Peggy Tate - Some background notes.

Born 13 November 1911 in Luton, the youngest but one of a family of six. Her father worked in the hat trade for which Luton was then well known.

She did well at school, particularly in modern languages and English. She had a lifelong interest in books, novels and poetry, and a prodigious memory for quoting from them.

She married John Tate in January 1936 and they moved to Market Harborough, where John C Tate, Dispensing Chemist, was established in Coventry Road. Elisabeth and Jonathan were born before the start of the Second World War.

Peggy was more fortunate than most of her contemporary young wives, in that the family was not disrupted by war service, a pharmacist being a reserved occupation. They lived then at 25 Coventry Road, and Sara was born during the war. The children have childhood memories of the wonderful stories their mother used to tell, with fictional scary characters that lurked in the attic of the house.

They came very close to emigrating to Tasmania immediately after the war; and when that fell through, it was probably Peggy who determined that the children should be given the best education that could be afforded, and they were sent to boarding schools in Bedford.

After the war, the family moved to The Dales, out of East Farndon on the Marston Trussell road. It must have been a rather lonely existence. No running water, no shops, no neighbours, but she was kept busy minding the pig, the geese, the guinea fowl and the pet dog and cat, and helping out in the vegetable garden and, when she could, in the shop in Coventry Road. It was a blissful time for the children running wild in their holidays.

Although she mainly cycled or walked into Harborough, Peggy had obtained a driving licence during the war (she never had to take a test) but didn’t much like driving. She never quite mastered the proper use of the clutch, and journeys with her at the wheel often included an alarming series of kangaroo hops.

After further moves around Harborough, they finally settled in Lubenham, and to life in the village, though they still had a strong bond with Little Bowden, where two weddings and a funeral took place. They delivered meals-on-wheels, and Peggy helped out at St Luke's. It came as a shock to her when John died suddenly in 1998, after 62 years of marriage. The family wondered how she would cope on her own, but she had a good friend in Louie Burton nearby. But then, Louie’s tragic death not much later was a further blow. Peggy remained close to Joanna and her children, acting, perhaps, as a surrogate for the mother and grandmother they had lost.

She was very fond of her own family and a wonderful mother and mother-in-law. She took a great interest in the lives of her grandchildren, and latterly great-grandchildren, wanting to know what everyone was doing. With a number of grandchildren living and working abroad, she would daily check the world weather page in the Telegraph to see what it was like in Barcelona, Mexico City, Shanghai, Cape Town, or wherever they happened to be and took great pleasure from their visits.

The family was not close at hand, and worried about her well-being; but she was fiercely independent and determined to go on living in 1 Church Walk. The family would like to record their thanks for the many ways that the village kept an eye on her: taking her shopping, or to the theatre, and for many other small acts of kindness. Indicative of this is the fact that the Mobile Library, on its weekly visit to Lubenham, would drive round to her house and drop off a selection of books.

Inevitably, age began to take its toll on her, physically but by no means mentally. She was to the end as bright as a button. She was intrigued and puzzled by new technology; how did computers “talk” to each other, and e-mails, were they some sort of invisible carrier pigeons? Some years ago, wanting to learn more about the computer world, she saw an advertisement in the local paper inviting people to a breakfast meeting on computers. It was actually aimed at local small businesses, and the organisers must have been amazed to see a little old lady turn up! She was a formidable Scrabble player, still winning only last month; only recently she was asking Jonathan to explain the sub-prime mortgage crisis to her; and the night before she died was discussing with Sara whether Boris Johnson would make a good mayor of London.

Her final days were in Brookside in Braybrooke, where she was afforded much care and kindness. She told visitors that she was just there for a two week holiday; she died peacefully in her sleep on the 14th night.