Alice Leslie, who died on Easter Sunday 2007, peacefully at the
good age of 88 was a genuinely happy person, bright, slightly dippy, loving
and beloved by a happy family and a wide circle of friends.
Born in Hackney in 1918, her father died when Alice
was quite young, and, in a tough time for single mothers, Alice was placed in a residential school in
Ongar with her sister Lila and brother Walter. Alice
achieved a scholarship to the Blue
and went on to have a number of pre-war jobs whilst also attending night
Alice and Lila were initially in service, but soon found other
became receptionist for a Doctor in Harley Street!
During the Second World War, Alice
lived in London and was evacuated to Hampton Court
with her sister after their home had been demolished by a flying bomb as
they slept in an Anderson
shelter in the garden. Alice worked for the
Admiralty and visited Paris & Berlin after the
Alice & Keith
In 1947 Alice met Keith Leslie
at a dance at the Wooden Bridge pub in Guildford.
Keith’s family welcomed Alice
as the woman to bring him back from the war and provide a much-needed
anchor. She succeeded wonderfully.
They married in 1948 and had three children; Christine, Alan
and Andy. As the children grew up she was loving and understanding of
sometimes erratic lifestyles and the occasional shocks provided!
All her children remember Alice singing song such as “Wŭnderbar”
in the kitchen as she cooked up a Sunday lunch, her love of poetry, often
(mis)quoting “I am Queen Of All I Survey” or “I wandered lonely as a cloud”.
She was fond of reminding us all that “This is the day”, and then sending us out
to play whilst the housework got done.
Alice loved all her grandchildren – Michael,
Carl, Kim, Jan, Philippa, Simon and Daniel and was delighted when Michael
made her a great grandmother with the arrival of Dylan, upon whom she doted.
She also loved Vanessa and Corin, the children of her brother Wal, who sadly
had died when they were very young. Throughout their lives, Alice kept in close contact with Lila and
sons John & Peter and their families.
She and Lila went to many reunions of the people who had been at
Ongar with them, and was always glad to renew acquaintances from so many
For more than 50 years, Alice and Keith loved to visit Virginia Water
Castle, the rose garden at Hampton Court
Palace and Wisley R.H.S.
Gardens. The family
spent many Sunday afternoons at these places.
She was always busy, if not with the children, then with the Red
Cross, the WI and the Labour Party. She put great gusto into her life and,
when the kids were older, into her work, especially at British Gas. She was
very sociable and “dragged” Keith out on many occasions when he wanted to
She appreciated the gift of longevity in her retirement, enjoying
holidays abroad with Keith, going all over the world in their travels.
Alice and Keith celebrated their 50th Wedding
Anniversary on April 24th, 1998. It was an immensely happy day for
all the family and friends and a great party was held.
In August 2001 Alice
suffered a stroke and became partially paralysed. Keith looked after her
until just a few days before his death, in 2004.
After some time in Hospital, having suffered a broken hip, Alice moved to Abbey Chase Nursing Home in Chertsey, where she was regularly visited by family and
friends. She particularly liked their rose garden and enjoyed being taken
into Chertsey town for a cuppa, or along to the Thames,
where she and Keith had walked so regularly for so many years.
The family would like to thank the carers at Abbey Chase for everything
that they did for Alice, who appreciated their efforts.
Her parting words to Andy, when he visited the day before she
died, were of Keith, and her pride in the family. They, too, are proud of
Andy Leslie 17 April 2007