Alice Latimer - In Memoriam

A tribute to Alice Latimer, whose funeral service takes place on Thursday 14th May at 12.30pm.  This tribute includes some words from members of our congregations and some pictures from the archives in a PowerPoint presentation.  Below is a longer tribute from the previous Vicar of the Parish, Stuart Millington, who knew Alice well:

Alice! What a wonderful lady. Once met never forgotten!

I first met Alice at my licensing to the parish back in 1999. This took place in the hall of the old Brandlesholme School. (It was on the site of the playground just above the shops on Brandleshome Road. The service had to be there as St Francis House was too small.) After the service I went over to meet a small group of elderly ladies and Alice was among them. She was clearly the "leader of the gang" and extended a really warm welcome to Jenny and myself.

I soon learnt that Alice was a life-long member of All Saints Church. Yes, she was sad when the old church closed - it held many fond memories for her - but she kept faith with the parish, transferred to worshipping at St Francis House and continued there as a loyal member of the Mothers' Union. She shared fully in the worshipping and social life of the Church and (as were many of her generation) was an enthusiastic fund-raiser enjoying nothing more than Spring and Christmas fairs and jumble sales!

By the time we met Alice had already retired from her work as a weaver. Yet, while only "half pint" in size, she had boundless energy and it was this that enabled her to become such a champion for the new church project. As you will know, many people were involved in this - some contributing considerable expertise as well as commitment. But, while not being involved at the planning level, Alice became what I can only describe as our "Captain Tom" in the project.

When fundraising began in earnest Alice determined to do her bit. She wrote a little booklet about her life both growing up in extreme poverty and her career as a weaver. Alice could tell a good story and her colourful life made a good read.

Alice's hope was to raise £100 from the book's sale. In the event she did so many times over. Not that she raised as much as Captain Tom, but she was equally inspirational to so many of us. Her enthusiasm for and belief in what we were trying to achieve never waivered.

When the Queen came to Manchester Cathedral to distribute her Maundy Money Alice was there. (We'd put her name forward as a recipient for the work she'd done in the wider community for many years running a lunch and social club for the elderly in Elton.) I've never seen anyone - not even a youngster on Christmas morning - so excited! She never stopped smiling the whole day, nor afterwards as she recalled her experience to anyone who would listen. And of course, many did, as she toured all the local organisations speaking about the day she met the Queen and showing the special coins she had been given. But, of course, typical Alice, she used these occasions to raise funds for the new church.

Alongside, underpinning even, all this activity there was Alice's simple yet unswerving faith. It was a delight to hear her read the lesson or prayers in church in her pure Lancashire/Bury accent. I also recall her coming with me on many occasions to give communion to a house-bound parishioner and her friend. Whenever I say the prayer "We do not presume..." I can still hear Alice saying it and the particular emphasis she put on certain sections of it.

I'd better stop now. You will gather from what I written it has been a delight and a privilege to have known Alice - as I'm sure it has for many, many people during her long life. I join with her family, everyone at All Saints and so may others in offering my sincere thanks to God for her.

Stuart Millington

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