It was no surprise to me to learn that Annie White enjoyed her school years which included dramatic roles in school plays and other activities including singing solo in front of her peers. Surely a pointer to her outlook and later interests in adult life.
Annie met husband to be Walter on one of his cycling jaunts, an interest in which he excelled and was able to encourage Annie to take part. The activity opening up new vistas for them both – its reported that she claimed to be slowest uphill but always first on the downward sections. They never lost the desire to venture abroad later in life enjoying the amateur dramatic, choir, and church trips in addition to family holidays.
She took up employment in the school canteen after Walter had suffered a serious injury working underground, and it is here where I learned the art of being good mannered and polite to all school dinner ladies and in particular Mrs Carter in order to obtain bigger helpings – it did work.
Ever an active contributor to village life, Annie was a member of the cricket club ladies section helping with teas and fund raising, this, introducing her to becoming one of the organisers and players of the ladies XI where she turned out as stumper. Again, I wonder if she remembered the miserable 12 year old (me) who had been dragged along with his mother to away games to watch ladies playing cricket !!!!!
Annie was also a member of the British Legion and in particular enjoyed the weekly ladies night. Her schoolgirl desire for the footlights ensured that she also took part in the village amateur dramatic productions, she claimed that she always got the part of the maid.
Perhaps her biggest contribution to this village was the different and often arduous roles she played over the years in support of the church. Starting with the then recently built St Margaret’s church, she followed her mother taking on caretakers duties which involved scrubbing the floors, cleaning the silver and brasses and laundering and ironing the vestments (including stoking up the boiler for the 9am service and following evensong). Along with this came responsibilities with the church hall for whist drives, and other village functions, in addition Annie played her part in the Mothers Union.
Annie was up to date with all matters concerning the Church, however in the early months of 1985 there was one very important subject that she knew nothing about which some of those around her were fully aware of.
All was revealed when the postman delivered a letter bearing the Royal Coat of Arms inviting her to Ripon Cathedral in order to receive Maundy from her majesty the Queen. After getting over the shock and modestly deferring the award. Annie, I’m pleased to say, reverted to type asking what she should wear and what she might wear and in general completely looking forward to the whole ceremony.
Well, she did select the right outfit, she practised the curtsy and come the day (its always Thursday) she was able to take in the whole procedure along with Walter (in his new suit). Annie’s words to the Queen were “Thank you Ma’am” and she later commented on how flawless the Queen looked with sparkling eyes and a lovely smile, Annie described it all as wonderful.
Proud daughter Elaine, after the occasion stated that she did not know anyone as selfless as her mother who had served and given of herself all her life, Elaine added the her mother fulfilled all the requirements to qualify for Royal Maundy.
No argument there Elaine.