Testimony to the Grace of God in the life of


15.12.1920 – 15.8.2015

Evelyn was born in Clapham, London, in 1920 and was brought up in a strict Baptist family. Her brother became a Baptist minister. During the war, she worked as an auxiliary nurse, caring for wounded servicemen at Park Prewett Hospital near Basingstoke, where pioneering plastic surgery was undertaken, especially for those suffering from burns.

After the war, Evelyn worked for a time in the Ministry of Works, in a clerical capacity.

In 1948 she married Bob, who worked in publishing, and they had two children, Robert and Celia. In the 1960’s, now living in the Morden area of London, Evelyn made the decision to train as a teacher and, at the same time as bringing up her children, she studied at college to qualify. For the rest of her working life she taught in middle and upper schools, mainly in the London Borough of Merton. She specialised in RE and Special Needs teaching, eventually focussing on children with dyslexic problems.

It was whilst she was a teacher that she moved away from her Baptist roots, finding things rather too prescriptive, and was drawn towards Quakerism. She started attending Wimbledon Meeting and became a member in the mid 1970’s. Her contribution to the Meeting included taking on the role of clerk.

In 1986, Evelyn, having retired from teaching, moved with her husband to Stowupland in Suffolk. She transferred her Quaker membership to Woodbridge Monthly Meeting. During the thirty years that she was a member of Bury St Edmunds Meeting, Evelyn took a full part in its life, serving at times as elder, clerk and also librarian – books being one of her passions. As a school teacher, Evelyn knew the importance of being firm and methodical and she brought these principles to her work in Quaker affairs, but always in a loving way. In Bury Meeting, she initiated an evening study group and, later, pre-meeting study sessions on Sunday mornings. Even in recent times, after she had become physically too weak to get to Meeting, she would encourage Friends to meet at her home for silent worship and discussion. She continued to be passionately concerned about the welfare and spiritual health of Bury Meeting. Her wisdom meant that she knew when something needed to be said and when something was best left unsaid.

Evelyn read widely on Quaker matters and on spiritual matters in general. She engaged in correspondence with Friends both locally and nationally, discussing various issues, especially the future of Quakerism, about which she was often very worried. In one of her letters she said “I am afraid that Quakerism as I know it will die out, but […] I comfort myself with the thought that God’s spirit would always be active in the world in many other ways.”

Evelyn’s plain speaking, commitment and compassion will be remembered by many Friends and her Quaker life was an inspiration to all those looking for an example of the Grace of God.

Bury St Edmunds Quaker Meeting – December 2015