliverer,
be thou still my strength and shield;
be thou still my strength and shield.

When I tread the verge of Jordan,
bid my anxious fears subside;
death of death, and hell's destruction,
land me safe on Canaan's side:
songs of praises, songs of praises,
I will ever give to thee,
I will ever give to thee.

BIBLE READING

Read by Amanda Smith
Matthew 5: 1-12

Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down.
His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them. He said:

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.

Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.    


Some of the family flowers

TRIBUTE
David Gordon

I’m going to tell you what a few other people have said about Mum and then I’m going to tell you what I think about her.

I think the most telling statement about Mum is the sheer volume of people who’ve been genuinely and deeply upset by her passing. 

We’ve received dozens and dozens of heartfelt letters with an outpouring of love and affection.  Here are just some random phrases:

The kindest person I ever met. 
She was a collector of people who loved her dearly. 
Alison was good with animals and good with people.  Kind and generous and fun to be with. 
A very special person; lively, entertaining and very knowledgeable. 
I really lost a beautiful, kind, pure-hearted person, I will never meet anyone like her. 

You get the message.

I know I’m biased but this is a very special person we’re here for.

Perhaps it’s my failing that I never stopped to think about this, but ALL of Mum’s many activities had ONE common thread running through them: they all involved helping other people. 

All the committees she sat on, the Hospital Taxi Service, the Geology lectures, the Poppy Appeal, all the work with Prideaux House in Hackney, the two minibuses she owned at one point, were ALL about making other people’s lives better.  And there’s so much more.

I know Chris is going to talk more about these things, but Mum was a catalyst, she made stuff happen and it was always about helping other people.

This general attitude is reflected in the letters we received. The word kindness comes up pretty much in every letter. But it wasn’t just kindness.  Mum also had a real joie de vivre and as far as I’m concerned, a delicious attitude towards raising children (which is just as well).

Mum liked to let things flow, didn’t make a fuss about a scraped knee. Honourable Scars she called them. The question she asked herself was ‘is it going to kill or maim? If not, screw it, let it happen’.  I love her so much for that and I’m more grateful than words can say, it’s shaped my life.

Of course you won’t find her now-famous method of  ‘teaching a child to swim’ in any coaching manual ... the idea of just throwing them in at the deep end seemed so … passively benign to Mum. Well, I won't go into details - and no-one drowned.

Then, of course there was the famous day of the Pompeii exhibition in the 70s when she took five young children to London and came back with three.  My earliest memory of the London Underground is standing at the top of a massive long escalator trying to persuade my Mother not to slide down the central reservation to go and find them!

Life did throw some curve balls but everything she did had a sense of fun and joie de vivre about it.  Mum dedicated several years of her life to looking after my Gran [Mary Morgan-Owen]; I wonder how many other 100 year olds go on holiday in an old motor-home?  Racing over level crossings as the barriers came down - during mealtime. 

As a pensioner, in winters, when it was icy and dangerous on the roads, Mum used to go to deserted car parks, whizzing around doing handbrake turns and even donuts.  Which various elderly passengers apparently found very exciting.  My life has been so much better with this constant infusion of positive energy. She was made of the right stuff.

Throughout her life, Mum was always very active; she sprinted for Scottish Universities, she had trials for Wales at hockey and following in the footsteps of her grandfather, a founder of Bull Bay Golf Club, she was very useful on a golf course.  In later years she was also Surrey’s oldest shepherdess.  She was very good at it, too.

But in all of her activities and daily life, there was this sense of fun.  But above all, love and kindness.  And that’s Mum’s special gift to Mike and I. 

We never had to think about it because it was always there, throughout our lives.  And her injection of vitality and urgency, to live life to the full, to make the most of this amazing gift of life.  Her favourite lesson to me, that I always hold dear, she got from one of the French philosophers, who said “Life is like sand falling between your fingers, you must hold on”  “Attendez” (I guess he said it in French).  That’s what she always used to say; “Attendez!”

I think life hasn’t always been easy for Mum, but the lessons she taught me and the love she unfailingly bestowed on Mike and I have been such a gift.  I’m so proud of her.

Anyone who spoke with Mum recently will know that she very quickly came to terms with her fate, she was ready and prepared to ‘get to the party’ as she put it.  While our world has just become a little duller and less jolly, but perhaps more on time, the hidden party around us will now be in full swing with her arrival.  My own heartbreak is tempered by the thought that whilst Mum used to be with me only sometimes, now she’s with me all the time. 

We will always love her and will always be so grateful to have had her as our Mother.

MUSIC

Suo Gan - traditional Welsh Lullaby
Played by Hedley Kay

                            David Eaton explained that it had been Hedley's dearest wish to be present to play this
but he had just tested positive for COVID. He might well be looking in.
Nothing daunted we were and are nevertheless
able to see and hear Hedley playing, thanks to technology.

Please click here for Hedley's recording. It starts at 18:40 

TRIBUTE
Christopher Hodson

Michael, David and I have been delighted with the letters and cards with their attention to the lovely, intelligent and generous aspects of Alison's life, but this is not a life history.  More a peep into what she was up to that made so many of us amazed and delighted by her presence, her warmth and her friendships.

The Alison we all knew and loved arrived in Leatherhead in 1968.  My wife Marilyn was the first person to knock on the door and they hit it off immediately. Marilyn had become the editor of The Rock, the Roman Catholic Parish Magazine and Alison helped with the editorial and printing of it.

Very soon Alison became an enthusiastic member of the Cross Keys, a four-sided social club of United Reformed, Methodists, Anglicans and Catholics.  Her active life kept her fit by cycling everywhere in the area. 

However in her early days as a mother, her life was blighted by epileptic fits. These caused considerable trouble for quite a while and prevented her from having a licence to drive cars.  By better medical care over the next few years, her fits were gradually mastered by two sympathetic specialists at Epsom and changes in the law.  From there on, her driving life was transformed and played a big part in many new activities.

As soon as she was free to drive, she said “I must do this the proper way” and she went to the Institute of Advanced Motorists in Guildford for proper tuition.  This was perfect for her.  No sooner had she passed their Advisor Test than she was invited to train as an Instructor in Guildford and was constantly on hand for many years.

Two years ago she was offered the Vice Presidency but that would have denied her the chance to help others as a trainer, so she didn’t accept it.

For many years she ran a camping van in which her mother enjoyed trips. She also ran a Daihatsu Terrier - very useful for later assisting Amanda [with the sheep].

Purchasing a minibus was an important step towards helping others. Many trips were to take British Legion members out for enjoyable trips. She was still subject to epileptic fits but she recruited drivers and assisted drivers to be trained and let them take groups. One such was for the transport for other guests to go to the wedding of my son and daughter-in-law in Waterloo in Belgium - they are here today with their children.

She regularly loaned it to groups of trainees for the priesthood to visit the battlefields of Northern France and Belgium and never charged to make a profit.

She organised luncheon trips for those in the area to go to pubs and other places in Surrey and Sussex and from her early days in Bookham she assisted groups of former servicemen in the British Legion. Years later she took over the Poppy Day collections in Bookham and Fetcham. 

Her skill with motoring made her a natural to help with the Leatherhead & Fetcham Voluntary Car Service of lifts to each of our local hospitals.  She negotiated with the company holding the parking fee collection franchise.  She did many trips for those in need and spent much time allocating lifts for others on a rota of four.

These are just some of her public life aspects.  A big one was on the horizon, Hackney.

In the mid 1980s, our then Vicar, the Rev Sandy Morris, received a letter from the Rev Gualter de Mello explaining the needs of Hackney and asking for his help with the poor and the immigrants in that Borough which Gualter was working on at Prideaux House.  Friends of Alison, including Shuja Shaik, former mayor of Hackney were hoping to be here today but have been prevented by the effects of COVID. 

Much ‘stuff’ was easily found in Leatherhead and taken to support the charity, which had a shop for second hand goods in Hackney.  Horace almost immediately bought a small van to simplify this new connection with Hackney.  Needless to say, Alison was in her element and became a regular friend to the charity run by Gualter. Many friends were made and were kept with the work of the charity for many years. 

Suffice to say that the friendships led to a delighted Alison visiting Montserrat in the West Indies with some of the survivors from the loss of their island, from Hackney 10 years after the volcanic eruption.

What escapes from duty did she have?

  • the biggest one was sheep care and training her border collies to learn the sheepdog practice, under the tutelage of Amanda Smith, who did the first reading.  Amanda’s good teaching was rewarded by years of help and fun in having another family as Alison was able to enjoy being a local surrogate grandma to Luke and Ryan, who are here today.


    the sheep wreath was four times bigger than expected
    - just the thing to have delighted Alison
      
  • another escape was Geology.   First of all she attended a course in Dorking, then she joined the Mole Valley Geological Society. She didn’t have a geology degree but was to become the nominal Vice President (Catering) (where I was to become her sub) until COVID 19.  It was the nearest thing to fun where we worked together preparing refreshments for 40-70 people!
     
  • Bridge.  Later in her life, she very much enjoyed renewing her bridge playing with members of the U3A in Dorking.  Several of her friends are with us today.
     
  • Beading. She joined the Wholly Beaders here in the parish though it was for the company, as her eyesight wouldn’t allow her to bead.
     
  • Racing. Yes, she had accounts with two firms of bookies and loved racing with the help of excellent tipsters for many years. One firm of bookies even closed her account as she was so successful. When she eventually ran out of the winnings she had piled up, she stopped betting altogether immediately, saying “I’m only continuing if I lose THEIR money.  Not mine.”
     
  • She re-founded the parish magazine as the email based Leatherhead Parish Bulletin, a role now taken on by Frank Haslam, our tech wizard.
     
  • She became such a friend of Helena Hill (Anthony Hill's wife)  that she risked just one year of her life sharing with Helena the Churchwardenship of this parish.

What I also know about is the personal kindness she showed to others she found in need. Their positions are private but it has made me very proud to be able to see what she did or planned to do.  She frequently helped people financially whenever she saw a need.  No wonder so many people have written to speak of her kindness. 

She was so pleasant to meet, with such a beautiful smile.


As Alison began to use the expression about catching a train to join the Lord, she often remembered how when Horace died, Chris Stagg had said “yes, and he sent a Pullman.” 

We can enjoy it now and thank the Lord for a life which made other lives happier and more enjoyable.

READING
A letter to you
Read by Linda Gordon.

This is a letter written by her son Michael to Alison in early August this year and is read by Michael's wife Linda.

Dear Mam,

Thank you for giving me the time and the opportunity to write this letter to you, something Linda bitterly regrets not having the chance to do with her Dad.
Sorry it has taken this long to feel the need to do so.

Thank you for not ringing me in the car the other day. You were so wise to trust Linda to pass on your news, bless her.
Sorry for getting cross at you for not ringing back - Your ears must have been burning!

Thank you for all you have done for me, from bringing me into the world, to giving me the space to make my own way in it.
Sorry I have never really said "Thank You" properly until now.

Thank you for the music, the songs I'm singing.
Sorry, I really cannot sing!!

Thank you for making me independent.
Sorry I moved so far away (especially at times like this!)

Thank you for asking me to make a speech at your 70th birthday party. Sorry I took the Mickey so much (with hindsight there was no need to mention Jimmy Saville, although I was proud of the marriage counsellor/divorce gag).

Thank you for not losing me at Oxford Circus that day. Sorry for reminding Leatherhead of those less fortunate who were "misplaced" at your party 35 years later.

Thank you for cherishing all of my children, whether they call you Granny or Aunty Alison.

Thank you for seeing how much I love Linda, and the life we have made together in beautiful North Northumberland.
Sorry you couldn't have come and seen more of what we have done to the place.

Thank you for not opening that letter from Durham Constabulary.
Sorry I had to give them my home address!

Thank you for the time we spent together recently, firstly in the Cotswolds and then at David's Houseboat/Treehouse rehearsal in Richmond.
Sorry those days could not last longer.

Thank you for not asking me to read this at your funeral.
Sorry, but I really don't think I could finish it.

Thanks
For everything
All my love
Michael
xxx


HYMN - PENLAN

In heavenly love abiding,
No change my heart shall fear
And safe is such confiding
For nothing changes here.
The storm may roar without me,
My heart may low be laid,
But God is round about me
And can I be dismayed?

Wherever He may guide me,
No want shall turn me back,
My shepherd is beside me
And nothing can I lack.
His wisdom ever waketh,
His sight is never dim;
He knows the way He taketh
And I will walk with Him.

Green pastures are before me,
Which yet I have not seen,
Bright skies will soon be o'er me
Where darkest clouds have been
My hope I cannot measure,
My path in life is free,
My Father has my treasure
And He will walk with me.


ADDRESS
Canon David Eaton

We have heard fine tributes to Alison. Together they paint a picture of just what a good person Alison was, good in the sense that her own interest often came last because other people came first.

Today’s reading from Matthew – The Beatitudes – reflects the qualities that Alison displayed: of a gentle spirit, merciful, wanting to see right prevail.

There was nobody who served their church and community better than Alison. She was a pivotal figure in church life latterly publishing The Bulletin and always being at the centre of church organisation – especially with The Friends and from the time when Horace was chair, she forged the Hackney Link, made sure magazine advertising came in and a myriad of other roles.

Without people like Alison church life just would not function and the clergy would often be found going down for third time.

Even though she had a prominent role Alison was also tentative and unassuming, not always sure of her ground when she needn’t have been, always good-hearted and well-intentioned.  A good friend, she was likeable and good company. You were  pleased to have contact and the chance to natter together.

Although ... there were always things about Alison to be discovered. I didn’t know she was a member of The Advanced Driving Institute and acted too as an instructor.  It reveals her modesty but also her practical know-how – she could see the need for better driving and had the right hands-on skills to do something about it.

Today we give thanks for Alison, for all that she gave generously and gladly and for all that she meant to those who knew and loved her.

When someone we have known well dies there is a sense of the unbelievable about it. It is hard to accept, just as it is hard to accept that one day we shall die. Even though, at my time of life, you are just thankful to wake up each morning, know you have made it through the night and find things are pretty much as you left them when you went to bed.

So that accepting death and dying are part of life is a tough call. That’s why we often don’t. People don’t die now – they pass, somehow it seems to soften the blow and no harm in that.

The road is made steeper because we have no shared narrative in the way we once did. It’s living in a secular culture, probably the most secular in Europe. The Christian tradition has been largely lost from view; seeped into the ground. As a culture we flounder -  a ship with out a rudder, no direction home.

This does not mean we need arrogant assertion of faith and creed. Instead when death comes by what we need is something to hold to, someone to hold to. For Alison that was her faith in Christ and her hope of heaven. In her way she looked forward to what she described as the party to come and was rather pleased to think she might get there before the rest of us.

There is in a dead person a sacred stillness. In his novel Love over Scotland Alexander McCall Smith gives that moment its own kind of beauty. One of the characters in the novel is Angus Lordie, a portrait painter. He has the unfortunate experience of having one of his clients die in front of him whilst sitting for Angus to paint his portrait. Angus writes to a friend to tell her what has happened. He puts it like this:

It was very peaceful, almost as if somebody had silently gone away, somewhere else, had left the room. How strange is the human body in death – so still. That vitality, that spark, which makes for life, is simply not there. The tiny movements of the muscles, the sense of there being somebody  keeping the whole physical entity orchestrated in space – that goes so utterly and completely. It is no longer there.

So that what we ask is where are they, those we have loved but see no longer?
“It’s as if somebody had silently gone away, somewhere else, left the room”.

What death does for us is to open up another dimension. One we do not now see but one that is real and true none the less. It’s here we may find a new home and a place to be.

In this life Alison was on a pilgrimage inspired by her faith; she now begins another journey this time to a home in heaven. It makes for a completeness and fulfilment. 

We may confidently link arms and walk on together trusting in the one who gave us life. He will renew that life in another world and in another place.

Alison leaves a rich legacy – of public and Christian service, of faith in Christ, of a life lived in hope and expectation of a life to come.

For God’s part, he may ask for our accountability but he does not  dispense cold-hearted judgement as was once thought. Instead there is a welcome and recognition of his making and our longing.

I have never been much convinced by choirs of heavenly angels or blinding light to greet us. For me heaven is more homely, a place of love and affection we shall recognise as our own: "Ah come in, have a seat, good to see you, there’s a party about to begin, can I get you something?"

A home coming we shall know and make our own. A place to be ... a rest to receive ... a love to share.

Home at last.


The Church Flowers Team had been in early

PRAYERS

Father we thank you that you made each one of us in your own image and likeness, giving us gifts and talents with which to serve you. We thank you for Alison, the years we shared with her, the good we saw in her and the love and affection we received from her. Give us strength and courage to leave her in your care, confident in your promise of eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Most merciful Father, whose wisdom is beyond our understanding, surround Alison's family with your love. May they not be overwhelmed with their loss. May they have confidence in your goodness, and strength to meet the days to come. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Grant us, good Lord, the wisdom and the faith to use the life and the time that is left to us here on Earth. Lead us to repent of our sins, the evil we have done and the good we have not done. Strengthen us to follow in the footsteps of Christ your Son, and the way that leads to the fullness of eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

And in silence, hold Alison in our hearts and to remember where her life touched yours.

And if it's your practice, please join with me and saying the Lord's Prayer on the Order of Service.

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come, your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours, now and forever.
Amen.

HYMN - HYFRYDOL

Alleluia! Sing to Jesus!
His the sceptre, his the throne;
Alleluia! His the triumph,
His the victory alone.
Hark! The songs of peaceful Zion
Thunder like a mighty flood.
Jesus, out of every nation,
Has redeemed us by his blood.

Alleluia! Not as orphans
Are we left in sorrow now;
Alleluia! He is near us;
Faith believes nor questions how.
Though the cloud from sight received him
When the forty days were o'er,
Shall our hearts forget his promise,
"I am with you evermore"?

Alleluia! Heavenly High Priest,
Here on earth our help, our stay;
Alleluia! Hear the sinful
Cry to you from day to day.
Intercessor, friend of sinners,
Earth's Redeemer, hear our plea,
Where the songs of all the sinless,
Sweep across the crystal sea.

Alleluia! King eternal,
You the Lord of lords we own:
Alleluia! born of Mary,
Earth your footstool, heaven your throne:
You within the veil, have entered,
Robed in flesh, our great High Priest:
By your Spirit, left us heavenward,
In the Eucharistic feast!

BLESSING
Canon David Eaton:

Almighty God, in your great love you crafted us by your hand and breathed life into us by your spirit. By your mighty power you raised Jesus from the grave and exalted him to the throne of glory. Rejoicing in his victory and trusting in his promise to make alive all who turn to Christ, we commend Alison to your mercy and we join with all your faithful people and the whole company of heaven in the one unending song of praise: glory and wisdom and honour  be to our God for ever and ever. Amen.

May the road rise up to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your land,
May the rain fall soft upon your face
And until we meet again
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.

MUSIC
Calon Lân

Treorchy Male Voice Choir


DONATIONS IN MEMORY OF ALISON Alison shared Horace's pride in his grandchildren and in particular Paul Wright's association with Teignmouth Life Boat as a member of the crew. She asked that instead of flowers donations be made to Royal National Lifeboat Institution


MEMORIES OF ALISON

If you can add more memories of Alison please contact Frank Haslam, the editor of these pages.

Di Gale: This was taken at a Martha's Market on one of our Celebration Days - 8th May 2015, the 70th Anniversary of VE Day. Not a perfect portrait, but it shows her having fun with a friend, Jennifer, also sadly deceased ... but hopefully they're having fun together elsewhere ...

I first met Alison in the 1970 at Tyrrells Wood Golf Course when she was showing great promise as a golfer. It seemed as if she could do anything she put her mind to! Years later I moved to Leatherhead and Alison invited me to a 'Pampered Chef 'party (remember those?) at her home. At the last minute the official hostess contacted Alison to say she was unwell and couldn't possibly come. Instead of cancelling the evening, Alison herself donned an  apron, set about cooking her invited friends a tasty meal with whatever-she-had-in-the-fridge and entertained us with great and hilarious stories of her exploits. Such fun! Missing you.



Frank Haslam: After Margaret Jones, the gallant editor of the Leatherhead Parish Magazine retired for the third and final time in December 2018, Alison and I had conversations about our concern that part of what kept the parish informed and together was being lost at a critical time. The assembling, production, delivery and management of advertising and subscriptions for the printed parish magazine was a considerable task. But if nothing was done, did we really want to see end of well over a century of this service to the community?   

Several weeks later she thanked me for reminding her of the ideas we had come up with. Hectic days were spent putting together the first issue of the free, paid advertising free, email-delivered Leatherhead Parish Bulletin in March 2019. Alison did her well known persuading of sources to come up with content. She also scoured the internet and her Inbox for local news items and things that made her laugh. I did the sub-editing, layout and the techie stuff.

The number of those requesting the Bulletin quickly grew among church and town, the latter now almost as numerous as the former. She was very kind in her thanks that I had sufficiently got the hang of things to take on her editorial role as her health began to give way.

I never got round to asking her if her car's number plate was concidence or chosen to commemorate Alison [and] Horace Wright ...


We'd known each other for 42 years. She had moved from Nor-Ven in Bookham to just round the corner in Box Cottage. I'll miss the banter and her dry wit.

Thank you Alison for being you.

Chris and Alison at Alison's 70th Birthday Party in the Parish Hall November 2012


Brian & Ros Hennegan: Ros and I remember Alison when her lads were young and she lived in Church Walk. Ros was the Akela of the 5th Leatherhead (All Saints) Cub Pack, and was one of the first female leaders (Cub Mistresses back in the day), certified to take Cubs camping under canvas. The 8th had no one ‘certified’ so they joined the 5th for ‘canvas camps’, hence the initial intro to Alison as a parent.
 
Alison and I used to ring ‘up the tower’. Campanologists is too fine a word for us. In our ‘time out’ we would talk about many things (in suitably hushed terms you understand!).
She was full of fun and amusing stories were never far from her lips. Alan [Smith] or Peter [Ford] would, at times, look over to ‘our corner’, Alison and I feeling suitably chastised.

I remember as though it was only yesterday when she told me that she was letting ringing go because she was getting married to Horace and she wanted to give her time to fulfilling her commitment. This act sums up Alison’s approach to life.
 
A lovely lady that Ros and I were privileged to know.
      

Joan Leach: I think this was on a trip to Toc H's Talbot House, Poperinge, Belgium, with Rev Gualter de Mello.


Alison - Rev Gualter de Mello
is next to Joan Leach 


Alison's photo of part of a grass bank filled with poppies near The Menin Gate, Ypres: please click image


Mike & Molly Lewis: In the tributes to Alison Wright many have commented on her considerable talents.

To date however, no mention has been made of her photographic skills.

Thirty years ago our eldest son's wedding ceremony took place at St Mary and St Nicholas - Leatherhead Parish Church.

Alison kindly volunteered to take photographs both at the Church and at the following Reception.

The result is a superb collection of photographs of the happy occasion.

Here is a photo of Alison fully equipped for the occasion.

I have happy memories of the many stimulating conversations we exchanged over the years, not least those that took place before and after the annual Six Nations Rugby encounters between England and Wales!


Stella Peake: I was so sorry to read that Alison had died.   She was such a kind and happy person who did so much for Leatherhead and she will be very much missed. I did greatly appreciate her including me in the circulation of the bulletin, it is so good to keep in touch although it is a long time since I came up to Lincolnshire and many people I knew in Leatherhead are no longer there.

Frances Presley: Alison and I go back a very long way, to the days when her son David and my son Adam were at Downsend.  She had so many different interests: from driving the minibus to spinning, from Hackney and Toc H to pancake tossing, from sheep to collie dogs - and that is only scratching the surface.

She shared her feelings, knowledge and love of the battlefields of WW1 with Horace with whom she had over twenty very happy years.  When she knew I was going to Flanders she told me to look out for the plaque of a young Welshman which was displayed in the village where he died not knowing that he had won that year’s Eistedfodd .  She was so thrilled when I showed her a photo of the plaque.  Her love of her Welsh roots never left her.

We had many a good laugh together, but above all her faith shone through everything she did, which sometimes put mine to shame.  Her last few years with Chris made her so happy but sadly she was not long in the ‘waiting room’ before she left us.  There will be a very large hole in many people’s lives and she will be very much missed.

Jill Rosser: Alison was a very good friend to me and to very many people in our Parish.  When I first moved to Leatherhead in 1983 I knew no one, but Alison soon approached me in her lovely friendly way and asked if I would like to join The Friends of the Parish Church. I joined there and then, and of course she did me an immense favour!  Very soon I joined the Friends' committee and made new friends and began to "fit in" with life in the Parish Church.  I was Secretary for four years, working with the late Ron Presley who was our excellent Chairman.  It was an extremely happy time in my life - all because of our dear, wonderful, hard-working Alison.   We will all miss her very much.

Ven Arthur Siddall: When our family arrived in Leatherhead in 1990 we had only met our son’s House Master at St John’s School, but within weeks we were made to feel ‘at home’. Part of that welcome was provided by Horace and Alison Wright. As fellow-northerners Horace and I became good friends and visits to their home became so pleasurable. Horace was able to share his delight in meeting Alison and the security they had been able to create.

When Horace died it seemed to release an enormous energy in Alison, as though she wanted to honour his memory. What she has accomplished in those years since is remarkable and for all of that we give God our thanks.

Yvonne Warren: A very old memory of Alison. I first met her at Tyrrells Wood Golf Club. She used to cycle to the club with her clubs on her back in the early seventies! She was Alison Gordon then. She had learned to play golf from an uncle who I think was a golf professional.  She was a very good player. It was  so sad she had to give up but I did see her on the course one more time a few years ago playing as a guest and accompanied by her dog! Since then I only met her through church.



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