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News > Registering Births, marriages, remembrances > Remembering Janet Redfern nee Waterman

Remembering Janet Redfern nee Waterman

We fondly remember Janet Redfern nee Waterman at TGS 1948 to 1953. Janet was Head Girl.

A Service of Celebration for the Life of Janet Redfern (nee Waterman)

11 August 1935 to 2 February 2021

Her husband Frank gave this tribute at her service which took place on 18 February 2021

Janet was born in London in August 1935.She lived in Sevenoaks with her parents and sister Pamela until the summer of 1940. Sevenoaks was a few miles from Biggin Hill and on the direct flight path to London so in view of the danger she went with her sister and mother to live in Ayr on the west coast of Scotland while her father remained in Kent. When the worst of the blitz was over they returned to Kent. At the age of 8 she went to the preparatory section of  Tonbridge grammar school and was still in touch with friends made at that time.

Having passed the 11+she moved to the upper school where she had a highly successful career, both academically, and in sport, playing tennis and hockey for the school and serving as head girl from 1952 to 1953. At this time she decided that her career path would be in service to the community, and this commitment was the keynote of her life.

She spent a gap year teaching at a special needs school and also spent time in Spain where she acquired a lifelong taste for foreign travel. She went up to Leicester University to read Social Science in 1954, and on graduation joined the Institute of Almoners (as msw’s were called at time)  to train as a hospital social worker She did her practical training at St Thomas’s Hospital and after completing this was asked to stay on as a member of staff. Duroing this time she worked with Dr Cicely Saunders (later Dame Cicely) in establishing the world’s first hospice  (St C) at Sydenham.

She left StH in 1962 to bring up our children, but continued to do locums in London and Surrey, and in 1973 went as senior social worker at Epsom Hospital. She remained there until we moved to Worcestershire in 1982. She was appointed Head of Social Work at Solihull Hospital in 1983. During her time there she also collaborated with Jenny Bulman in setting up the original St Richards hospice in Worcester.

In 1985 she joined Solihull Social services dept as registration officer implementing the 1984 Registration of homes Act and worked as Principal inspecting care and nursing homes. She retired in 1992 and worked with Dorothy White to set up from scratch the charity now known as the Relatives and Residents Association which operates on a national basis in the interest of people living in these homes and of their relatives. Janet served as a trustee on its management council for many years and remained on close contact with its current chair up until her death.

Even after her proper retirement Janet was always being called up to sit on committees where her knowledge and experience was needed. For 10 years she sat regularly on disciplinary tribunals fot the Nursing and Midwifery Council, travelling by car, train and plane to hear cases all over the UK.

Janet’s whole working life was one of service to humanity, but she found ample time to pursue her many other interests. I have already mentioned her love of travel, a passion which I shared  and which we were able to indulge thanks to my own chosen profession.  Closely associated with this she has always had a love of food and we have been able to eat, or perhaps, dine at some of the best restaurants all over the world and also at many simple out of the way places. Janet was also a first class cook.

Janet loved gardening; just as well as we have had two brand new houses in our lifetime where the surrounding land was as the builders had left it.  Janet created  two attractive gardens from scratch . She was creative and hardworking and the results were greatly admired.

She lived a long and  fulfilled life:    She was my best friend for nearly 67 years:  She was my constant companion and my rocklike support in all my endeavours: She was my loving and devoted wife for nearly 63 years, a  beloved mother to Jeremy and Tina, a loving grandmother to Tom George Rachael Julien Hugo and Maxime  and sister to Pamela. She will live on in our hearts forever.

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