NEWS AND EVENTS
Sister Florence S.E.
We have just heard the sad news that Sister Florence, the last of the Sisterhood of the Epiphany still in India, died on 17th April after a short illness. She had had a happy final year, with a splendid celebration of her 100th birthday last June, and visits over the Christmas holiday from her great-niece Emma Barley, and her friend Lilias Redpath, her other close friends Norma and John Mathews, and Sister Tina, Principal of Loreto House, Kolkata were with her in her illness. She was buried at Behala on 18th April, and there will be a full account and appreciation in our next issue Arijeet Roy, who cared for her tenderly to the last, will be able to tell us more at the Festival in June.
Roger, who died peacefully at his home in Oxford 01120 February, was an old friend of the Oxford Mission at Behala. He and his wife Katharine had had a happy visit to India together in 1986, during which they went to Behala and met Father Theodore. When she died on New Year's Day, 1989 he was devastated. When her funeral was over and he had time to think, 'I wrote to Father Theodore Mathieson at the Oxford Mission in Behala, Calcutta, asking if I could come that autumn. That visit was to alter the whole direction of my life, and to give it new purpose'.
From then on Roger channeled all his energy and enthusiasm into helping the young musicians at Behala. A talented pianist and teacher himself, he brought String Quartets from the Mission at his own expense to the U .K in 1993, 1998 and 2000, fixing up concerts and recitals for them all over the country with the help of his friends. He sent them on music courses and Summer Schools for extra coaching, and showed them the sights and countryside of England and Scotland on the way. His particular protegé, Sanjib MondaI, now Assistant Director of Music at the O.M Behala, was helped by Roger to set up his own music school in Kolkata. Another member of the last Quartet, cellist Manab Naskar, is now on a four-year course at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, Glasgow All are deeply grateful: Manab's letter of condolence, full of respect and affection, was read out as part of the funeral address.
Roger's funeral was at his local church, St Michael and All Angels Gill Wilson, Editor of the O.M News, represented us Roger often played the organ for services at St Michael's, and the congregation was there to mourn him as a regular worshipper and dear friend He came from a large family, many of whom were also present including a cousin, Dr William Radici, Senior Lecturer in Bengali at the School of African and Oriental Studies and translator of the works of Rabindranath Tagorc The Rt Revd Simon Barilington Ward, another cousin, gave the address, in which he spoke warmly of the Mission and all it had meant to Roger.
Roger's final visit to Behala was over Christmas -a happy one, although he was already in failing health. On his first visit he spoke of it as 'like stepping on to a ladder leading to the Kingdom of Heaven' Now he has climbed that ladder. We send our sympathy to Roger's family and friends may he rest in peace.
Remembering Fred Pinn
Fred, founder of the Pinn School at Behala for less academic boys, died last year at the age of 85 (the Editor's apologies for having inadvertently given two different ages at death on different pages in the last issue) On ]3 December 2003 some 50 family, friends, former colleagues, pupils and society representatives attended a party at the Institute for Commonwealth Studies in London, to remember him and to celebrate the achievements of his life.
It was organised by Margaret Ling, great-niece of Father Theodore Mathieson who first brought Fred to Behala, and Bill Markham, a close friend of Fred's for many years. Father Theodore's sisters Barbara Mathieson and Joan Ling, and Simon Ling, great-nephew, who was a V.S.O. at Behala during the first year of the Pinn School, were present, with descendants of the Wernicke and Stolke families. The OM was represented by Simon Ling, Treasurer, and Gill Wilson, Editor.
Various speakers described Fred's early life, his work as a gifted teacher, as a collector and writer of books, and as a dear and valued friend Copies of his latest book The Darjeeling Pioneers, telling the story of a great tea-planting family, may be obtained from Pagoda Tree Press, 4 Malvern Buildings, Fairfield Park, Bath BAI 6JX at £16 + £2 p&p
Video of the Oxford Mission, Behala
Lilias Redpath visited Behala over Christmas and brought back a video commissioned by the Administrator, which shows the Carol Concert and party in the Hostel grounds, and the Epiphany Festival Service on 6" January Mary Marsh has a copy in the Office, and will be happy to lend it There will be no charge, but please send stamps to cover the outgoing postage when you return it.
Late arrival of this issue
There was a three-week strike of the postal services in Oxford, the Editor's copy for this issue never arrived at the printers there, and she had to do the whole thing again That is why publication has been so much delayed. We apologise.
Love and best wishes from the Oxford Mission in the UK to our friends and supporters everywhere. God be with us all in this distracted world.