This tribute appeared first in the July edition of Itchen Valley News
Audrey was one of three children born to Arthur and Lillian Butcher on 24th September 1936 in Chelmsford, Essex.
In the late 1950’s, Audrey moved to Southampton to be a Bus Conductress where she met a Driver, George. They were soon married and their first son, Richard, came along in 1962.
George and Audrey were the proud owners of a brand new static caravan which they lived in at Olivers Battery until moving to Station Hill in Itchen Abbas in 1977. Soon after moving, their second son, Harry, was born.
As well as running the home, Audrey spent some years working at Muriel Croft wool shop in Winchester where she test knitted new patterns. One of her prized patterns was a cardigan sported by a very young Sean Connery!
She also worked as a Production Line Operative at Robinson’s of Winchester, she sold Avon cosmetics for many years always vowing to give it up but decided to wait until she had completed 25 years service so she could receive her prestigious carriage clock award, funnily enough George also received an identical carriage clock around the same time his coming free with his Esso ‘tiger tokens!’ She was a Chocolatier at Richoux in Winchester, a Store Cleaner at Sainsbury’s Badgers Farm when it first opened and a Domestic Cleaner for various families in the Itchen Valley.
Sophia Kidd writes: I had recently moved into Itchen Abbas when in 1992 my son was born , I had a 3 year old and a husband away serving in the South Atlantic . Although for the first few weeks I had a wonderful Mother’s help , she went off to University and chaos descended .My mother knowing that some of her friends at Hockley golf club lived in the Itchen Valley , asked if anyone had a cleaning lady who had a few spare hours . A lady said she would ask her help . One afternoon Audrey called at Longfield meaning to ask what hours and tasks were required . Being met by chaos , she rolled up her sleeves and like Mary Poppins dove right in . By the time the children,s father returned some months later , he found a well ordered household ! From that day really Audrey never left , she was my right hand and my dear friend , sharing all our family occasions , the children’s school plays , Annabel’s 18th in Bath , and most recently my Mother’s 90th birthday party .
She was the most generous person I have ever known , and taught us all the true meaning of the word . One day at the Doctors surgery she saw in a very old copy of a sewing magazine , an article about a friend of mine , and knowing I would like to see it asked the receptionist if she could cut it out . She was told most definitely not . Audrey then walked all the way from Friarsgate up to W.H.Smith and purchased a new edition of the same magazine and went all the way back to the receptionist to do a swap for the tatty old copy . Generosity indeed . She will be sadly missed by all the Kidd family’
Lavinia Owen writes: I have known Audrey for eleven years and found her hard-working and generous – she never forgot a birthday. She was always ready to help in any way she could, extremely talented and her cakes were beautiful. I may not have one of her special sweaters, but I do have a treasured memento – a knitted orange pepper, which lives in the kitchen. She was a lovely friend, with a great sense of humour, who was so proud of her family and loved their visits. We shall miss her.
In the 1980’s, Audrey held many jumble sales in aid of the British Diabetic Association. These sales became renowned throughout the district for somewhere you could buy high quality clothing for a few pence and she raised many pounds for the charity.
In later life, Audrey honed her skills into her hobby of baking and cake decorating, making many intricate designs. The cakes she would send to local families would be clearly labelled without fail with her name and an instruction to return the box meaning that although not changed by deed poll, she earning the nickname “Audrey Maidment Please Return” with her family!
She was also a keen knitter, knitting and donating many dog blankets for the local vets as well as characters (the famous nativity scene!) and highly fashionable jumpers for her sons!
Audrey enjoyed pottering in the garden, growing various things which can’t be pronounced!
Sadly since George passed away in 2012, Audrey spent a lot of time in and out of hospital until she passed away in her sleep on 12th May.