Kathleen Copas (nee Blake)

Author: Sandra Copas
Date published: 28/04/2017
© Sandra Copas

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©Sandra Copas

Kathleen Copas nee Blake                                                                            (grave: W23)

Kathleen was born on 18th. December, 1928 in Holborn, London. Her father, Steven, was born in 1901 and in 1920 was an Aircraft hand in the RAF when he married Gertrude Pretoria Brace, born May 1900 in Hertford. They had eight children. In 1922 he was a Flower packer and later worked as a packer in the newspaper industry.

Kathleen spoke of their childhood: playing on the streets with a matriarch aunt overseeing them; going to talk with the children through the windows who were patients in Great Ormond Street hospital; buying broken biscuits and stale cakes for a penny on Sunday mornings... The family knew what it was like to be poor; living in a tenement, with toilets and a tap for water in the yard; sleeping top-to-toe under coats to keep warm but, always there was the strength of family to keep them going.  

When war came, her father and eldest brother, Bob, stayed on in London. Kathleen was evacuated to Newbury along with her class from school, while the rest of her family were sent to Somerset, where they were billeted near Highbridge .  Sadly, her mother died there in 1941 and is buried at Huntspill.  Kathleen was placed with a couple in Salcombe Road, Newbury and she went to school at the Temperance Hall in Northcroft Lane. Later, she worked at the “Empire” and “Tudor” cafes, recalling being thrown down the garden behind the “Empire” café when St John’s was bombed.

She met her future husband, Robert James Copas, when he was home on leave and they married at Culham in 1952. They began married life in a caravan (with orange boxes for cupboards and bedside tables) near Haverfordwest, as Bob was stationed with RNAS Goldcrest nearby. They returned to Rectory Close, Newbury to live with his widowed mother, after he was released from the Naval Service in April, 1953. Their daughter was born at Sandleford Hospital in December, 1953 and their son was born at home in January, 1957. In the early 1960s, they took on running a newsagents in Morden, Surrey and later, they came to live in East Ilsley and Kingsclere with Bob travelling to work as an electrical contractor.

Kath was a wonderful mother and an excellent cook. She enjoyed many years with her friends on the kitchen staff at Cheam School, Headley. She always found great happiness being with her family and in gardening and reading.

She died from a heart attack in May, 2003 while living at Enborne Road, Newbury

Sources:

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