Doreen Scatchard – Tribute

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This tribute was read at Doreen Scatchard’s funeral service on Thursday 14th January 2016 by her son Bryan

Today should be one of the saddest in my life but it isn’t. It is one of pride, love and celebration that my mum, our mum, was Doreen Scatchard.

She wore many hats in her 82 years – sister, policeman’s wife, aunt, mother, pantomime fairy, Brown Owl, nursing home cook and carer, MS Society member, Trefoiler, W.I and Friendship Club member. And an infamous babysitter throughout the Itchen Valley.

Life for Doreen started on 6th December 1933 when she arrived as the second child of Arthur and May Punter. She was a sister for Ray and the family eventually settled in Winchester as Arthur’s police career developed. Ray left for National Service and eventually settled to family life in New Zealand but the strong family bonds grew and they were always in each other’s thoughts as the years passed.

In September 1956 Doreen married a policeman, some fellow called Tom Scatchard. Married life started on St James’s Terrace in Winchester. A posting to Itchen Abbas in 1963 saw the beginning of a life in the Itchen Valley that lasted for 52 years. By 1967 all three children had arrived: Kay in 1962, Jill in 1964 and finally Bryan. Life settled to the routine and challenges of being in a police family. To make the situation even more complicated, she took on the Martyr Worthy Brownie Pack, becoming Brown Owl and continuing on from her childhood guiding experiences which Ray assures me were considerably more organised and disciplined than the absolute shower of ambling miscreants that called themselves scouts. She was at the heart of all the usual brownie and guide antics of pack holidays, revels, a trip to Switzerland and numerous good works for the Itchen Valley and the wider community.

In the early 1970s Doreen had been told that she would cross water to live. This indeed was the case as the family crossed the Itchen to live in Easton when Tom retired from the police. Doreen resumed her performance career by making several notable appearances in the Easton Village Pantomime thus building on her time in the Winchester Amateur Operatic Society.

Tom was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis which would become a significant part of family life. Both Tom and Doreen became heavily involved in the MS Society and she was proud of what she achieved and the strength of the friendships that she made. She faced this challenge with the same fortitude, resilience, courage, humour and sheer will that would serve her well in the latter years.

Doreen achieved one of her greatest ambitions in 1994 when she travelled to New Zealand to visit Ray, his wife Norah and their family. She spent 10 days under canvas on the Coromandel Peninsula, fishing with her brother and spending time with the families of Sarah, Graham and Claire.

The arrival of grandchildren in Rebecca in 1988 and Sophie in 1993 provided her with a new focus. The death of Tom in 1996 gave a new chapter to her life of babysitting, housesitting and a greater involvement in Valley life. Tom’s death marked a waypoint in Doreen’s continued willingness in stepping up and rendering loving care and practical assistance to family and friends who suffered from the ravages of ill-health and old age.

Doreen crossed the water once more, moving back to Itchen Abbas and Hazeldene Close where she welcomed old and new friends alike. The arrival of two more grandchildren in Martha and Harriet saw her re-energised as she skilfully managed their little ways.

The latter years of her life were dogged by increasingly severe ill-health yet she remained resilient, courageous and of good humour in the face of very difficult circumstances. Those who cared for her on a daily basis were always impressed by her fortitude and ability to keep calm and carry on.

When the end came she was ready to go and was, in her words, “waiting for the call” – a sign of the strength of her faith. Her death was quiet, peaceful and dignified.

Doreen Scatchard* was one of a kind – a generous, humorous, blunt, practical, loving and courageous woman who didn’t shirk from what life threw at her.

She was our mum, granny, granny Scatchard, granny Handbag, granny Scatch. An aunt, sister and friend. We will miss her.

*In the service I spelt this out as S-c-a-t-c-h-a-r-d. We are constantly correcting it and she was a stickler for it.

Bryan Scatchard

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