Tuesday was a sad, wonderful day. It was the day we said goodbye to Trish, a dear member of Brixham Writer’s Group who last week lost her short battle with cancer. Those who knew her will understand what I mean when I say I never really expected it to beat her, if anyone could scare off cancer it would be Trish. And in the end I don’t think it did beat her, I think she just decided it was time to let go.
It’s a sad fact of human nature that we don’t know what we’ve got until it’s gone, or at least until it’s ill and stops coming to the meetings! Trish touched and enriched all of our lives in ways we’re perhaps only now coming to realise.
Trish was born in Herefordshire and grew up at Longwood Prep School where her stepfather was headmaster, she then went to work in Cambridge which was a place she loved for the rest of her life. From there she travelled to California where she worked as a receptionist in a doctor’s surgery for seven years, but she returned to the UK to look after her mother in Bushey in the Midlands who was dying of cancer. Around this time, she started up a pottery with a friend which she really enjoyed. She took a job as a receptionist in a medical practice in Rugby but moved to Devon around eight years later. When she arrived in Devon she went to work in a bookshop in Brixham and liked it so much, she opened a bookshop of her own in Totnes which she ran for about three years. By this time, she had reached retirement age, but to augment her pension she did dog-walking and house-sitting all over south Devon. During this time, she had become an active member of the Conservative Association – she thoroughly enjoyed the social life and especially the quiz nights and skittles. She always ran the raffle, which she also did at the National Trust property of Coleton Fishacre. Trish was also an avid reader and writer. She joined Brixham Writers Group about 26 years ago and attended every Thursday with great enthusiasm. She had success with stories published in many magazines in UK and abroad in Australia and Scandinavia. The achievement she was most proud of was having her book No More Secrets published in 2014. Trish was always a prominent member of the group, full of ideas and input, and often read out loud other people’s work if they had problems doing so. She loved doing it and was very good at it.
Kate says; “Trish was always full of ideas and energy, eager to contribute and forthright in expressing her views, and though this upset some people, it was what her friends loved about her. In all aspects of her life she loved getting into mischief and if there was a rule to be broken, she would break it. She will leave a deep hole in our Thursday meetings and they will be less fun without her. We will all miss her dreadfully. She attacked life with courage and a memorable sense of humour! She also had a passion for old houses and beautiful gardens, G&T and white chocolate”.
Anne says; “Trish was one of the longest standing members of our group and will be much missed. She was always grateful to the group for encouraging her into print”.
Ian says; “She always read my work aloud for me which helped me more than she knew”.
Catherine says; “Starting at writers group was the most intimidating thing I’ve ever done. These people knew their stuff and would either accept me, or tell me to find a new way to spend my time. Luckily for me it was the former and gradually I did relax and began to love the meetings and everyone in the group. Trish never became warm and cuddly, I was told off too often to ever completely stop being frightened of her! But she was also so kind to me, so encouraging and some of my proudest moments at the group have been when I received a compliment from her. She was an inspiration in so many ways and I will be a better writer going forward for having her there to challenge me. I will miss her at every meeting.”
It was a beautiful service on Tuesday, the hymns chosen because they had reminded Trish of her mother and happy childhood days spent living at the boy’s school! Touching personal eulogies were given by family and friends – although some of the juicier details were left out and had us chuckling at the back of the room – and the turnout was as impressive as it ought to have been. Everyone had the same story to tell, she was scary, she was formidable, she was hilarious, she was fiercely loyal, she loved us and we loved her.
As we were leaving, one of the newer members of Brixham Writer’s said something very fitting. She said that as she’d only been with us for a few months she’d hardly known Trish and now felt as though she’d missed out on something somehow. I dare say she did.
A cup of tea and a piece of cake at Lupton House, one of Trish’s favourite local places and stories swapped we all made our way home but we have a group meeting to look forward to on Thursday – although I’m sure it will be a sad occasion, we’re lucky to have each other to fall back on.
Wherever you are now Trish, I hope everything is to your liking. If not, I’m sure you’ll soon put it right! We love you xxx