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Patricia Oldham RIP


My mother Pat Oldham died peacefully at 2am today after a surprisingly rapid decline from being diagnosed last December with stage 4 renal cancer.

At their diamond wedding anniversary party - peas in a pod

She was 86 and she'd had a long and varied life. Brought up during the war she remembered peering through the letterbox during air raids and seeing tracer rounds falling into the street. She worked in a Birmingham manufacturing jeweller before she married Dad, then did the traditional stay at home mother thing while she brought up the three of us, and at various times worked in a newsagent, as a teaching assistant, and as a lollipop lady and probably other things too which I forget.

With Dad on their wedding day, 29th March 1958

Alongside my father, who was the scout troop leader, she was Akela for one of the two cub packs in the 22nd Odiham (Fleet) group and, as scouting declined, she was Akela of the only remaining pack until only a year or two ago after being in the role for half a century.

As a result of all of the above she was a very well known face in Fleet. I can remember as a child any trip to the high street to do some shopping would be punctuated by having to stop multiple times for conversations with people she knew.

It's funny but when you're a kid you assume that all families are as good as ours was. It's only when I got older, and started to go to my friends' houses that I realised how lucky I was. My parents very rarely argued (certainly not in front of us anyway), never hit us, and just brought us up right, careful with money, keen to take responsibility and to help others, and to be generally good citizens.

Family at Dad's Silver Wolf Presentation
With the family in October 2019 when Dad was presented with the Silver Wolf medal

I fondly remember Mom explaining the facts of life to me after the older boy next door explained them to me, wrongly. I remember her warning off a boy who had bullied me at school ... and he never went near me again. I remember rolling into the house very drunk aged 18 or 19 and diving into the downstairs loo to throw up and when I came out she was there, not to berate me but to give me a big glass of water and tell me I needed to get hydrated if I didn't want a blinding hangover. And when the operation to take out my gall bladder went horribly wrong I remember her visiting me every day when I spent seven weeks and three operations in hospital and reassuring me I wasn't going to die.

Through my life she continued to be there when I needed her so I think I was so lucky to have her as my mother. But now she's gone. Rest in Peace.

Tags: family, RIP Written 08/02/22

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