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News  »  NICOLA BARCLAY-WATT, 1946 to 2018

   NICOLA BARCLAY-WATT, 1946 to 2018    1 June, 2018

We first met Nicola and Peter at a party in Toot Baldon some 45 years ago.  Within several days, Nicola had invited our young family around to their house to meet her children.  At the door, a beaming Nicola and hearty greeting, accompanied in the background by children’s happy voices, and Jamie the dog.  We were soon to find out that this was typical.  A warm and welcoming home with the door always open.


First and foremost, I think of Nicola as such a loving and supportive person:  as wife to Peter - they made a great team -  and as mother to their 3 children, together with the 15 children they fostered.  I once told her what a fabulous mother I thought she was.  “Oh!” she exclaimed, and replied in her usual self-deprecating way.  She welcomed into the family, with open arms, the children’s spouses and adored their 7 grandchildren.  She came from a big family and treasured the regular contacts with them. 


She had such energy and empathy with others, always honest and unselfish.  She spoke it the way it was, straight and to the point, with finely tuned antennae, dependable, a get on with it approach.  Her laughter unique and infectious.  Nicola never sought the headlines nor public recognition and all these qualities led naturally to her becoming interwoven in all aspects of village life. 


As a village school parent, she always participated wholeheartedly in all school activities.  She was a terrific all-round athlete.  I remember her competing in the mothers race on school sports day, and being narrowly beaten by another very competitive mum, but she got her revenge the following year; she was involved in the Mothers Union, she played the piano at village events and the organ in church, she sang in the choir, she was a fantastic hostess, helped with village fetes, she could knit and sew and knock up tasty dishes from anything; for many years there were discussion and bible study groups in their home – these groups had a profound influence on my life; she helped edit and produce the newsletter, she delivered meals on wheels, she coached children and adults tennis, she welcomed the new arrivals in the village and visited those who were sick or needed help; she loved music, reading, dancing, a good communicator who also acted as Peter’s private secretary and technology maestro.  The list of talents seemingly endless. 


Wherever Nicola was, whether in England, Scotland, up the Atlas Mountains, in New Zealand, Ethiopia, South America, wherever in this world, she felt nearby and that feeling of closeness will always remain with us. 


Graham Hobbins

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