Peter Picthall and Audrey Gray

I (Derek) awoke this morning thinking about two dear members of SCC who passed away recently. They were not just members of our club but dear friends as well. This is one of the advantages of being a small club where everybody knows everybody else. They will be sorely missed and we send our sincere condolences to all their relatives.

Peter Picthall joined us in about 2003  and had not been a member very long when we had a mini crisis as nobody would take on being Chairman. Alf our Treasurer at the time told us at a committee meeting that unless we found one the club would fold so Peter took on the job and was a very good Chairman indeed. Amongst his greatest achievements was putting together a successful Lottery application which got us a smart screen that descended from the ceiling of the club meeting venue together with a Projector and a Laptop. He must have spent hours  working on the project. He also recruited new members, mainly from his Golf Club, and our membership has never been higher. Sadly of course they were keen on golf and not photography and so the numbers dropped back the following season! Peter had very strong Yorkshire views on things which sometimes brought him in conflict with folk, but he never held a grudge. Sadly I had a fall out with him when my warped sense of humour went badly wrong in the form of an e-mail to club members. Peter took it literally and was very upset. After the second such event I learned a very important lesson, and that was that when you write an e-mail the recipient cannot see the look on your face or the tone of your voice, and I think much harder about what I now write. Peter forgave me and always gave me a very warm handshake from then on.

Audrey by David Seddon
Audrey by David Seddon

Audrey joined us a few years later but soon became a well-loved member. She was always cheerful and glad to see you and her sense of humour was classic. Audrey was a character who never ceased to amaze. She nursed concentration camp survivors after the war. Later she went to Australia with some friends and worked as a nurse there for several years, doing that would have been a big thing back then. Audrey became an Ecumenical Accompanier with the EAPPI project; established by the World Council of Churches which eventually led to her arrest and detention by the Israeli authorities. My (Martin) most recent memory of Audrey was a photoshoot on Shoreham Beach during Storm Dennis, we were standing in high winds, it was raining hard, the waves were awesome and Audrey loved it. Storrington Camera club held an evening when David Seddon produced a couple of his very ordinary images (he is capable of some stunning work as well), we had to enhance them in Photoshop and  produce them at this evening for everyone to comment on our success (or lack of). One of these images was of pretty dreary shed at Dungeness and Audrey made us all laugh by putting a very oversized Donkey in it! Another of her specialities would be to come out with some hilarious comment whilst some visiting speaker would be holding forth. Audrey will also be remembered for heading up the refreshments at our outside shows and when we held County competitions. She also wrote up the club competition reports for several seasons, but her crowning glory were her Mince Pies at our Christmas meetings. They were delicious, eat your heart out Mr Kipling! Audrey will be missed for more than her mince pies though.

Both these club members contributed a great deal to our club and will be sorely missed.

Martin Tomes and Derek Grieve


Submitted by Chris West on Wed, 25/03/2020 18:01


Rather paradoxically I attended Peter's funeral partly because I didn't know him all that well - so it gave me an opportunity to find out about this man who had been kind and helpful to me at the camera club. Whether it was Peter's remit to seek out newcomers and make them welcome I'm not sure but that certainly was the case with me when I joined - I'm grateful for the way he made me very welcome. When I became Chairman he was similarly helpful. A "good evening that, Chris" at the end of proceedings from Peter meant a lot to me whereas "not sure about that judge, Chris" or similar was sometimes warranted and sometimes a coded message for me to pull my socks up. Either way I valued Peter's comments - even though he was sometimes very wide of the mark about Brighton and Hove Albion.

Rather poignantly I sat next to Audrey at Peter's funeral - the last time I saw her. At the end she found she had lost her hat under the chair and as I retrieved it our last exchange was some nonsense about whether it would look better on me than her. Typical Audrey. But I learnt about the real Audrey on a club trip to London soon after I'd joined. A group of us ended up near the Albert Hall, most wanted to get the tube back to Victoria but Audrey and I decided to walk. As we chatted I learnt about her adventures in Australia, in nursing, and the rest of her accomplishments described by Martin and Derek - and much more besides- all recounted in her matter of fact and amusing way.

So at Peter's funeral I learnt about his service to his country in the Navy, his career round the world and his wide range of interests especially in retirement. And I learnt about Audrey's service to others from the lady herself - an impressive story modestly told. Of course we'll miss them both - but they both deserve that very best of epithets - " a life well lived"


Submitted by Martin Tomes on Wed, 25/03/2020 12:13