Just before Christmas we lost two stalwarts of S. Mary’s.  The following is my tribute to Elizabeth Burditt.  Next month I will produce a tribute to Norman Longley.

Elizabeth Winifred Burditt

11th July 1921 – 8th December 2020

Elizabeth’s early life was marred with tragedy, born in Swansea, both of her parents died leaving her orphaned at the age of 9.  Brought up by her uncle, this early upbringing instilled a strong sense of self survival and determination which endured throughout her life.

When I first met Elizabeth in 2009, it didn’t take long for us to get onto the subject of travel – a passion that both of us shared.  In 1947 Elizabeth, her husband (he worked for British American Tobacco) and their daughter Zanne moved to the Far East.  Bangkok was the first posting, followed by Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Colombo.  Having been posted to the Far East myself in 1969, we spent many hours reminiscing (usually over a glass or two of Tio Pepe) about that beautiful part of the world.  When I returned for a holiday in 2016, Elizabeth insisted I visit places known to her, and was keen to hear of the changes, especially in Singapore, where two of her children (Jane and David) were born.  She was amused that little appeared to have changed in Bangkok and Colombo!

Elizabeth had a wonderful command of the English language and had originally trained as a teacher.  While in Singapore she became the voice of the BBC Far Eastern Station, and due to the poor communications in those days, had the privilege of reading the Queen’s Christmas message over the air each year.  Elizabeth was a prolific writer and always kept Journal – knowing her sense of humour, I imagine this makes for very interesting reading!  Upon returning to the UK, Elizabeth resumed her teaching and became Principal of Eastbourne College of Domestic Economy.

Eventually settling in Buxted (her home for over 55 years), Elizabeth became an active member of S. Mary’s.  A member of the PCC and the Walsingham Cell, she always enjoyed the Cell House Group and would, when it was her turn to host the group, always provided ‘proper’ coffee and an endless supply of chocolate/ginger biscuits.  When Elizabeth’s mobility started to fail she was determined to continue playing hostess to the Cell, and was extremely grateful to receive House Communion from Fr. David until the pandemic restrictions made this impossible.

May she rest in peace.

With grateful thanks to David Burditt for filling in the gaps.

Colin Woolgrove.

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