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Family pay tribute to Frances Hughes
THERE was never a dull moment in the life of Winifred Frances Hughes, who has peacefully died at Basingstoke hospital after a short illness.
The mother of seven sons and grandmother of six was described by her son Stuart as “a lovely mum”.
He added: “She seemed to touch a lot of people over the years. Some said she was more of a mum to them than their own mothers. I’ll miss her organisational skills, her wonderful mind and all her memories.”
Hailing from Tottenham, London, Winifred Frances Goodbody, as she was called then, signed up on the day King George VI proclaimed that the Women's Auxiliary Terri-torial Service (ATS) was to be formed.
Known to friends as Frances, she was 19 when she signed up on September 9, 1938, with her friend Stella Marks to “offer their services,” as the war was brewing in Europe.
Shortly after war was declared on September 3, 1939, Frances was posted to the Central Ammunition Depot Bramley. At the camp, she worked as a storewoman in the HM Stationery Office, before transferring to Ammunition School of Instruction.
She left after three years when she married her late husband Robert, who was an instructor at the school.
One happy memory that stayed with Frances was when the King’s sister Princess Mary visited the camp and was amused by Frances’ nickname of Dusty.
After the war, Frances was stationed with her husband in Ger-many, Egypt and Cyprus with her growing family before returning to CAD Bramley in 1962 and moving to the Clarke Estate in 1968.
Robert, who had risen to the rank of major, became the chairman of the Basingstoke Royal British Legion in the 1970s.
They were among 10 parents who started the Winklebury Scout Group. Frances became a badge examiner and increased the numbers attending the group, opening up another pack and becoming Akela for 15 years.
The prolific letter writer, who had pen pals all over the world, also collected money for Deep Sea Fishermen, knitted blankets for the British Red Cross, and was an ardent supporter of the Royal British Legion (RBL), collecting poppy appeal money for 27 years for the Sherborne St John branch.
Frances was also a founding member of the Church of the Good Shepherd, in Winklebury.
Her funeral will take place at Basingstoke Crematorium tomorrow when bright clothes for a bright life are the order of the day with donations being made to the RBL instead of flowers.