Rememberance of Past Members
Ronald Leslie Dowling b 05-08-1932 --- d 12-06- 2016
Soon after Ltvas was formed in 1973, Ron Dowling volunteered his services to deliver our quarterly News letters and programme details to most of our members. A task he undertook by bicycle, pedalling as far as West Wellow, Winchester and Bitterne, Southampton five times a year.
It is incalculable the amount of money he saved the society in postage stamps, or the 1,000s of miles he cycled over the years on our behalf. The deliveries he once did, is now being done by no less than 10 LTVAS volunteers.
Many members recognised him only as he retreated from their property to continue on his delivery round. He was a very reserved, modest man who took a certain delight in handing back the stamps allocated to each bundle of envelopes for distribution.
Ron was born and grew up over a bicycle shop in Portswood where his father worked, hence his life-long love of cycling. He was evacuated to the safety of Newquay, Cornwall during the war. Later he attended St Mary’s Technical College Southampton and served a five-year apprenticeship as a toolmaker with Parson’s Engineering where he ended up in their planning and estimating department.
He served his call-up in the RAF and later joined Mullards (Phillips) Ltd where he lived nearby with his wife Thelma, who was also a keen cyclist. They had two daughters and twins (a boy and a girl) and then in 1983 the family came to live in Romsey.
Together with the twins they once cycled the 1,400 miles of coastal route from Land’s End to John O’Groat’s.
Ron was always a community orientated chap; for almost twenty years he gave much of his time and technical skills ‘The Talking Newspaper’.
The valuable contribution he made so inconspicuously to the running of LTVAS is very much appreciated and will always be remembered.
Jane Rosemary Finnimore b 29-4-1938 --- d 30-6- 2015
We are always sorry to lose members and are sad to report the death of retired teacher Jane Rosemary Finnimore one of our long standing Timsbury members.
Jane moved to Timsbury 20 years ago and took an active part in village life, she grew up in Northamptonshire, her father was a Colonel in the Royal Engineers serving in India and her mother part of the well-known Martin family who had been Lord Mayors of Northampton over a period of two generations.
Jane trained as teacher and then taught in Russia, Pakistan, Yemen and Iran before settling back in the UK. Her love of travel continued with holidays in Mongolia, Tibet and other far-flung places.
She was in many ways a private person, but also a generous and free spirited individual whose love of cats, ice-cream and weaving made her many friends
Jane generously left us a bequest of £10,000 about which we have only just learned.
We are setting the money aside and it will be spent on a special project, which may be used in association with the Christopher Collier Bequest on the Anglo-Saxon project, or it may be used for something quite different.
The bequest is very new and we want to give ourselves time to decide how to best make use of it.
She is sadly missed.
Pat Genge b 1923 --- d 8-5-2015
Pat was an early member and joined Ltvas within a year of our foundation. She organised the finance for our first book, ‘So Drunk He Must Have Been to Romsey’ by arranging a loan from her employers, John Bryant Seed Merchants, which had to be repaid before their annual audit. She went on to be our treasurer for many years, and was one of the most sensible treasurers I have ever met, seeing her job being to account for our funds, not hoard them.
She became a skilled researcher and contributed substantially to our knowledge of Romsey’s history. In particular she specialised in the 20th century and wrote that section of our ‘The History of Romsey’ (2000). She also co-authored ‘Romsey Schools’ (1991) jointly with the late Jessica Spinney. She was a leading contributor to ‘Romsey Mills and Waterways’ (1998) and many shorter contributions to our journal ‘Pots and Papers’ and to our newsletters.
Her most notable contribution concerned the Latham manuscripts. Almost the first thing LTVAS did was buy a microfilm copy of Dr John Latham’s notes for the history of Romsey. These were handwritten and like many a historian’s notes, covered much ground, but not in a very structured way. Pat took the microfilm and the reader home and solidly typed her way through all seven volumes of Latham’s notes. Later, once computers had become commonplace, she retyped the whole thing as a computer document. This work formed the basis of the current project which is to edit and re-arrange the material.
When she reached 80 she resigned from the committee. We presented her with a volume of the collected memoirs of John Marsh the 18th century composer who spent some years in Romsey. This book was the source of further talks and articles, proving that her mind was as sharp as ever. She had to drop out of activities to look after her late husband, Ron, in his latter years but after his death became a regular attender at our events once again. After our basement was flooded, Pat took over the responsibility of re-organising and listing our collection of material, aided in particular by Barbara Burbridge.
Before joining LTVAS, Pat played a leading role in the local Scout movement, where she became Commissioner for Cubs. Her war service was in radar, and she spend much of the war in Dover, where she met her husband, Ron. She memorably described how they could see the German guns being fired at them, before the shells arrived. She said they spent most of the war in the cliffs for protection. - LTVAS Group miss Pat Genge enormously.
Christopher Robert Collier b. 1929 - d. 21.05.2013
Lt.Col. Christopher Collier
‘Romsey Minster in Saxon Times’ in the Hampshire Field Club Journal 46 (1991)
Lt. Colonel Christopher Robert Collier and his wife, Elizabeth, lived at 23 The Abbey, Romsey, for many years. Elizabeth was known to a generation of young Romsonians as a senior teacher at The Romsey School. She passed away some years before Christopher.
Neither Christopher nor Elizabeth Collier had any close family and on his death, a large part of his estate was left to causes close to Christopher's heart. Romsey Local History Society was one of the four charities so favoured and we have received a bequest of £27,060.
Our Committee decided that this sum of money should be used to instigate a major project, rather than used on bits and pieces. In view of Christopher’s long-running interest in the Anglo-Saxons, we have decided to sponsor a study of the history of the lower Test valley in the Saxon period; say 400-1120 A.D. We know from our own work on Romsey that there are a number of issues to be addressed and this money gives us the chance to look at them.
Christopher would drop in to our workshops from time to time to discuss his research and to see what we were doing. His study of Romsey Abbey was published in the Proceedings of the Hampshire Field Club 46 (1991) pp.41-52 under the title ‘Romsey Minster in Saxon Times’. He had acquired a useful collection of books about Saxon England, some of which are now in our library, and which include the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle in Anglo-Saxon.
He and his wife played a part in the wider community, being active members of the Romsey Abbey congregation, and they used to care for their neighbour, Mrs Aldyth Wellington, when she became old and rather frail. (Aldyth had been Romsey’s first lady mayor.)
Christopher died in 2013 and his ashes were scattered in the South Garth of Romsey Abbey. We miss him and wish we could tell him about our project.