Obituary: Doreen Rendell – former mayor of Lymington and New Milton
FORMER mayor of Lymington and New Milton, Doreen Rendell, has died just five months from celebrating her 100th birthday.
Doreen held the joint position for two years from 1975, and also served on Lymington Town Council and New Forest District Council.
She had been living at Naseby Care Home in Christchurch. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2008.
Born on 15th November 1922, Doreen Mary Clark spent her childhood in London.
Aged 16 and working for the Red Cross when World War 2 broke out, she volunteered for the RAF and trained as a radar operator.
She served at 13 different radar stations during the war and while stationed in the Orkney Islands she went swimming in the sea every day of the 18 months she was there.
While serving at the radar station on the Isle of Wight, she went to visit her aunt and uncle living in Parkstone where she met flight engineer, Charles Rendell.
After the war, Doreen was proud to be among the thousands of service personnel and civilians who were present in Trafalgar Square when King George VI was joined by other members of the royal family and Sir Winston Churchill on the balcony of Buckingham Palace to celebrate D-Day.
Doreen and Charles, who married in 1945, had three children: sons Geoffrey and Phillip and daughter Gillian. Charles died in 1989.
Doreen was described by her family as “strong-willed and determined”, and they recalled tales of her driving the children to Spain, having only just passed her test, for a holiday while Charles was away working.
When Charles retired from the British Overseas Airways Corporation, Doreen took over the running of Elizabeth, a women’s clothes shop in Whitefield Road in New Milton. She became renowned for her enthusiasm and hard work.
She also became involved in local politics, serving initially on Lymington Town Council and later, New Forest District Council for many years.
She was mayor of Lymington between 1975 and 1977. Daughter Gillian also served as lady mayoress for the two years her mother was mayor.
One of Doreen’s favourite mayoral duties at Christmas was to take goods to the staff who were on duty at the lighthouse at Lymington during the festive period, having had to leave their families at home.
Doreen’s family recalled one occasion when they were offered a drink as a thank you for their kindness.
They said: “To the surprise of the ladies, the drinks turned out to be mugs of whisky. To the surprise of the men, the ladies accepted the drinks, which were consumed with pleasure.”
A very capable and powerful woman, Doreen also had a softer side and was extremely fond and proud of her children, grandchildren Kathryn, Jim, Alexandra and John, and great-grandchildren Louis, Lenny, Imogen and Charlie.
She was also described as a “devoted friend” to Vicky Simpson, their friendship lasting around half a century and included 40 years of holidaying together.