Some Memories of Iris Wilson - Page 1
When Alan Fairbourne and I became Wardens it was because we had some problems within the church, so we took advice from the Archdeacon and he said ‘always start with prayer‘, so we set up a prayer group for most Sunday evenings and Iris was one of the first to join. None of us had done anything like it before so over the weeks we got to know each others depth of faith and share and grow in faith with one another. Lynda has reminded me that when I set up the first Prayer Partners scheme, Iris was one of the first to join and was Lynda’s first partner who she visited on her way home from school.
I’ve tried to remember when I first met Iris and I can’t, she was one of those who would chat to anyone especially to those on their own and make them welcome. The Church of England seems to have women that were and are the backbone of the local church an St. John’s was and is no exception, especially in the ‘mission of hospitality‘. Iris belonged to that group, some of those I remember were Mrs Clarke and Florrie Evans, Billie Wingrove and with Iris, Connie Taylor and Dorothy Candy along with many others, some from Women’s Fellowship but most from the Mother’s Union.
St. John’s was well known for its ‘spreads’, a sort of faith with cake, at all sorts of occasions, no one went hungry. We did have a lot of social events in those days. When I was part of it, Iris and I would meet for a few minutes, work out what was needed and then Iris would mobilise her ‘team’ ( that would include Cliff ) and it all happened and my memory is that it all happened with a lot of chat and a lot of laughter.
Iris was a good supporter of the Mother’s Union an we used to joke about the St. John’s Mothers Mafioso and watch out when you saw all the M.U. members carrying violin cases. Iris’s sense of humour could be irreverent and naughty with a twinkle in her eye (she did have two, eyes that is), while Cliff just smiled. Cliff and Iris were married at St. John’s for just over 56 years and they had five children, most played a part at St. John’s before they moved away. John stayed with them as they grew older, and he also stayed at St. John’s. Iris would talk about her days as a girl and then as a mother, it wasn’t an easy life but she would give us her happy memories.
St John the Baptist
Serving God and the Community of Leytonstone for 180 years
Some Memories of Iris Wilson - Page 2
It must have been a struggle for her and Cliff with five children at that time. Like all parents they were pleased and proud of their children, especially when they returned for family get togethers and they could not stop telling us when there grandchildren started going to university and getting married. They loved their children and grandchildren deeply.
We met Jean, her long time friend. when she came to visit and were always given Jean’s news in Canada and I can remember Iris talking about Cliff and her visit to Jean and the sheer enjoyment of Canada and their first flight and then her following visit to Canada and the U.S.A.
I could fill a whole magazine with memories of Iris, I’m sure Ian Boyce could fill more as he felt that Iris was a second mother to him. She liked people, she cared for people, she kept her friends close and openly shared her life with others and it came with dogs and cats and Eccles cakes.
So here are two last memories. She loved a great deal of sport, so when the Olympics came to London – even Stratford — she was up for it. so Iris, John Lynda and I spent lots of time swapping details of our visits to the Olympics and how much of a joy it was for her and with a twinkle she said ‘her wheelchair got better seats’. The last time we sat together was at the ‘Vicars interview day’ this year. With Paul and Stephanie Deudney, we sat together all afternoon sharing memories and news.
Even then Iris was telling us that she had been on a ‘posh train’ where she had sat on a sofa for the journey and she had photos to prove it, as John showed us. No one seemed to want to go home.
Like a lot of people I’ve known at St. John’s it has been a privilege and joy to know both Cliff and Iris with a lot of fun at times with lots of good memories and some sad. Lets just remember that because of them and many like them, St. John’s continues as a working church. Cliff’s smile and Iris’s twinkle were Gods blessings.
Some Memories of Iris Wilson - Page 3
One more memory: Iris said she always thought that the start of Christmas was seeing the old Christmas crib (in the church children’s area) and the lighting of the first candle with the first Christmas prayer. ‘Always start with prayer’.