A life well-lived

Alice had lots of friends and interests, many of which lasted throughout her life. She enjoyed an active social life and her interest in travel, books, music, politics continued well into her 100th year.

School reunions

School frinds reunited 

Long after they left school, Alice’s cohort of friends from Central Foundation for Girls, Spitalfields, met up every 4 years. They travelled to Leeds, Chichester, Bromley, Berkshire, Hampshire and maybe further afield for regular reunions from 1976 onwards especially in the 1990s.  Alice outlived all the others.

How I met Alice

Marlene McAndrew writing in 2021

In my twenties I joined the London Youth Choir, a left-wing choral group led by John Hasted.  One very active member was Wendy Edwards neé Corum,  and through Wendy I met Alice, who was not then a choir member.  Wendy and Alice had met when travelling to start teacher training and immediately struck up a friendship which was to last all their lives.

 I met Alice occasionally at Wendy’s house in Tottenham and at first found her rather formidable! She seemed a strong personality who had little time for wimps, of whom I suppose I was one! But over the years we seemed to change; Alice became gentler and I hope I became less of a wimp, and our relationship developed into a friendship.

Marlene McAndrew, Wendy Corum and Alice together at a wedding in 1992

Alice was interested in all the arts, but particularly in physical movement, especially mime and dance, participating in and latterly forming a folk dance group for Hackney U3A, whose members were very enthusiastic and saddened when she was  obliged to give it up.

Foreign Travel was also one of Alice’s enthusiasms, particularly to what might be called “challenging” places. During the time I knew her she spent holidays in Viet-Nam (including descending into the tunnels which were used during the war), India, and boating along the Amazon. I recall she also went  to the West Indies with other teachers who wished to learn of the background of many of their pupils and their families.

Alice had a particular quality which is rare: she was a good listener, always showing great interest in what others said. That is why right to the end of her life she continued to make and retain friendships with people of all ages.  

In latter years we became real friends; Alice regularly visited us on Sundays for a meal and Scrabble, and when the journey become too strenuous for her, John and I went over to her house most Sundays for tea and a game. My great regret is that during what were to become her last months we were unable to see each other because of Covid-19 and although I rang her frequently her hearing loss made conversations very difficult. It will be a long time before I can get used to the fact that Alice isn’t there on the other end of the phone!


A recording of Alice recalling a trip in a Trabant with one of her East German friends to visit the iconic Berlin Wall (constructed 1961 demolished November 1989).


Visiting friends in Turkey, summer 2014. Photos Zena Sullivan

Old friends

Alice  loved to go to Spain in January and I took her advice on sunshine in winter and went to the same hotel and enjoyed her company , and friends. Her and Mavis were an exuberant pair and led the dancing with laughter and joy. It was Alice’s free dancing that we all loved and joined in with gusto. The other photo was taken at Sky Garden in London and a part of a very pleasant day visit to meet up, have a chat usually about books and politics and memories.I shall miss her but gladly remember the good times.  Gwyneth Corum