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Tribute to Phyl Saw

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Phyllis Violet Saw, who was always known as Phyl Saw, lived in Haddenham for more than 30 years, died on 18 October. She was born on 14 January 1927 in Lee Road, Aylesbury to William and May Ladyman, the fourth of eight children. When she was six months old the family moved to Hartwell where she grew up and attended school in Stone.

Her first job, at the age of 14, was as a maid at Woodford's farm earning the grand sum of 7 shillings and 6 pence per week. She then became nanny to three girls at Chilborough Farm. During war Phyl worked at Tindal Laundry and also did fire-watching from the Odeon cinema in Aylesbury. At the age of 18 she began her caring for others with one year's training at Tindal Hospital outpatients, but following an operation on her back was off for a long time before returning to the hospital.

It was on her bus journeys to Aylesbury that she met Doug, a research chemist at Westcott, and they were married on 17 July 1948 at Stone Parish Church. They settled in Southcourt, Aylesbury and brought up their three children: Adrian, Kevin and Cheryl there. Phyl continued to work with young children, firstly on nights at St John's Hospital for four years, then on nights at Stoke Mandeville Hospital, then later at Oxford speedway track as a waitress, whilst also helping out at 3rd Aylesbury Scout Group. Phyl and Doug were married for over 41 years until his death on 7 March 1990.

Having gone to college to retrain in secretarial work Phyl began working for the service department of New Holland in 1967 — taking all the young service reps under her motherly wing — and giving certain individuals an occasional cuff round the ear! She remained there for 18 years.

After passing her driving test, Phyl discovered the Keep Fit Association and enjoyed many years with them making new friends at classes and rallies, and even performing at the Royal Albert Hall festival twice. She went on to become chairman of Bucks KFA in 1981 for three years, represented Southern Counties from 1984-1987, became Regional Secretary for Southern Counties from 1987, and was made a life member of Bucks KFA in 2002.

Phyl and Doug moved to their new bungalow in Dollicott, Haddenham in December 1983. Once there she continued to care for and help others. This began with fitness exercises for the elderly at various day centres and clubs in the Aylesbury area. Then came the establishment of Hartwell Day Centre which Phyl ran for several years. She moved on to running Long Crendon Day Centre, until finally retiring in 2002 after 16 years working, and raising £12,000 for them. As well as running the centres, Phyl organised and fund-raised many day trips and outings — that tombola drum was in and out of her car very often!

She was a founder member of Haddenham Age Concern and was a committee member from 1985 until 2011. During that time she was an active helper at the Friday Coffee Stop and the Luncheon Club, ran a befriending scheme and held charity open days from her bungalow (which also benefited the St John of Jerusalem Eye Hospital Group). She also became secretary for a local arthritis care group, supported the Thame branch of the National Association of Widows, as well as mental health and relatives' support groups in Aylesbury, helping people with Alzheimer's and their carers. In addition she helped on the rota at Haddenham Museum: she was a member of the Haddenham Darby and Joan Club and Haddenham Witchert Women's Institute, and a keen member of the Witchert Warblers (the WI's singing group).

Although never wanting to be in the limelight, calling herself a "back-roomer", her dedication was in fact recognised: in 1996 she was nominated for a "Women in the Community" award, and in 1997 she received a Help the Aged Golden Award for service in the community. In 2002 she received a Queen's Jubilee "Carer Award" presented by the Lord Lieutenant for Bucks. In 2004 came an "Outstanding Achievement" award from a Chilterns voluntary organisation; and in 2011 she was named by AVDC as the runner-up for their "Volunteer of the Year" award for her extensive work with a number of organisations. That award was presented to her by the council's chairman Cllr Derrick Isham (see picture).

Phyl's other loves included her beautifully kept garden and, due to her independence, she was not averse to cutting down tree branches or digging out huge bushes herself! Then she would light a huge bonfire in the orchard. She loved music: going to country and western concerts, and indeed once queuing to get an autograph from Daniel O'Donnell! She loved to travel and went to Ireland, Malta, Spain, several "turkey and tinsel" weekends and made three trips to Australia — the last time being at the age of 74.

Her biggest love was for her family in whom she took great pride, always being there for them. She loved seeing her grandchildren and great-grandchildren — she is remembered for playfully chasing them with a fly swatter!

In 2013 Phyl moved to Whitchurch to live with Kevin and Rachel but still being independent and not ready for a quiet life she moved back to Haddenham to live at Woodlands. She could be seen around the village on her buggy, meeting her friends. Indeed her strings of many Christmas cards were evidence of all the friends she had made.

Sadly, after breaking her wrist and with increasing frailty Phyl moved to Lakeside Nursing Home in September 2014.

Phyl is survived by and dearly missed by: her brother William, sister Ruth, children Adrian, Kevin and Cheryl and their spouses Janet, Rachel and Keith, 12 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

Always a very sociable and determined lady Phyl's caring attitude can be summed up in her own words from 2002 — " I have no intention of giving up anything yet — still lots of energy and things to do".

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