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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

Summer 2019 issue

Bronwen Wood 1930-2019

After the war Mum qualified as a teacher after studying further in Aberystwyth and Padgate in Cheshire.

In the early 1950s she attended a ball at nearby RAF Pembroke Dock, then the largest flying boat station in the world. At the ball she met a dashing young Flying Officer from London named Thomas. They obviously hit it off because soon Mum would be travelling the 240 miles from Begelly to Tom’s parents in Catford, South East London on the back of his motor cycle dressed in one of his spare flying suits. A journey not to be undertaken lightly on the roads of those days.

On 24th October 1953 they were married in Tenby. By then her father, Ernest was working in a quarry following the demise of the Pembrokeshire Coalfields in the 1930s.

In February 1955 I put in an appearance.  Fortunately by then the motor cycle had been replaced by a Standard 8 Car! The family lived in a flat above Woolworths in Pembroke Dock where I celebrated my first birthday.

As Tom was subject to the requirements of the RAF we soon found ourselves living in Londonderry in an area called the Waterside. Not only did I start school there but my brother Christopher arrived in 1958.

In 1960 another move took us to Cornwall as Tom was posted to St Mawgan. I can remember the beaches and endless summers. I also gained a second brother Stephen.

Mum and Tom had further moves to Hullavington in Wiltshire, Uxbridge in London and Kinloss in Scotland where the Queen Mother was lucky enough to be introduced to Bronwen. I unfortunately missed this as by this time, I was away at boarding school. There is a photograph of this below, but being before colour photography became available to the family, it does not do justice to the vivid lime green hat Mum wore.

This is the Eulogy delivered by Bronwen’s Son, Mike Wood, at the funeral which took place at St George’s on Tuesday 30th April.

Bronwen was born in July 1930 at Stone Pitt, a small holding in Begelly, near Narberth in rural Pembrokeshire. She was the youngest of three children of Ernest and Sarah Powell. Ernest was a miner working the anthracite seams of the Pembrokeshire Coalfield. Bronwen grew up on the farm alongside her elder sisters Joyce and Nancy.

Bronwen studied hard and did well at school. This must have been difficult as the house had no electricity or running water.  The two bedrooms in the attic provided little privacy for study.  I can still remember the oil lamps and permanently lit kitchen fire in the 1960s. The fire did go out by accident one night and I still remember my Grandmother’s reaction – it really was the end of the world. I also remember the privy located in the field which was inhabited by the hens. Any call of nature meant negotiating with the very fierce cockerel!

After all this travel they finally put down roots in Portsmouth in the 1970s. After living for a short period in Kings Terrace they moved to Green Lane in Copnor.  Mum started teaching once again in Portsmouth, first in Portsmouth itself then at Solent Road Middle School in Farlington.  In the late 1970s Tom decided to retire from the RAF when he reached his early 50s. My parents found a lovely house in Ferndale just a short distance from Waterlooville and the move was set for summer 1981.

Unfortunately, my father Tom became ill as they were moving to Waterlooville and he tragically died in September 1981 just after the move was completed.

Mum continued her teaching career and became involved with St George’s Church where she was very active. She undertook voluntary work at Singleton Weald & Downland Museum. She also travelled abroad for the first time in her life and developed a particular passion for Italy. Her garden in Ferndale was a monument to her devotion and creativity.

However, after leading a full and active life dementia began to take its toll on her health in 2010. Her final years were spent in a care home in Harrogate where she slipped peacefully away in March this year to be remembered by all those who loved her.

Bronwen was a devoted wife and mother.  She is now lovingly re-united with Tom.