Active member of Hastings’ community will be sadly missed

Hermione Margaret Holmes SUS-141125-120739001
Hermione Margaret Holmes SUS-141125-120739001

Local resident and former vice-chairman of the Hastings Royal Naval Association (RNA), Hermione Margaret Holmes, has died aged 89.

Hermione, known as Margaret, was born in Kenya on September 25 ,1925 in Nakuru. Her parents were cattle ranchers. Her mother was a member of the Queen Alexandra Royal Army Nursing Service during the First World War and her father had been invalided out of the Army having been gassed during the First World War in Ypres.

Margaret joined the Wrens in 1940 and served in the UK before returning to Kenya in late 1945. She married husband William in 1948.

Daughter Patricia Anne Ogilvie was born in 1950 in Nairobi. At this time Margaret was working as a telephonist at Government House and played a part in history when she took the call from the UK which informed the then Princess Elizabeth of her father’s demise.

Son Graham was born in Mombasa in 1956. The family returned to the UK and settled in Hastings in 1964.

After William passed away in 1979, Margaret lived alone. Her son Graham said from arriving in Hastings until 2010, when she had her first stroke, his mum was very active in the local community.

He said: “Apart from working as one of the ‘dinner ladies’ at Sandown School for 15 years, mum was also involved in Hastings Flower Arranging Society and was part of the East Sussex team for inter county contests.”

A member of the Beauport park Golf Club, Margaret was Lady Captain twice in the 1990s. She was also an active member of the Women’s Institute and Winchelsea bowls club. Margaret was a founding member of the Hastings Royal Naval Association (RNA). She was president, Standard Bearer at Remembrance Day services, events organiser, and general friend to everyone. She also supported the Hastings RNLI and Hastings Sea Scouts at fundraising events. Graham added: “Over all this, she acted as a mum away from home for a large number of foreign language students from 1969 until 2009; many students came back for visits, bringing husbands and families to meet ‘their other Mum’.”

John Dunne, of Hastings RNA, said Margaret will be missed by many. “She was vice-president of Hastings RNA for more than 40 years. During her time she was welfare secretary, visiting members that were not able to attend meetings, and giving support. She never missed a meeting.

“But her claim to fame was her super raffle which raised hundreds of pounds for the RNA over the years. She will be sadly missed by all RNA members of Hastings, and also by members of other service associations.”