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Tribute to Hugh & Tricia Stradling

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Hugh & Tricia Stradling

This month sees the departure from Haddenham of Hugh & Tricia Stradling, as they relocate to enjoy the rest of their retirement based much closer to their children and grandchildren.

Their move will be a very sad loss to the village, as they have both contributed so much to our community for well over 40 years. If ever there was a lesson in how to contribute actively to village life, Hugh & Tricia have been wonderful examples.

Listing all the ways in which they have been part of the Haddenham community leaves us open to the risk of missing out many of the less obvious, behind the scenes ways in which they have offered support and encouragement to others; but here are a few headlines:

Tricia's contributions as a school governor and other school inputs, a key role in the life of the local Anglican Church and Churches Together in Haddenham, organising the annual Youth Music Festival and other 'Friends of St Mary's Church' fundraising events, playing an active role in the Knit & Natter group at the library, and offering a crucial pastoral role that has touched the lives of many young parents. Tricia also knitted two amazing Posadas (soft toys) which are passed around Haddenham families during Advent: figures of Mary and the donkey and Joseph. On Christmas Day they would then be joined by Jesus. Young children have loved looking after them! Tricia has also played a significant role in fundraising for the Syrian Family Project.

Beyond the village, Tricia (a qualified doctor) worked for many years at the breast clinic in Stoke Mandeville, a role in which her caring and compassionate qualities shone through.

Likewise, Hugh's list of community activities are extensive and have included his professional role as a GP, a prime mover in the provision of the Community Vehicle, a builder of harpsichords and a restorer of pianos, his lay leadership role in the local church and, as host alongside Tricia, of marriage preparation workshops and many delightful musical evenings, providing enchanting, sophisticated entertainment to audiences gathered in their home-based music studio.

From Dr Mark Howcutt
Dr Hugh Stradling has served the patients of Haddenham as a GP for over 30 years.  Over that time, he developed several invaluable special interests which enhanced patient care, including palliative care, travel medicine and medical education.

He led the move of the practice to the current purpose-built building which enabled a range of new services to be provided locally for patients. His hard work on this project secured the future of the practice and represents a lasting legacy. 

As a GP trainer, he trained a whole generation of doctors to become GPs and as a result of his knowledge, his influence is being felt far beyond the bounds of Haddenham. Hugh was always encouraging of young doctors and generous with his time, helping trainees to develop the knowledge and skills required to make a real difference for communities. 

Perhaps less well known was his support of doctors across the Thames Valley in his role as an appraiser for GP annual appraisals and as a coach supporting doctors in need of guidance or retraining during their careers.
Since retirement he has remained a good friend to the practice, providing support and wise counsel to the team through difficult times.  Personally, Hugh was my trainer and then my professional partner and will always remain my mentor and my friend.

From Rev Nancy Wallace
Hugh and Tricia have a gift for friendship, from which many people in the village have benefited, including my husband and me.

We became friends when they were among the first to welcome our family to St Mary's church in 1977. Our friendship will continue, but their presence in the village will be a huge loss to many.

They are both caring compassionate people who live out their Christian faith in practice. They were an obvious choice to be godparents for our youngest child. When our children were young we shared self-catering family holidays with them and their children, as well as church house-parties, with a lot of fun as well as serious times.
Hugh was helpful in encouraging my piano playing and participating in a former music group in the church. He and my husband enjoyed woodworking activities together and mutual support. I have found Tricia to be an excellent listener in times of need. I am so grateful for her warm and prayerful friendship. Hugh and Tricia's move away from here will leave a huge hole in the village and in our lives.

From Revd. Trish Mander on behalf of Haddenham St. Mary's C. of E. Church
Hugh and Tricia have been members of the St. Mary's Church family since they settled here 45 years ago, and have faithfully served and encouraged the church's fellowship throughout that time. Much as Nancy has described above, Hugh and Tricia warmly welcomed my own family when we moved to the village in 1979, and we have been thankful of their loving friendship and support ever since.

In those early days they were already leading and encouraging others in their faith journeys, but also in all the practicalities of life. A very special memory I have is when Hugh and Tricia hosted a music and poetry evening on the theme of 'The Seven Ages of Man', and that title is perhaps a good way of thinking of Hugh and Tricia's involvement in the life of the church.

They have led, participated, inspired and enabled in everything from baptism; to connecting with young parents and toddlers; to children's work; to encouraging teenagers and young adults; to marriage preparation; to parenting and family life; to all the richness of maturing in faith and life — growing in self-awareness — discovering giftings; to care for the elderly; and support for the long-term sick; and lovingly caring for and supporting those approaching the end of life.

They have served the church family in all these ways with commitment, thoughtfulness and grace, but as the other contributors bear witness to, Hugh and Tricia's ministry has been to the whole community, with their faith as its source and mainstay. I know one of their considerations, and indeed, one of the hallmarks of their ministry, has always been in raising up the next generation, always enabling others ready for handing on the baton. We cannot thank them enough for their part in handing on all those batons!

We shall miss them sorely, but they go with our love and hopefully with the knowledge that they will always be a part of the St. Mary's Church family and its continuing story.

From Tony Belgrove on behalf of Friends of Haddenham St Mary's Church
Tricia Stradling's involvement with St Mary's Church  was not limited  to her spiritual  journey and her service to its congregation.  She was also very involved in the heritage and the preservation of the church building.

Tricia was a leading proponent in the creation of 'Friends of St Mary's Church'. She took a very active part in its launch in 2011 and served its cause in a number of capacities  including chairing the committee for a number of years; helping organise and fronting fundraising events such as quizzes and the annual Youth Music festival; and recruiting support from her many contacts throughout the village.

From Neil Dury on behalf of the Community Vehicle project
Hugh Stradling was the creative force behind "Carrie" the Haddenham Community Vehicle, having lobbied for funding and being a prime mover in its acquisition and in organising its technical revisions specifically for wheelchair users. His ideas and enthusiasm led to the launch of the service five years ago, providing free transport for dozens of people in Haddenham and surrounding villages who would otherwise be unable to travel.

Hugh has Chaired the group responsible for offering this important service and his contribution will be very much missed.

In recognition, the Community Vehicle committee unanimously agreed to his becoming Honorary President of the HCV group.

A 'Thank You' to Haddenham — From Hugh & Tricia

After 45 years almost to the day since we moved to Haddenham, we are on the move to pastures new. Our time here has been so rich it is hard to see how we could even think of moving away from so many friends and resources. But our three children and four grandchildren are all up north (in Liverpool, Widnes and Halifax) and to prevent too many more journeys on the M6 or M1, we must move closer to them.

So a very big thank you to everyone we have shared space with over these years — you will always be in our memories. We have so valued our church community, village schools, musical fraternity, medical contacts, young families, woodworking friends, Community Vehicle connections, U3A and the many folk we just stop and chat with on street corners. It would be difficult to find a better place to have brought up a family and been able to exercise our careers.

Thank you for having us — our prayers are with you.

Hugh & Tricia Stradling