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Obituary: Cathy Pickles – Lymington volunteer and youth campaigner had ‘incredible faith’

Cathy Pickles was a firm believer in supporting the youth of society
Cathy Pickles was a firm believer in supporting the youth of society

A WELL-known Lymington figure who dedicated over four decades to helping local good causes has died at the age of 68.

Cathy Pickles passed away from complications after contracting Covid-19 at the end of January.

A committed Christian and community worker, she was still volunteering for the local branch of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul shortly before being taken ill.

She was helping to raise funds to support vulnerable New Forest residents by providing food bank supplies and reconditioned laptops for children to use for home schooling.

Born in Lewisham, south London, her early life was coloured by her love for music and dance.

Cathy went on to work as a secretary for several companies in Fleet Street before moving to Lymington in 1976 with husband Tony.

She later worked for the family-owned accountancy firm A.J. Pickles Ltd, while looking after the couple’s four children Richard, Christopher, Jennifer and Katie.

Keen to meet people, Cathy joined the Lymington Tuesday Group and went on to work with Our Lady and St Joseph Catholic Primary School where she was on the board of governors from 1984 to 1992, including for three years as its chair.

From 1990 to 2001 she also served on the Diocese of Portsmouth’s education panel, hearing appeals on admissions and exclusions from school.

Throughout the 1990s, Cathy remained involved in church and school life, leading the annual First Reconciliation and First Holy Communion programmes.

From 1993 to 2016 she acted as head of the catechetical team for the confirmation programme, supporting spiritual guidance and development among young people.

She was also on the management committee of Lymington’s Uptown youth club acting as a guide, critical friend, events manager and fundraiser.

Cathy was a firm believer in supporting the youth of society, believing that lasting reform should start with the youngest generation.

Keen on politics too, Cathy was appointed secretary of the New Forest’s Liberal Democrats branch.

From 2003 to 2013 she was one of the spiritual voices at Lymington hospital, supporting elderly patients while also presenting the Sunday religious broadcast every week.

As a keen member of the town’s Friendship Club, she enjoyed cooking for senior residents at their weekly meetings.

She was known to say: “My work springs from my faith, which is an integral part of my life and who I am.” Donations in her memory can be made to the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul Lymington branch based at the town’s Catholic church.

Her friends at the church said they had been left with a “Cathy-shaped hole in our hearts”, adding that her “faith was quite incredible and a lesson for us all”.

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