Priscilla – a neighbour’s view


They used to say that people bought houses for the kitchens and bathrooms, and they now say that it is for the gardens. We bought Ypres Lodge because of the neighbour, Priscilla Ryan.

The footprint of Priscilla’s family was pervasive. Her father built the house, her brother Paul lived in it for many years and, when we look out of the front windows, we see the iconic war memorial designed by her grandfather, Sir Reginald Blomfield.

Good neighbours help make an enjoyable and stimulating life and in that respect we were very privileged. Priscilla was an exceptional person in terms of her energy, her creativity and her continuous search for knowledge and understanding. She had a huge love for her family and was rightly proud of them all.

We were aware that the renovation of Paul’s house caused her much inconvenience and were very grateful that she just accepted it. She would often call up for a chat and they were always enjoyable.

On occasions Madeleine would assist with her care and there was always a card or small gift through the letterbox the next day.

She was passionate about the grass area at the front of the house and it used to upset her when it was covered in vehicles so between us we bought benches and planted flower tubs around the perimeter and like magic it went back to being used by people passing by.

She was also a massive fan of the Rye Arts Festival and all those who work to put it on each year so my involvement in this gave us much to talk about.

Living next to Priscilla has been a joy and we will miss her very much, but we will console ourselves by our many happy memories.

We also would like to recognise the amazing way in which her family, her carers, Debbie, Shireen and others ensured that she could remain in her own home surrounded by all the memories of her life and remain a valued part of the Rye community until she passed away.

Image Credits: Rye News library .

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  1. When I think of Priscilla I am minded first of the song Joybringer by Manfred Mann Earth Band, as wherever Priscilla went she brought joy and she brought life. Her genuine enthusiasm was infectious and a delight to just be in a room with her.

    I then recall an occasion. May 2017 and in the Tilling Green Community Centre Councillor Jonathan Breeds was hosting his post Mayor Making party.

    After an afternoon of lovely music largely enjoyed by a seated audience, the headline act came on – the Gum Boots Reggae Band. And almost immediately Priscilla threw aside her stick, days after her 90th birthday, and hit the dancefloor! Song after pulsing song Priscilla was skanking like a youngster at a dancehall shebeen in St Mary Parish, Jamaica. Her joy at the rasta rhythms spread through the hall and a hot night of dancing ensued as Priscilla lead the Uptown Top Ranking right through the evening!

    A joy that will always remain with me!

    Thank you Priscilla.

  2. My first husband and I came to Rye /Iden in 1989. Priscilla became known to us when we were on the Rye Festival Committee. She and John were always so friendly and supportive.
    Now that my second (and last!) husband Christopher and I are back living in Iden we will miss the opportunity to see her cheerful face and be greeted with a ‘Hello Sheila dear!’ There is a big Priscilla shaped hole in Rye. One of a kind!
    Best wishes to her family.


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