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St George’s News - Waterlooville’s Parish Magazine

The Website for St George’s Church, Waterlooville and its Parish Magazine St George’s News

Christmas 2018 issue

Pamela Jean Dinneen, 1928-2018

A service in Celebration of the life of Pam Dinneen was held at St George’s Church on Thursday 29th November.

Pam was born in Bournemouth, the youngest daughter of Reginald and Ivy Hoare. She enjoyed many of her childhood summers with her sister, Joyce, and brothers, Ray and Eric in the beach hut at Boscombe or across the chain ferry to Studland Bay and into the “Famous Five territory” of the Purbeck hills.  She was a keen cyclist and often talked about taking her bike on the Sandbanks ferry and even occasionally across to the Isle of Wight to visit Auntie Madge.

Her father worked in the family stonemasonry business and she often visited the stone quarries in the hills between Corfe castle and Swanage. The Purbecks and Dorset became a special place for her, which she would revisit many times during her life.

Her mother was a concert pianist and singer and the family home was always full of music, and always a dog, which was always the case later on down the years in Pam’s life.

She went to Talbot Heath School in Bournemouth during the War years, and often talked about having to use the air raid shelters when German bombers dropped their remaining loads on the way back across the channel. She was so proud of her school and returned in later life on a number of reunion occasions.

After the separation of her parents in her teens, Pam had to make her own way in the world and following a year’s nursing training at the end of the War, she became a nursery nurse. She spent a number of years, before she was married, acting as a nanny in family homes in Wareham, Bracknell, and then Leicester, where she devoted herself to the children and family of the Leicestershire Director of Education, and found support from her sister Joyce who was by then married in Leicester with two young children.

She met her future husband Eric through her brother, Eric as they had served together in India and Burma during the latter part of World War Two.  They were married in 1951 in Leicester and then moved to Manchester as Eric took up his post as a history teacher at Stretford Grammar School. They lived close to the Manchester United football ground and their house was in amongst a number of the United players’ houses who were affected by the Munich air crash of 1958. Whilst there in Stretford, Sally, Cathy and Mark were born and Pam joined the Mothers’ Union.

The following year they moved to the outskirts of Manchester to Hale in Cheshire, where Tracey was born, and the family home and garden became the centre of the neighbourhood for the many friends and neighbours in the road. Pam worked as a teacher for a short time, teaching art in a boys’ secondary school, and it won’t surprise people from Mothers and Toddlers that she ran a nursery playgroup. As the children grew up Pam’s love of young children led to her getting a job in the mother and baby unit in one of the local hospitals. With Eric being a teacher, the whole family spent four weeks every summer camping in North Wales at Abersoch on the Lleyn peninsular. The annual pilgrimage involved packing up the car and trailer with all their extensive camping gear and literally moving house for most of the school holiday. Pam loved to go down to the beach every day with Eric and the children come rain or shine, before returning back to base for games with all the families that also returned each year.

When Eric got a promotion to become Head of Liberal Studies at Highbury College in 1973, the family moved into 138 Stakes Hill Road in Waterlooville, where Pam has spent the last 45 years. When Eric died in 2013 they had been married for nearly 62 years and been stalwarts of St. George’s for all those years. Pam of course established the mother and toddler group, which still goes on today, and also became an active member of the Mothers Union and a keen advocate of fair trade and Traidcraft in particular.

In the early 1980s, Pam’s love of Dorset led to her and Eric buying a caravan in Owermoigne, a small village between Dorchester and Weymouth, where they spent special times with their family over 30 happy years, and also became regulars at St. Michael’s church in the village.

Pam was well travelled, having visited Sally, a VSO teacher in Kenya in 1976. She and Eric adventurously spent a night in a small tent in a Game reserve, but Pam’s lasting memories were of the small nursery that gathered on the verandah of the Catholic Mission, providing food and early education to the children of the workers in the Sisal Factory nearby. Pam and Eric visited Sally and Jim in Brunei where they received the hospitality of the Sultan at his palace along with all the Bruneian citizens during the feast of Eid that marked the end of Ramadan. And at the young age of 82 she went riding on an elephant after attending the marriage of her grandson to his Thai wife.

She also enjoyed some memorable annual holidays over the years, camping and in villas in France, Spain, Italy and Croatia with children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. She was such a fit and active woman and only last summer she was swimming in the pool in Provence in the south of France with five of her Great Grandchildren.

In retirement Pam and Eric were fortunate in being part of a good group of friends and neighbours. One of the groups became known as Joan’s Dozen and led them on many short holidays around the country, and meals out and parties, including murder mysteries. This group continued to be supportive to each other as health declined in later years.

Having such a large family meant that she was not only present but often centre stage (where else?!) and making her own speeches at several of her Grandchildren’s weddings in Thailand, Hampshire, Sussex, Tuscany and Venice over recent years.

Back home, she enjoyed her garden all the year round from the appearance of snowdrops and crocuses in the front garden in January, through the delights of mid summer to the appearance of blackberries in the autumn.  It was a place of delight for all her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, whether playing table tennis, boule or swingball, climbing on the old climbing frame brought down from the North or simply having tea and cakes.

But most of all she delighted in her growing family and was always trying to keep up to date with the total number of children that made up her expanding unit of 42, which included 12 grandchildren and 12 ‘Greats’…….quite a legacy! She always took a keen interest in all of her family, in their education, activities, jobs and careers and was always there for them in any times of need. She was loved and held in the highest regard by them all.

Until October she and all her family were looking forward to celebrating her 90th birthday next April. Sadly this was not to be, but during the four weeks of her final illness all her family were able to visit, even from Thailand and Australia, and enjoy times with her at home that will be treasured.

The Mothers’ Union banner stood pride of place in church for the service, marking Pam’s stalwart support for the MU and longstanding membership.

Pam was a wonderful mother and good friend, a loving Grandma and amazing Great Grandma. Her death has left a huge hole for so many, especially her big family: we all miss her terribly. We'll always remember the warmth and generosity she showed not only to those she loved, but to complete strangers: everyone loved her. You couldn't take her anywhere without her having a good chat with whoever she met along the way…

It's an extremely sad end to a remarkable life. Unfortunately, pancreatic cancer rarely shows any symptoms until it's too late. Pancreatic Cancer UK says it's tough to diagnose, tough to treat and tough to research. That's why it would be good to support the charity to fund innovative research and provide support for others living with pancreatic cancer. 

To make an Online donation in memory of Pam please visit her tribute site at:


or alternatively by cheque payable to Pancreatic Cancer UK, c/o J Edwards Funeral Directors, 13 St George’s Walk, Waterlooville, Hampshire, PO7 7TU