31 July 1935 - 10 March 2018
My mother was born Christina Ellen Chipperfield in St. Thomas's Hospital, London, in 1935, to Walter, an engineer, and Agnes. When war broke out four years later, the family, now including my mother's younger brother Alan, moved to Harpenden, where my mother attended St. Alban's High School. The family returned to London in September 1945, and Christina went to Blackheath High School, where she excelled both academically and at sport, and won numerous prizes.
In 1954 she went up to St. Anne's College to study Geography. She loved her time at Oxford and enjoyed sport alongside her studies, including playing lacrosse for the University. On graduation she went to Jordanhill Teacher Training College, now part of Strathclyde University, in Glasgow, an experience she described as both interesting and challenging. She then taught at Wymondham College in Norfolk, perhaps the largest State boarding and day school in the country at the time, before going on to teach at Notting Hill and Ealing High School for seven years.
Needing a change, she moved to work in the Maps Office of the Ministry of Housing and Local Government, a job she found stimulating and demanding. It was there that she met Peter Walter, a widower and Edinburgh Geography graduate, whom she married in 1968. The following year they moved to the East Midlands with Peter's two daughters. In 1972, I was born.
My mother returned to work five years later, working for a local engineering company in a clerical capacity. Peter had to retire from the Civil Service in 1985, rather earlier than he wanted, and so my mother decided to give up work in 1988. They enjoyed a very active retirement together. Both volunteered at The National Trust's Calke Abbey in Derbyshire, my mother clocking up 25 years of service. She also worked for the Citizens Advice Bureau in Coalville for some 15 years, at a time when the local coal mining industry had closed and the area faced innumerable social problems.
During their retirement, my parents also enjoyed many holidays at home and abroad as well as time with their daughters and their families. My mother sang with a local choir, Charnwood Voices, for nearly 30 years, and after she was widowed in 2016, at the age of 81, took up classes in Latin, Greek and Technology with the University of the Third Age, U3A. She retained a sharp mind, and sharp wit, to the end of her life.
Before she died, my mother described herself as having led an "uneventful life". But in truth her life touched so many people, through her work and voluntary work, her many friendships, and her care for her daughters, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She was held in high regard by all those who knew her, who remember her for her keen mind, her wit and sense of fun, her generosity, her compassion and her deep integrity.