Although brought up and having lived her first sixty years in Billericay, our Mum was born in 1925 in a nursing home in Sydenham in South East London, for which reason she supported Kent at cricket. This allegiance was reinforced by childhood family holidays spent at the Folkestone Cricket Festival where she was able to watch Kent and England cricketers at the top of their game and fooling around end-of-season.
I think Mum had quite a happy childhood with a Mum and a Dad who both liked animals, so there were always plenty of pets.
Like her sisters, Mum attended the Ursuline Convent School in Brentwood after starting out at the local one in Billericay. She was quite a talented violinist at school, passed her Grade 8 and might have gone further with this had it not been for the war.
Mum started commuting to the City during the War, a time when bombs were falling and while it must have been daunting, like everyone else she kept calm and carried on. She worked for the Standard Bank of South Africa, where she met our Dad when he was demobbed and returned to the bank in 1946.
Mum and Dad married in 1950 and she stopped work at that point and was soon expecting me. By November 1953 Marion was born and in 1956 we moved from our rented bungalow to a house in Billericay. We had a decent adjacent plot to, over the years, accommodate chickens, ducks and an allotment, and at various times we had a guinea pig, mice, goldfish, budgies and our first dogs.
Mum started work again on a part-time basis in about 1960, working for the Westminster Bank, initially in Brentwood after learning to drive, and then in Billericay. Mum then worked locally for an insurance company, moved up to the City, and worked for a merchant bank being a bookkeeper for investment trusts. She only stopped her second City career when her own mother became unwell and needed our Mum to keep an eye on her.
What about the dogs in general, and Shelties in particular? In 1962 on a day when Mum must have been off her part-time job, Marion and I were walking home from school for lunch when we came upon a Sheltie puppy running loose on the main road. With some encouragement she followed us home. Mum reported the finding to the police, but no one claimed her and after signing a police form we could keep her. We had been dog-less for a while at that point. As it happened, the breeder was local, had let the puppy go to a pet home, but as she had been lost, never transferred the puppy to the purchaser. After being referred by a friend she did identify Penny as the “lost” puppy and transferred ownership to Mum.
We had Penny for sixteen years and after we lost her in 1978 Mum and Marion acquired a Sheltie bitch to show, and that is how Stanydale Shelties started.
In 1985 around three years after Dad’s retirement, Mum and Dad moved to Nayland from Billericay, and to a more rural aspect with more room for the dogs, of which there have been quite a lot at various times including a number of Lhasa Apsos. Mum enjoyed showing the dogs with Marion and as a great animal lover loved watching the rabbits, deer, pheasants, partridges and many other birds in the garden almost up to the end. She also became a great horseracing enthusiast and was very knowledgeable about both flat and National Hunt racing.
Our Mum was a kind, considerate and generous soul. She had a long life, but just the same it is hard to be without her, when so often we still feel the need to tell her something.
Pamela Aileen Stow was born on 25th September 1925 and passed away on 27th September 2017.