Patricia Ward (Mum) Our great creative inspiration 3 Jul 1940 - 23 Mar 2023
Read at her Celebration of Life on 24th April 2023
Pat was born Patricia Violet Mason in Kingston Surrey in 1940, but there has always been a mystery as to whether she was born on the 3rd or 4th of July, she would be happy to let you decide. She was the only child of Edward (Bibby) and Mabel Mason.
Pat’s life started with quite a challenge as she was evacuated during the war with her grandmother. Over four years from the age of 6 months, Pat stayed in Liverpool, St Albans, Cirencester and Shamley Green.
After the war in the 1950’s Pat would enjoy going to the Saturday morning picture show for children. In 1951 Pat has an amazing trip to London with her mum to see the Festival of Britain. In June 1953 Pat’s Dad rented a small television to watch the Queen’s Coronation, she remembers their small lounge was packed with family and friends to celebrate the occasion.
Her first school was St Paul’s then St Luke’s Secondary Modern in Kingston. Pat liked school, she played hockey, tennis and netball but never considered herself very sporty.
After doing well at school Pat could have gone to Guildford Tech but chose to go to Hawker Aircraft as an apprentice tracer. Here she met Pat and Geoff French as well as Connie Cree, who became friends for life.
Now you might have been thinking up to now what a clean living well brought up girl. But the next chapter of Pat’s life was to begin at the rather notorious Eel Pie Island Twickenham. Famous for Jazz and a place Pat’s parents had no idea she was going to in tight trousers and a duffel coat, it was here Pat met Brian in June 1959. Pat recounted they were lucky to meet as it was Brian’s first time and he was with some Army friends on leave from National Service. That night Brian took Pat home and fell in love immediately. From then on, whilst Brian was in the army, they would exchange letters daily, as email wasn’t an option back then.
Pat’s Dad Bibby was a generous man and allowed Pat and Brian to use his new Ford saloon when Brian managed to get weekends off. Pat had created a demob chart which she kept in her office and crossed off the days until Brian left the army.
Unfortunately Bibby became very ill at Christmas 1960 and sadly passed away soon after in May 1961.
On the 30th September 1961 Pat and Brian were married, their late good friend Reg Floyd was best man and Uncle Ted gave Pat away. They then lived with Pat’s mum May for 3 years whilst saving for a house of their own. As soon as Pat got married she was also made redundant but soon got another job at BEL Engineering with Connie and Rita in Surbiton and entered a crazy period in her career. A great deal of ducking and weaving! Following that job Pat then moved to RDD back in Kingston (with even more shenanigans) where she met the late Peter Green and Eddie Lawson who also became firm family friends.
Eventually, after they had saved up enough money, Pat and Brian were able to buy their first house at 332 Laleham Road Shepperton, Pat commented on how much it felt like the country after Kingston. It was here the next chapter of Pat’s life would begin as a homemaker, near friends Pat and Geoff French.
Pat becomes pregnant with Richard and meets Ann Kelly, now Thomson, as new mums to be. Ann’s then-husband Andy introduces Brian to Roundtable and Ann introduces Pat to Ladies Circle. Both Pat and Brian said this was one of the best things that ever happened to them as they made so many lifelong friends, many of whom are here today.
Pat’s family then grows, with Richard born in September 1966 in Hampton Court Maternity Home and Andrew born in February 1970 at Woking Hospital. Now Pat really had her hands full with these two boys!
Pat remembers meeting regularly with other young mums once a week for tea, after a few years it got quite chaotic as by that time they had about nine children between them. Rich and Andy went to Littleton, St Nicholas and then Bishop Wand, all CofE schools, it was at the first school Pat started to get more interested in faith. Pat and her two boys were confirmed. Pat said she had always been a believer and of course, as they got older it became a major part of her boys’ lives.
During the boy’s school years, Pat chose to volunteer to support local groups like the PTA, Scouts and Littleton Church.
The family enjoyed holidays around the UK and then some big adventures camping in France. Pat loved these adventures, map in hand (no Google Maps) she would guide Brian through the French countryside, stopping en route in their VW camper van towards the south. Brian recalls on one return trip back to Calais when Pat was driving, and he was supposed to be the navigator he had fallen asleep. As he woke he realised they were about to enter Belgium! An animated discussion started as to who was at fault as Rich and Andy sat amused in the back.
As Brian’s business career began to take off he would sometimes have to leave Pat with the boys for 2 to 3 weeks to travel the UK or abroad. Now there was always a long-running family debate about these trips, was Brian off prospecting for the family or had he left Pat with two little terrors to look after. One thing we all recall is after every trip Pat would have a list of things that had broken or bent ready for Brian’s return.
Pat continued to give her time whilst Brian was away, volunteering with Meals on Wheels and taking children with mixed abilities swimming. She was also a firm supporter of the boys at school and could often be seen on the touchline come rain or shine.
In the mid-1980s, with the boys growing up Pat and Brian had a bit more time on their hands. Pat joins the local history society committee and for the next 20 years did a huge amount of research and typing which gave her loads of pleasure.
One memorable trip was to West Berlin with Tangent. Whilst there Pat got talked into by friends to pop across into East Berlin, it was when they tried to come back into West Belin they realised they had no idea which train to catch and they had a terrible job getting out nearly missing their connections back to the UK. After finding out on Pat’s return Brian was furious saying Pat could have been stuck there for a long time as she wasn’t even insured!
Family life continues as Richard leaves home in 1988 and then marries Linda in 1990. It was around this time Pat starts to research the family history, she loved doing genealogy.
In 1998 Andrew gets married to Sara in March, and Linda takes most of the service heavily pregnant with Eleanor
And so begins the grandchildren years and Pat becomes Nanny to her first granddaughter, Eleanor, born on 18th June 1998.
In August 2000 Brian retires and with Pat they have many years of travel and adventures in front of them. On 5th August 2000 James, Pat’s first grandson, is born.
Alfred is born on April 24th 2001, now the grandchildren are coming thick and fast and Pat notes she did a lot of babysitting but loved it.
Sadly Uncle Arthur passes away in July and Queenie, Brian’s mum, in November both were greatly missed.
In 2001 Pat and Brian buy their second motor home, this one was a bit more luxurious than the old VW and Pat loved it and did even sometimes drive it. Together they really enjoyed many camping holidays. They also loved canal boating including Pat doing the classic one foot on the shore and one foot on the boat, losing ropes and oars much to Brian’s and Captain Reg’s frustration.
The years roll by, and Pat’s final granddaughter Macy is born on October 8th 2002.
Pat and Brian start to learn to play bridge with about 20 other 41ers, which gave Pat lots of pleasure, playing with friends.
Over the next few years, Pat and Brian travel throughout the UK and Europe camping and adventuring. Always returning for Nanny and Poppa duties. Pat plays her role with perfection, not interfering but completely spoiling her grandchildren. Her dedication and love are a testament to the four grandchildren here today. She would love you to chat with them, they really were her pride and joy.
In 2006 May, Pat’s mum passes away and is a great loss as Pat and her mum got on well.
Pat starts playing croquet at the bowls club and loved it and won a few cups. Brian starts playing bowls but not his favourite sport, much prefers golf which he has played for years. Pat caters for family winter roast dinners and summer BBQs as the grandchildren grow up from toddlers towards teenagers.
Eventually Pat hangs up the map reading job as they sell the motor home and opt for some cruises. This brings particular joy to Pat as she lets someone else navigate them on great adventures. Pat also continues to spend many hours researching family genealogy with Brian as her driver this included on one occasion getting grave diggers on their hands and knees to decipher old family names on gravestones! Pat loved the detective work of genealogy and often said to Brian she would have loved to have been an ancestry researcher.
In 2010 Pat, Nanny plays a key role in helping her Granddaughter Ella through many operations. Only then in 2012 to damage her own knee leading to a knee replacement in February. Also in 2012 Pat takes a new role in business as an financial investor as her two sons as Rich and Andy start a new creative business, although Brian takes a keener interest over the years, the RAW Brothers always had the support of their mum.
In her later years as a faithful wife, mother, mother-in-law and nanny, Pat perseveres in life as her body starts to have other ideas. Pat still plays a key role in family life and especially in encouraging her grandchildren as they grow up.
In 2015 Pat was suddenly hospitalised with autoimmune hepatitis but was still able to enjoy her many friends.
In November 2017 Pat and Brian because of failing health decided to move into a ground-floor flat in Lords Bridge Court Shepperton. This move had been preceded by months of sorting the family home out with many trips to the charity shop. Pat loved her new home from the moment she moved in, Brigitte the manager was wonderful and everybody was so friendly.
Within a month of the move Brian was diagnosed with lymphoma and spent until September having treatment. Pat also had an operation on her heart but continued to embrace life seeing friends and family and of course lots of fun at Lords Bridge Court.
In 2019 the family was spreading its wings, Ella following her degree in psychology went to Australia for six months including Papa New Guinea and India. James had joined the Army. Pat went to James' passing out parade in July remarking that he looked very grown up. Alfie started at Birmingham University studying architecture and Macy at The Brit School studying art.
Then 2020 Coronavirus hit the world at the start of the year, because Brian was very vulnerable they both had to stay in for months on end. But they managed to stay connected as a family with lots of garden visits and Pat’s iPad – much to the grandchildren’s amusement.
The last years of Pat’s life she took huge pleasure in watching and partaking in the grandchildren’s lives, Eleanor gets married to Jacob, James touring abroad as a military policeman, Alfred works as an architect in London and Macy’s gap year with a creative Christian Charity in Manchester. Rich and Andys RAW is now a successful creative consultancy. Linda and Sara both running their own successful initiatives.
Brian cared for Pat in her later years and months as the loving husband he had been for 62 years of marriage.
As circumstances would have it Pat spent the last few weeks of her life in a lovely room with a view overlooking the family home in Halliford. Over those weeks and days the family reminisced over memories, laughing, painting Pat’s nails and shedding a few tears.
Pat was a hardworking, loyal, loving, brave, friendly and very caring lady who will be greatly missed by all her family and friends.
Pat left us on March 23rd 2023 with Brian, Rich and Andy by her side and for her life we are truly grateful.
Written by Brian, Rich and Andy Ward.