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Dr Mary Frances West

1st of November 2013

Dr Mary’s Service of Thanksgiving was held on 11 October in St Paul’s Church which was filled with family, members of the medical fraternity and many villagers whose lives Mary had touched.

Her brother, Dr Jonathon West, writes:
Mary was born in Dublin and shortly moved to Penarth in Wales when our father was appointed Professor of Anatomy in the University of Wales. Our mother was also a doctor. To escape the wartime bombing Mary was sent away to school in Berkshire where she excelled in Shakespearean acting and became a proficient pianist, maintaining her interest in classical music forever. She entered University College, London, and having qualified as MB BS she undertook the usual house-doctor jobs. She gained her Fellowship of the Faculty of Anaesthetists of the Royal College of Surgeons (FFARCS) and became a consultant at Watford and Hemel Hempstead Hospitals in about 1961 where she worked until her retirement aged 60.She moved to Chipperfield in about 1986 and remained in the same house until she died.

Keith Dawson pays tribute:
There is much to celebrate in Mary’s life. We were churchwardens together for two years so it is a pleasure to me to give this tribute; I could not have wished for a better person to work with, especially during an interregnum, which started when Angela, our vicar, moved to Gloucestershire. We did not have parish administrators in those days, so the workload was not insignificant. Mary and I used to meet regularly over coffee at her dining room table, the Times cryptic crossword set to one side. It was an enjoyable experience, not least for the intelligence and humour she brought to everything she did.
Mary participated to the full in church and village life and the community has much to thank her for. She was firm in her Christian faith and believed that the consequence of that faith meant one naturally helped and served others. So she collected meals from Hemel Hempstead for 30+ elderly people DR MARY FRANCES WEST
20.9.1926 – 24.9.2013
Dr Mary’s Service of Thanksgiving was held on 11 October in St Paul’s Church which was filled with family, members of the medical fraternity and many villagers whose lives Mary had touched.
Her brother, Dr Jonathon West, writes:
Mary was born in Dublin and shortly moved to Penarth in Wales when our father was appointed Professor of Anatomy in the University of Wales. Our mother was also a doctor. To escape the wartime bombing Mary was sent away to school in Berkshire where she excelled in Shakespearean acting and became a proficient pianist, maintaining her interest in classical music forever. She entered University College, London, and having qualified as MB BS she undertook the usual house-doctor jobs. She gained her Fellowship of the Faculty of Anaesthetists of the Royal College of Surgeons (FFARCS) and became a consultant at Watford and Hemel Hempstead Hospitals in about 1961 where she worked until her retirement aged 60.She moved to Chipperfield in about 1986 and remained in the same house until she died.
Keith Dawson pays tribute:
There is much to celebrate in Mary’s life. We were churchwardens together for two years so it is a pleasure to me to give this tribute; I could not have wished for a better person to work with, especially during an interregnum, which started when Angela, our vicar, moved to Gloucestershire. We did not have parish administrators in those days, so the workload was not insignificant. Mary and I used to meet regularly over coffee at her dining room table, the Times cryptic crossword set to one side. It was an enjoyable experience, not least for the intelligence and humour she brought to everything she did.
Mary participated to the full in church and village life and the community has much to thank her for. She was firm in her Christian faith and believed that the consequence of that faith meant one naturally helped and served others. So she collected meals from Hemel Hempstead for 30+ elderly people and ran a weekly lunch club, transporting the participants to and from, serving and washing up. There was a special Christmas party for them, complete with the school choir singing carols and a gift for each, and maybe a coach to the West End to see the lights. She took her ‘old dears’ shopping to Sainsbury’s weekly: it mattered little that some of these elderly people were younger than she was. She took meals to those recently widowed. She went once a week to St Francis Hospice at Berkhamsted to cook. She was an active committee member of Chipperfield Care, a duty officer and volunteer driver. In 2004 in a public acknowledgement of all her good work she was awarded the Hertfordshire High Sheriff’s Award for Services to the County.

Somehow she found time to play bridge, in which she excelled, retiring when she felt that she was no longer playing to her high standard. She believed in ‘if something was worth doing, it was worth doing well’.

Mary was generous to and served St Paul’s church in many ways. She organised the cleaning rota, was responsible for unlocking and locking on a Saturday and organised refreshments at flower festivals and the cake stall at Hollyberry Fairs. She read the scriptures with authority. She knew precisely the right colour for each season of the Church year and ensured that the correct altar frontal was hung. She was a major donor for the purple Lenten and Advent antependium, the cloth that hangs in front of the plain altar frontal, and she would have known what an antependium was, just as she would have known what quinquagesima and orphrey and aumbry mean: words which my spell check do not recognise. Her command of language was one of the joys of being with her. It was also her ability to see the absurd in things and then relate it to others with her use of language which stays in the memory.

Dr Mary was much admired here, indeed loved. Her service to others was outstanding. I am sure that her family will miss her. We who were privileged to know her in the village – in the church – will miss her too. However, our loss is heaven’s gain: it would not surprise me if there were more laughter in heaven today than there was a fortnight ago.

 
This page is edited by Tony

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