1953 Ann Popplewell R.I.P.
Ann Matthews (nee Popplewell) (1938-1978) – My sister Ann was nearly six years older than me so our time at Mayfield never crossed over. She was like a second mum really and, like all little brothers, I got on her nerves, but we did become very close as I grew older. Our parents were originally from Ilford but moved away before the War as our dad looked to find work as a journeyman carpenter. Our elder brothers Roy and John, who preceded us at Mayfield, were born in London, Ann was born at Bognor and myself at Portsmouth. A few months after our grandma was killed by the V2 rocket that destroyed the clock tower in South Park, in November 1944, we moved as a family back to the Popplewell home at 13 Buckingham Road. Roy started school at Mayfield, John and Ann at South Park, where they remembered the air raid sirens and bomb shelters, and I was just a babe in arms. Ann moved to Mayfield from South Park in the autumn of 1949 and stayed until 1953. She was never an academic, always in the lower streams, but possessed a great deal of common sense and, despite her lack of academic success, she actually had a poem, written especially for the Coronation, published in the Ilford Recorder or Pictorial. She worked in an office when she left school, married in 1960, to Peter Matthews, and moved down to Fareham in Hampshire with Peter’s work. They had four children, Steven, Tina, Nichola and Karen but in 1970, just a year after Karen was born Ann was diagnosed with breast cancer. Without the availability of modern day treatments she had a battle on her hands and, despite two mastectomy operations the cancer could not be contained – spreading to the bone and just about everywhere. The brave battle, survival driven largely by the desire to see her children attain some level of independence, was finally lost in the Spring of 1978 still a couple of months short of her 40th birthday.
– Mick Popplewell
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