Date added: 9 Mar 2013
Alma Reed was born at Arcot Hall cottages in Cramlington, 10 miles up the road from Whitley Bay in Northumberland (now Tyne and Wear). During the war Alma was called up to join the Civil Nursing Reserve and cared for seriously injured servicemen at Hexham Hospital. At the same time, Ron Rollitt was posted to Whitley Bay with the RAF Regiment. One evening they met at a social event held at St John’s Methodist Church, where they later married in 1946. Having sampled the cold northern winters whilst stationed in Whitley Bay, Ron persuaded Alma to move to warmer southerly climes and they made their home in Watford, surprisingly close to the football team Ron supported!
Along the way came the three children. Kathryn who got up to mischief with her good friend Anne who regarded Alma and Ron as reserve parents and was known as “Annie Get Your Gun” by Ron. In later years Alma remembered how she had chased Michael and David down the garden with a cricket bat when they were naughty. To this day Michael swears it wasn’t him, just his brother!
The family remember annual holidays in Whitley Bay when Alma would take the chance to catch-up with her sister Jean 'up north'. The fact that Alma was a ‘canny lass’ is confirmed by the fact that there is no photograph of her in the freezing North Sea – she left Ron to take the children swimming.
Over the years, Alma returned to nursing and spent several years caring for patients in the burns unit at Mount Vernon Hospital. During this time the family grew to include grand-children and three great grand-children, each having their own loving memories of Alma.
Alan remembers being taken to the local shops with his Nan where she would treat him to some sweets, and then going back to her house to spend time in the kitchen making pastry and cutting out animal shapes and baking them. He also remembers being given jam sandwiches for tea after watching Watford play, whether they won or not.
Garry has happy memories spent on his own with his Nan on winter Saturday afternoons when it was dark outside and the garden sparkled with frost. The boiler was hissing in the kitchen keeping the house warm while Alma made one of her lovely Saturday teas. Garry was amazed that Alma could always find him a Shirley Temple film to watch using the power of a TV magazine which his parents didn’t have. Garry to this day is not sure why it was always Shirley Temple.
Rachel christened Alma “Mick’s Mum”, just because she was! Rachel fondly remembers the patience shown by “Mick’s Mum” through endless games of “shops” and “making mixtures” when Rachel had the run of the kitchen. No one could wish for a more loving relationship. The Shepherds Pie and Apple Crumble on Saturdays weren’t bad either!
You may have noticed a certain similarity in the memories of Alan, Garry and Rachel – all seem to revolve around Alma’s ability to provide fun, warmth and comfort.
Alma was baptised into the Methodist Church on April 7th 1925 and was an active member of the church until her mobility became restricted.
We have been fortunate enough to enjoy many family celebrations over the years, including many Christmas parties, which Alma loved. She cooked for us all until she was 70 when she handed on the responsibility to her children. The latest celebration with family and friends was Ron’s 90th birthday in September.
Everyone who knew Alma will have their own loving memories of her. She was steadfast, kind, loving and patient.