Pamela Pitt circa 1981 as Mayor of Winchester
Pamela Pitt’s children Celia and Rupert wrote the following tribute for their mother whose Funeral Service was held at St Swithun’s Martyr Worthy on Tuesday 19th January 2016.
Pamela was born to Cyril and Melus Gabell, and started life in Hereford, she had one sibling, Janet, who was four years younger. They had a happy childhood by all accounts. She went on to Cheltenham Ladies College, where she did not distinguish herself scholastically, “WHY BOTHER?” !! My how times have changed! But she remained in close touch with many of those childhood friends for a long time.
She was then sent to Paris to learn the finer arts of cooking in 1938, and was asked to stay and teach there.
Then came the war, and her first “Civic Duty”. She cooked for the young children of women who were evacuated from Birmingham, who worked in the nearby armament factory. She obviously enjoyed this, and told many tales about it. She biked six days a week to the Hereford Cathedral Close, and gave these children their meals. Imagine, on rationing; Pamela even learnt to cook tripe and other offal! One little chap, who obviously appreciated her efforts, when asked to say grace, said,”Thank you God, for breakfast, lunch, tea and supper, and any other meal what I might get!” In her desk we found an article taken from the Hereford Times commending Miss Gabell’s dedication and caring for these little people.
She first met Peter in Boy Scouts, which they did together, Honestly!, even in the 1920’s. As a teenager he did NOT impress her, But after the war…
They were married in 1946, and Peter completed his articles training in Ledbury, and then moved to London, as he joined a firm there, then moved to the countryside around Guildford, where after two, heart-breaking miscarriages Celia was born. At that point they decided London practice, & commuting was not for them. By chance he encountered a contemporary from Queen’s who suggested he introduce himself to her father, a close-to-retirement solicitor in Shenton’s, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Rupert was born in the Itchen Valley, and they acquired Robin Hill, where they stayed til 1977.
Pamela was a loving but firm mother, encouraging her children at their school work, and in their interests. Rupert building model planes, or tanks, and painting the same; and Celia, bless Pamela’s heart at horse back riding; even though as far as Pamela was concerned,”One end bites and the other end kicks!”, But she came, she watched, and brought picnics.
She was a very supportive wife to Peter, loved entertaining, and gathering friends around, and encouraged his interests, racing, teaching Sunday school, but above all else family, the whole family, especially at Christmas.
While the children were at Boarding School, she pursued her own interests. Who hasn’t enjoyed the fruits of her garden, flowers or vegetables? How many had a rousing game of Bridge, which she played well into her late eighties? How many churches in the Itchen Valley have a kneeler stitched by her? Did you know she even took a course in Millinery, and I believe even wore one of her creations to her first Garden Party at Buckingham Palace, representing the WI as chairman of the Hampshire groups.
Pamela was public-spirited and was elected a city councillor in 1977, “To find out what it was all about!” In 1980 she became Mayor, supporting Marwell Zoo, and charities like MacMillan supporting cancer patients, to honour the sister she lost to this disease in 1967.
She could be outspoken, but in some ways she did try to move with the times. When asked by Celia in the late sixties, training in London, “Is it OK to move into a flat where both sexes live?” She thought a second, then replied, “I think it’s OK, but I wonder what I will tell my friends!!”
Rupert remembers her generosity too, she had some people to stay who needed a supportive, safe place. She got to every outing and half term her children were allowed from their schools, she donated and arranged flowers in any church she was asked to, and who knows how many Harvest Suppers she organized?
Pamela was a terrific grandmother, even in her mid sixties having two small children to stay for two whole weeks!! She took them to the Isle of Wight and to MacDonald’s, because it was “their FAVOURITE restaurant”. Picture this, Peter looking astounded, and eating a hamburger with a knife and fork, and PAMELA, in MACDONALDS!!! The last night of one visit, she found them crying in their room, when asked why, they replied,”We don’t want to go home!!” Need I say more?
The last part of her life, solo, with increasing debilities/decreasing abilities forced her to have to leave The Parsonage, her home for thirty five years. So both her grand-children brought their children over to meet her. Max, aged two at the time, remembers even now Great Granny loved Pringles Chips. Lauren aged three, she nick-named “Curly” because of her golden curls, and Rachel aged eight months, she called “Smiley”, because she did and still does grin allot!
So she was moved to Abbotts Barton.
When the staff told her children, in slightly surprised tones,”We’ll miss your Mum”, Celia replied, “You mean you’ll miss that feisty, fiercely independent, little lady?”
They grinned and said “YES, we will!”
Won’t we all?
Sent from my iPad