Churchwoman with zest for life dies aged 86

Date: Monday 10th June 2019

A POPULAR member of the congregation and latterly the organist at Plumpton Parish Church, Audrey Doreen Wood, has died, aged 86.

The wife of Canon Keith Wood, she had served on the parochial church council there for 24 years, as treasurer since 1996.

Audrey was born in Kent in 1932 and evacuated to Staffordshire in 1940, away from the expected German invasion during the Second World War.

She won a place at grammar school while away, completing her education when returning to Margate after the war.

She was an active member of St Paul’s Church, in Margate, from the age of 16 and became a member of the parochial church council at aged 18.

She met Keith in the church youth club, they were confirmed together and married in 1957 just before his ordination in the Church of England.

They worked in parishes in East London, Basildon New Town in Essex, the South Yorkshire coal field, and Grasmere, before Keith’s final appointment as Bishop’s Chaplain in Carlisle.

Audrey has been described as “a typical vicar’s wife”. Not only did she run her own busy household with four children efficiently, but she involved herself in every aspect of church life, from visiting the sick and collecting for Christian Aid, to taking part in Women’s Fellowships, Mothers’ Unions, Women’s Institutes and other village activities.

She had a beautiful soprano voice and sang in church choirs and also with the Ambleside Choral Society and Cumbria Rural Choirs. Audrey loved teaching children in Sunday schools in her different parishes and was much loved wherever she lived and worked.

Many of the tributes received mention her dazzling smile, her enthusiasm for life and her care and concern for other people.

A joyful thanksgiving service at the funeral in St John’s Church, Plumpton, was led by Canon David Sargent.

John Bromley was the organist, Alan Pattinson read from the Gospel, and Audrey’s life was remembered by her husband and her eldest son.

She leaves behind her husband Keith, her four children — David, Christopher, Andrew and Elizabeth — and seven grandchildren.

As one of those at the funeral commented, “hers was a life well lived”.