Born in London, April 12 1927. Died in Rye, July 8, 2020
Many of us have fond memories of Priscilla Ryan, who died peacefully at home in Rye on July 8. Born Priscilla Blomfield, she came from a family with strong links to the town.
She spent much of her childhood in Point Hill, a rambling house just outside Rye built by her grandfather Sir Reginald Blomfield, who also designed the memorial Cross of Sacrifice in the churchyard of St Mary’s. Her father Austin, another architect, designed a number of the houses that were built in Rye in the wake of wartime bombing.
Priscilla and her husband John moved into one of these houses in 1987 and spent the rest of their lives enjoying Rye, with her brother Paul living next door.
Priscilla had a strong sense of right and wrong, was very conscious of her responsibility as a member of the community and followed her family’s traditions as a steadfast parishioner of St Michael’s, Playden and was an unfailing supporter of many local causes and initiatives.
She was particularly proud of her fundraising work for the RNLI, which started when she was 18, but really took off here, reaching its highest point when she was awarded the Institute’s gold medal, with a bar added later.
Her outstanding contribution to life in Rye was recognised in 2018 when, to her surprise and delight, she was made freeman of the town. The ceremony – and the party that followed – will long be remembered by her friends and family.
Priscilla’s husband John was famous as the creator of books and films for children, and she supported him with love and loyalty, as well as being an essential member of his creative crew. A gifted and successful artist in her own right, she was a long-term member of the Tuesday Painters who regularly showed – and sold – her drawings and paintings at exhibitions in Rye and elsewhere.
Priscilla’s sense of duty was complemented by her great kindness and sociability: the ease and grace with which she made friends, her complete lack of social snobbery, her glorious enjoyment of a good party and her efforts to ensure that everybody else should enjoy it too.
The loving care that she received in her last years was a reflection of her care for others throughout her life. The same qualities, as well as her unfailing generosity, her courage, wit and zest for life, continue to inspire not only her many friends, but also the large family which she cherished and which cherished her.
Image Credits: Ryan family .