'She could hold the crowd with her amazing tales of travelling the world': Tribute to a familiar face in Leamington and Warwick who remained fiercely independent right up until the end

Obituary to Edna Carter, written by Gavin Ash

Tuesday, 30th March 2021, 5:00 pm
Edna Carter

Many people will remember Edna Carter walking through Warwick most mornings to get her paper and a coffee.

Here is an obituary to her, written by Gavin Ashe.

There will be a funeral service on Tuesday, April 6 at 1.30pm for Edna Carter, nee Carlisle, who was born on March 21,1930 in Warwick.

Edna Carter

Many will remember the “old lady” (she did make nearly 91) who lived in the Lord Leycester Hospital and most mornings walked through town to get her paper and a coffee. Edna was an absolute credit to her generation and despite the hardships that the Covid lock down brought to her final year she never complained and remained fiercely independent right up until the end. Edna didn’t have any children but in the last 20 years she very much became our adopted Great Grandmother.

Her parents were Eric and Rose Carlisle, Rose was the youngest child of a family of nine and her maiden name was Donald. Her parents, Edna’s maternal grandparents, were born in Aberdeen, and her grandfather worked at Warwick Castle as a coachman.

Edna married Bill Carter in St. Mary’s Church Warwick in the Regimental Chapel on August 18, 1956. They had the Warwickshire Regimental Band playing at their wedding and a full guard of honour, something Edna was always immensely proud of. Till the end Edna loved nothing better than to put on a posh frock and have a party. We were lucky enough to have her 90th birthday party the weekend before the first lock down and when I suggest that we might cancel it because of the Covid Crisis she replied, “I stood on my mother’s doorstep and watched Coventry burn, no virus is going to stop my party!”.

After Edna and Bill married their first posting was at Bally Killough, Co. Down, Northern Ireland. They were there from 1956 to 1958 and it was during this time that one of Edna’s little adventures happened. As she put it herself “there was a little bit of trouble one night, so we loaded all the wives and children into a decorators van, put some blankets over everyone and I drove them out to the docks”. It turned out she was the only one who had a driver’s licence.

Bill was in service for 28 years and served in Ireland, Germany, Hong Kong as well as Birmingham and Leamington Spa and through this Edna got her love of travel. In the last 15 years she has regularly flown down to southern France for a summer break.

Despite his years of serving King/Queen and country Bill never had a British Passport and could not get one as he was third generation born in India, which was something Edna found immensely sad. At the time of the 50th commemoration of the battle Passchendaele when a memorial was going to be unveiled, Lord Montgomery of Alamein, who had known Bill’s father, George, tried very hard to get him a passport but only succeeded in getting him a temporary travel document which enabled him to be there. Edna loved the Montgomery connection and would talk about how “Montgomery” would take her little dachshund called Monty for a walk in the park and all the children knew Monty the dog but had no idea who the “old man” was. Edna went to Coten End Primary School in Warwick; the very same school that her father, Eric, had gone to! Amazingly, when well into her 70s Edna went back to Coten End Primary School as a voluntary reading assistant which was something that gave her huge happiness.

Edna spent most of her life working and loved her independence, in Germany she worked for the adjutant at Bindon Barracks, Hameln, which had been an SS barracks during the war. In Hong Kong Edna worked in a school teaching HK Chinese children English. She later worked for Wallwin Pumps in Warwick and used to travel to London frequently to collect the monies and have various papers signed. After retiring not only did she work as a volunteer reader, but she also did voluntary work for the Saint Mary's Choir, the local Conservative Association and loved to help at events in the Lord Leycester Hospital. For the past 20 years and more Edna has lived at the Lord Leycester Hospital.

She would be known to many by sight, but few could imagine what an interesting and well-travelled woman she was. At the dinner table she could hold the crowd with her amazing tales of travelling the world and in a crisis, she was always the first to volunteer to help. She will certainly be missed by our family.

Instead of flowers a donation to the Lord Leycester Hospital would be greatly appreciated.

By Gavin Ashe