Frankie Walker remembered
By Denzil Walker
Frankie and Colin Walker arrived at The Lee at the beginning of the 1970s, when she immediately became closely involved with village affairs (serving as secretary for many years with The Old Church Trust, The Lee W.I. and the old Parish Magazine) and formed many lasting friendships. She would frequently exclaim how lucky she felt to be part of such a close and friendly community.
Frankie was born in 1915 in Wolverhampton. After school she worked at Barclays Bank in the town and also joined the Tettenhall Players where she would later meet her husband Colin. As a mother bringing up a young family during the wartime bombing raids she developed those irrepressible qualities in adversity that were forever the hallmark of her spirited optimism and selfless generosity.
It was after the war that Frankie began to write professionally. It wasn’t long before her 12-part adventure serials became a regular feature of The Guide magazine and her monthly puzzle stories for Cadbury’s C-Cub comic entertained a generation of post-sweet-rationed children. Encouraged by John Arlott she exchanged poems with him and was chosen to be Godmother to his son. Only recently she was thrilled to win a national W.I. poetry competition – to the delight of The Lee Institute.
Mention must also be made of Frankie’s distinguished genealogical research into her mother’s family of Hadley and Adley. Her scholarly and original investigations culminated in an accomplished compilation (complete with a hero, a blackguard and a crime passionel), which led to a constant worldwide correspondence with far-flung co-descendants, on top of her usual committed writing to friends and family. There was always a letter on the go until her final season, ever concerned for those she loved.
Finally, fittingly, we end with Frankie’s love of The Lee Old Church. Involved with the Trust’s restoration from an early stage, she tended its archives and sanctity with a very personal care. The Parish hassock, the fresco histories and the hanging of the Millennium Bell were but part of the family’s contribution to this sacred spot. Now she has joined Colin in its hallowed ground, just a day after his birthday. She always was jolly good at birthday parties.
Requiescant una, coniuncti in pace.
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