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Shirley Thompson died at the age of 73
A WOMAN who was a popular figure in Guiding, and a well-known personality in the Kingsclere area, has died at the age of 73.
Shirley Eugenie Lilian Thompson, 73, of Ecchinswell, died on September 2 at Basingstoke hospital after a brief illness which she fought bravely.
Diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma in May, she appeared to recover well, but despite a determined fight, she was ultimately too weak to overcome bronchopneumonia.
Shirley, the only daughter of Eugenie and William Smith, was born in Falmouth on December 31, 1938. She was 22 months old when her father enlisted and she was not to see him again until she was six. She attributed her long association with birds and animals to a solitary early childhood, and the companionship of chickens.
Having attended Kingsclere School, Shirley went to secretarial college. She worked first as a nanny to the horse-racing Hastings-Bass family, before taking up a post at AWE.
Guiding played a major role in her life and she was part of the Girl Guide Association for more than 50 years, first as a Girl Guide herself and later as a Guide leader. She led both the 1st Ecchinswell Brownies, the 1st Kingsclere Guides and later the Ecchinswell Rainbows. Camp fires, sing-songs, cook-outs and camping trips as far afield as Devon and Cornwall were a huge part of her legacy.
On reluctantly retiring from the Guiding movement in 2004, Shirley formed an after-school club and continued to enjoy teaching games and crafts to young children, as well as organising unique activities like the Midsummer Madness event – a boat race in the local river.
She had married David Foster Thompson on June 4, 1960, and as well as having three children of their own, Shirley and David provi-ded a temporary home , through fostering, for many children. One little girl in particular, Carole Thompson (née Kelly) became a “third daughter” to Shirley and married Shirley’s nephew, Michael.
Shirley will be remembered with great fondness by many people, being always ready to lend a hand.
Despite professing to be shy, she had a voracious appetite for talking and a love of plants, flowers and animals. She is survived by her mot-her, Eugenie, shortly to turn 94, her four children, Niall, Gail, Carole and Fleur, and 11 grandchildren. Her funeral service took place last Friday at St Lawrence Church, Ecchinswell, followed by a private service at Thatcham Crematorium.
Donations, if desired, can be made by cheque, payable to Cancer Research UK or to Dogs Trust Newbury (Plumb’s Farm Dog Rescue), and should be sent c/o Howe and Son, Bear Hill, Kingsclere RG20 5QA.