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Obituary: Patricia Rashleigh – antique dealer, school worker and foster carer

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WELL-known Lyndhurst antique dealer Patricia Rashleigh has died after a short battle with cancer.

A resident of Lymington for many years, Pat loved children and worked in local schools, at Pennington youth club and as a foster career for over a decade.

An avid reader, Pat ran a stall at Lyndhurst Antique Centre until around two years ago, where she was well known for her incredible knowledge of books.

Patricia Rashleigh worked in local schools
Patricia Rashleigh worked in local schools

Her son Chriss said: “My mum had a magical way of connecting people and children and would encourage and ignite the love of learning and new experiences with them.

“She had a vibrant life, full of love and music, and gave tirelessly to those around her.”

Pat was the youngest of three children and enjoyed a close bond with her parents, older siblings Rita and Robert, and her granny who shared the upstairs of their home in Western Road, Lymington.

She met her future husband Philip Rashleigh at a dance in Brockenhurst and they were married in the early 1960s.

They made their first house in Hythe and in 1967 welcomed their son Chriss followed by Matthew in 1970.

When the boys were young Pat worked at Southampton’s Debenhams store in the soft furnishings department, where her love of fabrics and haberdashery began.

While living in Hythe, Pat and Philip began fostering and continued to offer a safe haven for children for the next 12 years.

Pat was an excellent cook and enjoyed preparing meals for family and friends. Many happy weekends were spent camping, exploring the New Forest and picnicking.

When the family moved in to Rowes Lane in East End they continued to foster and also began welcoming foreign exchange students, who remained in touch with the family.

They enjoyed the close proximity of Sowley Beach and supported their sons’ local football teams, Sprites and Waterford United. They were also actively involved with Pennington youth club.

Many happy holidays were spent at Rockley Sands in Poole, where the family owned a caravan.

Pat later worked at Coxlease School in Lyndhurst as a cleaner. Her caring nature saw her promoted to house manager, taking part in many school events such as camping trips and days out.

The family lived in Everton for a time before moving to Belmore Lane, Lymington, where exchange students continued to arrive. Pat spent the final years of her working life with the pre-prep pupils at Walhampton School.

Once Philip and Pat reached retirement age they moved to Dorset, a place where they had holidayed and loved. They had an idyllic retirement planned, which was sadly cut short when Philip died suddenly in 2002 only a few months after moving to Charlton Down in Dorchester.

Soon after Philip’s death Pat returned to the New Forest, living in Milford for many years, before relocating to Lymington.

She decided to retain Philip’s area in the Lyndhurst Antiques Centre and became a well followed book dealer. She worked there weekly and loved to pop in to talk to the traders and customers.

Pat died at Lymington hospital. She is survived by her sons and grandchildren.

Her funeral will be at St Thomas’s Church on Monday 21st March at 12.30pm. Donations in her memory can go to Oakhaven Hospice.

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