Rosemary Gitsham 1935 – 2021
Rosemary in 1948; on top of the world and looking out at the many enticing horizons ahead of her.
It is with a mixture of sadness and gratitude, I write this brief article. My subject is Rosemary; personal friend to many; kind friend to myself and an all-encompassing friend to the village she loved.
For a very good thirty years she was the Village Recorder of Trimley St. Martin. Open minded, kind hearted, generous to a fault, and a fighter for the causes in which she passionately believed. Born in 1935, Rosemary lived in our village from the age of three weeks old and always regarded it as her heartland; this was where she belonged. It goes without saying, her opposition to the despoiling developments in both Trimleys was both ferocious and firm.
Her bricks and mortar home was an idiosyncratic nineteen thirties bungalow and as such was entirely in keeping with her unique nature. Other than a short period of exile during the Second World War, her childhood was spent playing in the quiet fields and lanes of Trimley. Each day proved to be one long adventure, full of curiosity for the world around her. Throughout her long life, she looked at unfolding horizons seeing the many possibilities they offered, as the photograph above defines. Her favourite location was Trimley Shore. Here her father taught her to swim and she launched herself into the River Orwell with the same determination and fighting spirit which became her hallmark. As a young woman she went to London where she met her husband Eric Gitsham before finally returning home to the village where she spent the remainder of her life.
I came to know Rosemary best after the death of Eric. At one chance encounter we discussed the old Manors of Walton and Trimley: learning, knowledge and curiosity always had a tremendous appeal for Rosemary. It was on the basis of this rather niche conversation, I was single-handedly selected as her successor, an exhilarating and terrifying prospect because after all, who can follow on from Rosemary? It goes without saying all of this was done without consultation to anyone else: as far as Rosemary was concerned it was a fait accompli.
And so it turns out that because of the documentation of the Walton and Trimley Manors, here I am today remembering the unforgettable Rosemary. Because last night on Saturday 9 th October 2021 at 11.59p.m., on the cusp of one day and the next and between one heartbeat and the other, Rosemary died.
The village has lost its most ardent and devoted supporter and we, Rosemary’s friends, are left to mourn our loveable and irreplaceable companion.
I do believe Rosemary would approve if we raised a gin and tonic in her memory. Let’s do it.
Here’s looking at you, Rosemary.
You can read more about Rosemary here:
10th October 2021