Trevor Macpherson was born on 5th February 1925, in Coventry. We know little of his childhood and education, but he would have been 14 when the Second World War broke out.
On 7th June 1945, Trevor was conscripted into the army. After basic military training he completed his training as a linesman and was posted to Kiel with the Royal Signals where he witnessed at first hand the destruction and appalling conditions in the aftermath of the Second World War. This experience led him to question official statements about the war and the futility of war itself. In fact, his commitment to pacifism had its beginnings in the bombing of Coventry which he witnessed as a child, and this was re-enforced during his period of military service in Germany where he saw at first hand the devastating destruction that war brings to a country.
Ten years later, he married Sheila, on 11th August 1955. They had a long and happy life together, and raised five children.
As a child, Trevor attended a Methodist Sunday School in Coventry.
He came into contact with the Unitarian Church while in Canada and maintained his involvement with the Unitarians on his return to the UK and continued to be active in the church during his subsequent time in Coventry. When the family moved to Northam in North Devon, Trevor found that there were no local Unitarians, and started to attend Barnstable Quaker Meeting, as the Quaker outlook on social issues, such as pacifism, was similar. This was the start of his engagement with Friends. On moving to Sutton Coldfield (Trevor’s professional work was as a Social Worker) in 1972, Trevor applied for membership in what was then Warwickshire Monthly Meeting. Trevor’s faith was rooted in the non-conformist tradition which he felt allowed him to explore questions of faith in his own spiritual journey.
Sheila saw the post of Caretaker for the Pales advertised in The Friend; the opportunity appealed to her. In her own way she was able to make a contribution to the Society of Friends and to live a life she enjoyed with the dogs, poultry and occasional lambs and the beautiful countryside of Powys.
So, Trevor and Sheila became caretakers, and later wardens, at the Pales in 1980. Facilities at the Pales were very basic in those days, as there was no adequate water supply, or heating in the Meeting House. Nevertheless, regular Meetings for Worship were sustained and in 1985, largely through Trevor’s efforts, Pales Recognised Meeting merged with Llandrindod Preparative Meeting to form Llandrindod & Pales Preparative Meeting.
Trevor was very involved in local community affairs, being a keen member of Llandrindod CND, the local Liberal Democrat party, and a keen railway enthusiast. But he is also very widely remembered for his interest in local and Quaker history. He was a keen member of the Radnorshire Society and contributed articles to the Society’s Transactions. His major labour of love whilst at the Pales was recording the history of Quakers in Radnorshire, a topic on which he lectured and published a book, ‘Friends in Radnorshire’. In later life, he attempted the ambitious project of extending this to Quakers in Wales generally, county by county. The fruits of this labour, ‘The Gathered People’, can be found at here. He was particularly an expert in the subject of Quaker burial grounds.
He served the Society in many roles, in addition to Pales warden, holding the roles of Elder, Overseer and Clerk at various times, as well as Treasurer of many Pales Trust Funds.
In 1989 Trevor and Sheila undertook the substantial task of fund-raising to re-thatch the Pales, the last time this was done. Two years later they oversaw the sinking of a water bore-well, a transformative event for the Pales, that has allowed its subsequent expansion.
In the early 1990s, with Sheila’s health failing, they decided to move into sheltered accommodation in Llandrindod, where they lived till Sheila’s death in 2005. Trevor remained there for several years, finally moving to sheltered accommodation in Bournville, where he died. He is buried alongside Sheila, at the Pales Burial Ground and is remembered very fondly. One of his daughters, Kate wrote:
“Considering his severe limitations in his sight and hearing Dad managed to remain cheerful and uncomplaining up to the end. He also retained an enormous enthusiasm and joy for life, which I think was why he was so valued at Oak Tree House. Despite having very little useful sight and hearing he continued to travel the country on public transport to get to where he wanted to go, and could definitely be said to have 'lived life adventurously'. “
Beryl Sewell was a quiet, friendly, independent, caring, spiritual and artistic person who became engaged with our local meeting and with Quakerism in general and was genuinely committed to the corporate discipline rather than an individualistic approach to religious experience.
Her religious exploration began in an Anglican environment where she developed a lifelong discipline of daily prayer and bible study. Having been both an art teacher and a policewoman, she tried life in a convent, but appears to have found this very difficult. The experience changed her attitude to the established church. Her interest in American native spirituality showing that she could not be confined.
Her prime satisfaction came from drawing and painting, but she was also interested in travel. She spoke French, even completing French crosswords, and her love of France expanded into following the Tour de France as it travelled through the countryside that she knew well. She had a great interest and knowledge of the archaeology of Brittany, but also once travelled around Iceland in a cargo vessel and, on another occasion got into trouble demonstrating in the USA.
When Beryl discovered our local Meeting she quickly became involved and a stalwart of the Meeting, although it was to be some 16 years before she applied for membership. She was a quiet presence at the core of the Meeting, rarely ministering but very concerned with the Meeting as a community that care for each other. Her care and her artistic ability were both demonstrated by the personal cards that she produced for the Meeting's children's birthdays and the tuition she gave them in drawing and painting.
For as long as she was well enough Beryl was always prepared to take on roles both in the Meeting and representing it outside. She was active in the Area Meeting, in Friends in Wales and was our Cytun representative. She served on Area Meeting Nominations Committee, she was both an elder and an overseer as needed and served as Assistant Clerk. She was always ready to do her share as welcomer, even when she needed to be seated to do so. Beryl's paintings and prints of the Pales have brought income to the Meeting House, and she assisted Martin Williams with mapping the burials in the Burial Ground.
Beryl was a peace builder, listening carefully to people, her smile spreading kindness. At the end her acceptance and contentment (despite being in hospital for nearly a year) was such an example. Her serenity shone out right to the end of her life.
Over the period prior to 2010 Bridget and John had been establishing themselves as a couple and gradually moving from Cumbria to live permanently in Mid Wales. They had met at a “Just This Day” event near Sedburgh. Bridget had been to some Buddhist classes and now was introduced to Quakers through John. They deepened their knowledge of, and comfort with, Friends by attending various courses at Woodbrooke and Swarthmoor, and through Yearly Meetings and residential weekends. They both were very attracted to, and became active in promoting “Experiment with Light”, which appealed to both their Quaker and Buddhist practice. Bridget, with John, helped to bring spiritual diversity to our Meeting and brought an openness to our experiences.
John and Bridget married at the Pales on the 25th April 2011 in a ceremony which was enjoyed by both their families and local Friends. As they became more settled in Mid Wales so they became more active in Llandrindod and Pales LQM. Bridget became a Pastoral Carer for our Meeting. She was a great listener, and as an Overseer would spend as much time as was needed to grasp any particular problem put to her. Additionally she then took on the service of being Clerk, a role in which she was well organised and timely in her handling of the complexities which are part and parcel of Quaker life. Over several years Bridget, with Emm Hardy, and then also John, maintained a weekly Healing Meditation for the Meeting. All of this was achieved in spite of her problems with her own health and mobility.
Bridget had an extraordinary capacity to give of herself and constantly demonstrated her courage in doing this. She believed in goodness which gave her the inner power to give far beyond her physical strength. Her capacity to give and love endures and continues to nurture us all. She daily demonstrated her bravery and generosity. Her spirit sustained us as a Meeting through the difficulties we have come through. John and Bridget had moved their membership from Southern Marches Area Meeting to Mid Wales, just prior to Bridget's untimely death, but they and we were anxious to keep a close relationship. As a Meeting we all recognised Bridget as a lovely, natural, warm and friendly person, always approachable. It is difficult to know exactly what to say when such people are taken from us so abruptly, other than that we shall miss her.
Jean and Harold Hughes
Jean and Harold Hughes
When Harold was teaching in Canada, which he did for over twenty years, and during which time Harold and Jean had decided to separate, he became very friendly with a Vietnamese family who had fled their home to escape the Communist regime. One of the sons of the family was a student of Harold's. Harold fell in love with, and married one of the sisters, and that is Thoa. They would come to Neuaddfach each summer, returning to Canada to spend time with Thoa's elderly mother and her family each November. They commuted like this every year until the travelling became too much for Harold by which time he was 89.
Harold and Thoa have been devoted to each other, constant companions and helpmates, and the Hughes family would like me to say that they are extremely grateful for all the love and care that Thoa has devoted to Harold.
Thoa has also asked me to to mention all that she has learnt from Harold and to express to everyone her great appreciation to him for sharing his life with her. She loved him very deeply and always will, she misses him so much. His love will be her constant companion - may he rest in peace in that knowledge.
We are now close to the end of our Meeting.
Harold Hughes was an impressive man, with a life full of achievement, a man of action and of principle, who was never prepared to accept the status quo, a conscientious objector in wartime, a green thinker who could see not only the problems but also the solutions, and then have the ability to make those solutions happen. Neuaddfach was the house that Harold and Jean bought with no vehicular access and the most basic of attributes, Harold and Jean began the long process of improvement of access and comfort. Many years later Thoa joined him there, alternating between Canada and Wales, and it has been her loved home for 28 years while she assisted Harold as he steadily brought it to be a place of warmth and beauty, caring for its oak wood and planting a further 1000 trees.
We give thanks for a life well lived, by a man well loved. He is no longer with us in a physical sense and that is regretted, just as he regretted the old age that had limited him. Our lives have been changed profoundly and irrevocably by Harold's death, but love extends beyond the grave. Harold will remain present for all who loved him.