Peggy Battell 1920 – 2002
From the Parish News – June 2002
19th May 1920 - 1st May 2002.The large congregation, which filled St Mary's Church Denton for the funeral service for Peggy Battell, was evidence of the very warm love and respect, which was felt for her by both family and friends in the village. The emotional service was made more poignant by the fact that Peggy had not only chosen her favourite hymns, but had actually written one specially for the service, as a parting message to her family. Her very close ties to her family and the village community were emphasised by the Revd Ian Bentley in his address.
Peggy was born in Harlow, Essex to John and Ethel Fish, and had a younger brother Kenneth. She went to St John's School in Epping. After leaving school she worked for a while in the photographic department of a chemist's shop, but when war broke out, she was recruited as a bus conductress, journeying through London during some of the worst of the Blitz. It was at this time in her life she met Alfred Battell, whose parents kept Denton village shop, who was serving with the R.A.F. at North Weald. They were married in Epping in 1942, and Alfred persuaded Peggy to leave her family and home, to come to Denton. In spite of the very big change of environment. Peggy's doubts about Alfred's obsession with virtues of the village were soon put to rest by the closeness of his family, and a lifelong friendship was formed with Alfred's sister Bubbles.
Alfred and Peggy took over the running of the village shop with Mrs Battell senior, after the death of his father. Peggy was soon to understand Alfred's apparent obsession, as she became personally involved in the village herself, becoming President of the W.I., a member of the Parochial Church Council and the Village Hall Committee. Later taking the responsibility as caretaker of the Hall, she was also a founder member of both the Playing Field Committee and the Variety Club. She was also an active supporter of the Red Cross and the British Legion, for which she received long service awards.
Unfortunately Alfred's ill health forced them to retire in 1975, when they moved the short distance to No.9 Chapelfields. Shortly after this move Peggy had to adapt her life again due to the sudden death of Alfred at the young age of 55.
Peggy kept active for her remaining 27 years when her varied talents kept her occupied with village activities which included organising flower festivals, writing scripts, directing pantomimes, sewing costumes, painting scenery as well as landscapes, plus general fund-raising. The list is endless, but her involvement with the D.V.C. will probably be particularly remembered, and the use of her script for the 20th anniversary production of "Ali-Baba" shows the respect which she received for her service to the group. Unfortunately through her illness she was unable to attend this performance, but she managed to watch the video recording from her hospital bed.
Her two children, Kathryn and David with the families, who all meant so much to her, gave her loving support throughout her life and especially during the final traumatic weeks.