Frances Thorne – tribute

In Memory of

France Thorne

14 . 09 . 1936 – 24 . 02 . 2005

Wick News March 2005 carried the following

“It is with great sadness that we record Frances’ death. Her funeral on March 3 at St. Teresa’s Church in Southwick, with the sun shining, was attended by many – including Wick members who remembered Frances for her years of energetic and enthusiastic work for the company. The basket-weave coffin was beautifully appropriate for someone who had always excelled in artistic and craft skills. It was great to see Frances at the Wick Dinner in January. She will be sadly missed from all our future activities. Our sympathies to Frances’ family and our gratitude that we enjoyed her company and contribution to the Wick for many years.”

Sheila Neesham wrote this appreciation.

“I did not really get to know Frances until I volunteered my services to the Wick Workshop as a painter. This was in the old small workshop, with very little space to spread out in any way. I remember that being a Courtroom drama [Beyond Reasonable Doubt] there was a lot of wood effect involved. Frances was very kind about my painting and did not seem put out that I was nervous of being very far up th high step ladder. She, herself, nipped up them and would stand on the top step if necessary, a small figure in the paint splattered outfit that goes with the job.

We enjoyed painting together, particularly when we could let our imaginations loose. You could not ‘see the join’ as our styles seemed to blend. Our friendship developed too. We went on a visit to Cornwall to see gardens and The Eden Project in its first year. She had her first cancer operation the following year and determinedly carried on with her many interests. When we went on our ‘Scratch card’ short trip to Paris, I was the one whose energy was flagging.

She introduced me to the world of quilting – she produced beautiful quilts and wall-hangings and I was amazed, when we went to a big exhibition, at the beauty and variety produced by women all over the world. We shared a love of beautiful fabrics even though we used them in diffeerent ways. Gardens was another shared interest and we visited several Sussex gardens and Garden Centres.

After her second operation, life became much more difficult for Frances but she never gave up on enjoying life. Loved and supported by her family she planned visits, staying with friends, atteded Sussex Quilters meetings and got the most out of life as possible.

I remember one day last summer we drove to the beach and she brewed a cup of tea, she had a gadget for every eventuality. She had an enthusiasm for life that was very infectious and never deserted her. Her determination and positive attitude to her illness amazed everyone including the doctors.

To quote her brother-in-law in the very moving obituary read at her funeral – ‘she was one strong little lady'”