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Obituary: Paddy Saltaire – former A&T reporter, post office worker and ‘girl of the Forest’

Described by her family as a “girl of the Forest and a lover of nature”, Patricia ‘Paddy’ Saltaire has passed away aged 93.

Born in September 1929 to Bernal and Evelyn Whitcher, Paddy grew up in Tiptoe Road, Wootton, and worked as a cashier at a butcher’s shop in Fernhill Lane, New Milton, after leaving school.

Despite the job title, Paddy’s job included plucking and dressing turkeys for Christmas window displays.

Paddy and David Saltaire
Paddy and David Saltaire

“She was never frightened of hard work,” her son Andrew said.

Paddy tied the knot with David Saltaire at St Mary Magdalene Church, New Milton, on Boxing Day in 1950 and the couple honeymooned together near Bristol.

The pair were married for 72 years and celebrated their diamond anniversary together on Boxing Day 2010.

Paddy Saltaire
Paddy Saltaire

Andrew said: “During their courting days, Paddy and David were keen cyclists and members of Bashley Broadsiders cycle speedway team, of which she was club secretary for a time.

“They were also often seen together at local dances.”

Paddy worked at the butcher’s shop until the birth of Andrew in 1955. The family then moved to Lymington Road, Highcliffe, where the couple had their second son, Stephen, in 1958.

Paddy then worked as a crossing supervisor for several years before becoming a freelance reporter for the A&T.

She covered everything from local council meetings to amateur dramatics productions and farmers’ dinners, at which she was often given complimentary cigars which she would take home to smoke.

Paddy later worked for the A&T as a proofreader and quit smoking so she could afford to pay for Stephen to have clarinet lessons.

The family took holidays in Cornwall, staying at a cottage in Penzance that belonged to former A&T owners, the Curry family.

Following her stint with the paper, Paddy worked at Highcliffe Post Office, first in charge of the greetings cards and stationery section before taking over the counter services.

Paddy was a member of the Lymington Sea Fishing Club with her husband David, who also worked for the A&T both full and part-time for more than 50 years.

She was also a supporter of the British Hedgehog Preservation Society since its formation in 1982.

After Paddy and David retired, the couple moved to Highcliffe, later becoming grandparents to David and Michelle, and eventually great-grandparents to Aimee and Leilani.

Paddy proved to be a “natural” with sewing, knitting and crochet needles, and an accomplished seamstress and cross-stitcher.

Stephen said: “Across family and friends, she followed the progress of the younger generations with unfailing interest and affection.

“She was an intelligent, warm and caring person and she will be missed by very many people, but especially by her husband of over 72 years, David, and by myself and Andrew."

A funeral service for Paddy, who died in June, was held at New Forest Crematorium.

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