Category Archives: Memories

My Mother, Pamela Stow

Our Mum

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.

My father, Brian Stow

Young Dad

Dad was born on 31st March 1922 in Edgware, Middlesex.

His parents moved to Totteridge in North London and Dad went to Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School, Barnet. He was very proud of his school, followed it throughout his life and was always a member of the Old Elizabethans. He left school at 17 to start work though today he would have been university material. He joined the Standard Bank of South Africa and was there until he was called up for war service.

Dad did not talk much about the war. He was in Royal Signals. He was shipped around and took part in the Allied invasion of Italy in July 1943, coming off a landing craft in Sicily carrying his radio. It is hard for us to imagine being thrust into such a situation under fire.

Dad’s duties included taking over telephone exchanges in Italy and monitoring. He had a natural ability for languages and picked up Italian from scratch. In later years, he took his “O level” after going to evening classes and he spoke Italian well, as Gloria and I observed when we went with the parents on holiday to Italy. Dad was also apparently able to pass for a native of Vienna, such was his German accent from his time after his transfer to Austria prior to de-mob.

When Dad returned to the bank in 1946, he met Mum, who had been working at the Bank for several years, being one of the young women who filled the gaps left by the men on war service. Mum and Dad were married in 1950 and were married for the best part of 67 years.

If I am honest, I should say that we children, Marion and I, did not see all that much of Dad during our childhood. He always seemed to be at work, which of course was for our benefit.  In those days he often worked on Saturday mornings, and went to the Arsenal on a Saturday afternoon. He was a season ticket holder at Highbury, as was his father until his death in 1964. Dad first went to Arsenal as a boy during the Herbert Chapman era. We spent time with Dad on Sundays because he took us to church at Stock, where we were in the choir.

In recent years Dad followed Arsenal on-line and also became quite good at on-line shopping.

Dad was quite sporty. For a time, he played for a local cricket club, opening the batting. One great memory was his taking a one-handed catch over his head while fielding on the boundary. I was most impressed.

Dad’s career at the bank saw him rise through the ranks to be senior in the Trustee Department. Then he became a Head Office inspector for the Standard Chartered Bank, so he then had the opportunity to travel the world from Djakarta to San Francisco and many places and offices in between.

Dad retired in 1982 and Mum and Dad moved from Billericay to Nayland in 1985. Dad joined the congregation here, where he remained until Sunday morning outings became too difficult. I know Mum and Dad were very happy with their new life in Nayland with the more rural environment and more room for all the dogs.

In the last year or so, I always tried to phone at 7pm every evening. Dad usually answered with a chuckle as he would have been waiting for the call. I do miss that.

Retirement meant that Dad had more time for everyone and showed more his kind and generous spirit. He was a thoroughly decent man and we will all miss him very much.

Brian Frederick Geoffrey Stow was born on 31st March 1922 and passed away on 30th July 2017.