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Helen Payne 1916-2007

2nd of July 2007

Mrs Helen Payne, who lived on Tower Hill for over 50 years, passed away on 17 March 17. She was 91. Many village people will have fond memories of her.
She was born in Colchester and won a scholarship to the High School, one of the best schools in the country. Her father was a captain in the Royal Artillery, who won the M.C. during the First World War but suffered thereafter from shell shock, sustained on the western front when his battery was bombarded.
After leaving school she worked at Morley College in London before becoming cook and housekeeper at Chorleywood College for the Blind, a Ôreserved occupationÕ she held until after the Second World War, when she married. The school was housed at ÔThe CedarsÕ on Chorleywood Common, now an apartment block. Her parents were forcibly evacuated from Clacton and moved to Watford to be near her. Her younger brother became a highly decorated bomber pilot, but his flying was always a cause of worry to her.
Helen came to Chipperfield with her husband, ÔNickÕ, in 1950. The village then was served both by many more village shops and travelling shops and there was more local employment. Nick continued to work for Scammell Lorries in Watford (after years of experience on them in north Africa) and Helen worked for some time for Ernest Arundel on Tower Hill, and made lasting friends. Her address book was testimony to the enduring strength of those friendships. She loved the village, and became an active member of the horticultural society and the church, and one of the cricket tea ladies. With Nick she brought up her family there, loved the local countryside and its footpaths, and was a great supporter of the Chiltern Society. Helen became a familiar figure in the village, on her bicycle, and with their dog. They had a glorious cottage garden producing beautiful fruit and vegetables, latterly abetted by their neighbours Frank and Linda Venables.
After NickÕs death in 2001 Helen moved to Audlem in Cheshire to live with her daughter Margaret and her family. She continued to make friends there, attracting people with her continued good humour and ready smile. She had a strong religious faith, which had sustained her throughout her life and was reflected in her everyday thoughts and actions towards other people.
She also had a most distinctive Ôold fashionedÕ look at times, which could speak volumes of her disapproval. Her passing, fittingly, occurred on a glorious early spring day in the heart of the Shropshire countryside.

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