Outlook 23
News and Views from St. Mary's Woodbridge
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A formidable woman
Pat Battye, a regular worshipper at St Mary’s, who died in December, was a citizen of the world. Woodbridge, Zimbabwe, the US and India were all stopping-off points in a 96-year life of meaning and significance. Pat came to live in Woodbridge in 1981 from newly independent Zimbabwe with only the possessions she could carry with her. She had been burgled twice and the Mugabe régime appeared to be closing in. We remember her as a neighbour, entertaining us with eclectic meals and full of commentary on the world and its ways. Colourful upbringing Born in Rawalpindi, Pat spent her childhood in India where she and her two siblings Vivien (‘Bin’) and Ian (who also both lived in Woodbridge) had a colourful upbringing: Hindu and Muslim servants, long hikes in the Himalayan foothills, curry and chapatti, and monsoon rains were all part of the experience. There were trips back to England, and Suffolk holidays by the seaside. At 15 Pat went to school in Norfolk and then on to London University, where she studied Modern Languages. This stood her in good stead for a posting to Bletchley Park, the main site for British code-breakers, in 1942. In 1943 she was moved to the now famous Hut 6 – think Enigma. After the war Pat’s continuing education included London’s LSE and the University of Chicago, while she also worked with newly recruited foreign workers at London Transport. She subsequently made her home in what was still Southern Rhodesia, working as a Social Welfare Officer in Bulawayo, including developing innovative programmes to make girl school-leavers more employable. Pat spent 25 years in Zimbabwe before coming to settle in Woodbridge, aged 61. With her, she brought a shining, intense personality, a burning intellect and highly regarded expertise in spinning, knitting and weaving. NC