Mrs Beatrice Ritchie
12 November 2021
In loving memory of Beatrice
Resident of Royal Star & Garter
Beatrice (Wyn) met Charlie, her husband, while he was stationed in Northern Ireland with the British Army. They married when she was 18 years old. After their son Joseph (Joe) was born they moved from her home in Banbridge, County Down to Blanford Forum, Dorset, where her life as an army wife life truly began. Wyn threw herself into the life of an army wife, joining the Wives Club and helping charities.
The family’s first overseas posting was to Gibraltar where they spent three happy years in married quarters. They used to drive over to Spain for the occasional dinner or to watch a bull fight in the bull ring. Joe learned to swim in Gibraltar, much to his anxious mother’s eyes as she couldn’t swim, so was forced to watch her only son swim in the sea with not a care in the world knowing she couldn’t help him should he get into difficulties – she needn’t have worried he became a very strong swimmer!
After their Gibraltar tour, they were posted to Ipoh, Malaya where Charlie was seconded to the Malayan Government to train their Territorial Army. That was where she came into her own! She entertained people and, probably, had the best years of her life! Their accommodation consisted of a large white house with balconies surrounding the upper floors. The ground floor rooms were taken up with the TA’s offices and they lived in the upper floor – it was an idyllic place to live and grow up! Their life in Malaya entertaining and generally having a wonderful life, was good, albeit occasionally a dangerous one! (Owing to the ‘State of Emergency’ with Communist rebels in the hills). Wyn joined the Red Cross while in Ipoh helping in whatever capacity they asked her to do – she never shirked her responsibility with them and always made herself available, even though she had Joseph to care for. They were there for four years before returning to the UK.
When Charlie retired from the Army, there was uncertainty about where he and Winnie were to live and what job he could or would get. But, the ever resourceful Charlie, got a job as Mace Bearer to The Worshipful Mayor of the Royal Borough of Richmond upon Thames with accommodation. She was so proud! The living quarters were not what she was used to – just a prefab really, attached to the East Sheen Council buildings, but Wyn made it a home. With cats visiting and two of their own, it was a paradise for her. Whenever the offices were short of staff, needed a ‘spare person’ to witness a marriage, or stand in on the telephone switchboard, she was there! That was Wyn; always an optimist, always willing to pitch in and do whatever was needed, all the time truly believing that things would work out in the end. She was in her element when looking after people – she said that she always wanted to be a nurse.
When Charlie became ill with Parkinson she found the inner strength to cope – with his moods, wanderings and occasional outbursts she coped and carried on until eventually he had to go into hospital. She was on her own for the first time! She visited him every day, sometimes twice a day, to give the nurses a break from the hum drum parts of his care, travelling to Barnes Hospital by public transport while still helping in the offices when asked and helping her friends when they needed it. She didn’t wait to be asked, she just did it. That was her way!
When Charlie died, she had to leave the home she had lived in for over 13 years, so apart from losing her life partner, she also lost her home and had to move to a different part of Richmond where she did not know anyone. Her move to Ham didn’t stop her though. It was not long before her happy upbeat gregarious nature came to the fore; she was offering to take people’s dogs for a walk or look after their cats and, or even house sitting!
Wyn was also a fantastic friend. She always saw the good in people, and if she saw the bad, she certainly didn’t gossip about it! If you needed her, she was there and asking what she could do to help. She accompanied her friend Myrna and her son Ian abroad a lot and had the most wonderful times. She helped her friends when they were ill, going back and forth to do their shopping, walking all the way – she never learned to drive, and looking after their pets – her dog walking was legionary in Ham, as were her midnight trips down the road to feed the foxes and badgers in Evelyn Road.
Wyn was always there for all the highs and lows of her friends lives. Her friends were also her lifeline when Joe, Paula and the children were posted abroad with the RAF, and when they continued to travel overseas with the FCO. Her thanks, and her families, go to Binta, Mike and their boys who adopted Wyn as their own and included her in their lives. Also to her very good friends Patrick and Simona who were always there for her during the times when her family were overseas, dropping in to make sure she was okay and to see if she needed anything i.e. shopping etc. Thank you all!
Wyn moved into the Royal Star and Garter Home in Surbiton 6 years ago and often said how wonderful the careers and nursing staff were. She was very happy there and enjoyed the camaraderie enormously. The kindness of the people she met was beyond measure. Their love and support was more than just ‘employees’, they became part of her family and will always be in hers and her family’s hearts. A big thank you to them all!
Wyn loved her Family – her Grandchildren Adam, Samantha and her husband James. She would be so proud of what they have achieved as adults. She delighted in seeing her great-grandchildren Joseph, Jessica and Jacob and would be sad that she didn’t get to see them grow up, but knows that with the parents and grandparents they have, they will grow into wonderful adults! And that they will not be sad but remember her with love and many happy times! Covid was a sad, trying time for Wyn, as it was for many, but her Grandson Adam got around that by buying a ‘Portal’ by which to see her family on her TV. Wyn wasn’t very technically minded, she had a problem just answering her phone let alone trying to read text messages and she didn’t quite get the idea of the Portal, but she was always thrilled to speak to all of her family and had some happy times talking and seeing them.
Wyn was a force to be reckoned with. She was loved for her humour, her ‘tinkling’ giggling laughter and her kind heart. I think the size of the gathering here is a testament to what a wonderful person she was, and how much they all loved her.