Later years

Alice wasn’t one to let age or infirmity get in her way and she continued to enjoy a varied and active social life.

Dublin, 90th Birthday celebration

When in her 90s problems with her hearing impeded her singing, she took up dancing…

The Dance Class

I love to go dancing on Tuesdays at ten,
It’s mostly all women, with one or two men.
We’re all over 60, but so what to that?
We dance and we prance though our feet may be flat.
We twirl and we whirl, like the dervish of old,
We dance till we drop – we just won’t be told.

Ruth is our teacher, she’s tall and she’s lithe,
She plans all the lessons and dances besides.
Although she’s now fifty you just wouldn’t know it,
Her face is unlined, and her body won’t show it.
She’s kind and she’s funny and praises us all,
On Tuesday mornings we just have a ball.

There’s Kate, Norma, Rosie, Mo, Sue and more,
We all dance our socks off as we hit the dance floor.
Felicitas comes, who once had a stroke.
She moves and she grooves like the rest of us folk.
But friendliest of all as we dance and we jive
Is Alice, who told me she’s turned 95.

Alice is 95 – who’d believe? What fantastic news to receive.
She could be my mother, instead she’s my friend,
We move to the music until the hour ends.
She’s my inspiration, my hope and my guide,
My dancing friend, Alice, who’s turned 95.

Janet Evans
13th June, 2014

Remembering Alice

I first met Alice at the Mary Ward Centre at the Dancing for Fitness and Health class when she was about 95. She told me about the U3A Folk Dance class she was running in Hackney, and I joined it, and got to know her better.

Alice was a wonderful person. She was always interested in everybody and everything. We visited each other many times over the years, and she was always happy to talk about me and my family, and I also learnt fascinating things about her life.

We discovered we both shared a love of Music Hall. She had been ‘the comely comedienne’ in a Music Hall group, and I was learning the ropes in a Music Hall class at Mary Ward. She encouraged me to rehearse the songs with her, and also gave me music of the songs she had sung.

Alice was a great reader, and we used to discuss the books she had read. I remember one occasion when I was going to ask her something really banal (probably what she was going to have for her dinner) that she said, ‘I’ve been reading this really interesting book about modern China.’ That was a much more interesting topic!

Alice was generous with her time for other people. She always organised the Folk Dancing Class with precision, but she also wanted other people to enjoy their favourite dances, and provided a list for requests. She also organised outings to Sadler’s Wells ballet performances for her U3a group.

Everybody loved Alice, and with good reason. She was lively, friendly, good natured, and appreciative of all that life had to offer. I miss her very much.

Janet Evans, 12th January 2021

Dancing with Hackney U3A at Janet Evans’ party’

Tributes from Hackney U3A members

Alice was a member of the tai chi group when I first joined. I gather she only gave it up when she started to have difficulty remembering the sequence of moves. Monica

Alice was indeed a wonderful person and an inspiration. Sympathy and condolences to her family.   Hilary

She lived to a lovely age and was always cheerful when we saw her at the monthly meetings. We will think of her when we eventually get back to our dance class sometime this year.  Anne

Sad news, but a life well lived. I didn’t know her well, but she seemed a very kind and gentle soul. I remember Alice at Paul Farren’s music appreciation group. Paul would always reserve her favourite armchair. Woe betide anyone who dared to sit in it! (Not on Alice’s part, but Paul’s) We were encouraged to request pieces of music, and Alice often chose interesting pieces.  Jo

She was a wonderful person. I am so pleased that I knew her.    Barry

She was an amazing lady and I’m so surprised to hear of her age!  I remember her as a keen member of the Hackney Singers in the very early days when it was an all-female evening class. She stuck with the choir after it went mixed and then independent when Hackney Council could no longer fund it. Alice was always so positive and served on the committee and continued to sing with the choir for many years.

She was also a keen rambler and clearly had lots of energy for participating in all kinds of activities. I was amazed when I saw her organizing the international dances at one of the U3A Christmas celebrations. She must have been well into her nineties at the time!  Alice

She was such an upbeat person it will be hard not to see her again when U3A meetings reopen. She leaves her smile behind. Will think of her teaching the angels new dances.    Anna

Alice will be much missed, I’m sure, and a great loss to the book group and HU3A    Loraine

I have only been with HU3A for 3 years or so, but I loved it when Alice attended book club and her observations and views were so interesting and astute.  I remember when I first met her at the Monthly Social and her eyes and face so intelligent, interested in me and kind.  From the first day I met her, she made a big impression on me in and when I think of Alice, I always have to smile. How wonderful that Alice joined our last Monthly Social Zoom meeting and that is such a nice memory of her.   Henriette

Singing Olliker bolliker…

School reunions lasted well into the 21st century, albeit with declining numbers, as Alice, Rene and Bertha met up regularly as long as they could. Alice was the last survivor of this CFS group of friends.

Pictures from Rene’s 90th birthday party. They old pals were singing what they claimed was the CFS school song, which strangely began ‘Olliker bolliker… ” Alice standing right, wearing black jumper, Rene seated next to her wearing pink striped blouse.

Neighbourhood socials

Alice had some great friends among her neighbours and enjoyed being an honourary member of their familes. They were a great support to her, especially as it became increasingly difficult for her to get out and about.

Partying at Pilan’s

We met Alice when she came to our house a few years ago saying that she had no idea that Leadale Wharf existed. Alice lived on Leadale Road and, because we shared the same house number, she accidentally received a very large parcel meant for us. She kept it for ages and when nobody retrieved it, she opened it to find 92 rolls of cushion toilet paper. Naturally, she began to use them as they were taking up space (and she did not believe in wasting things). The mystery was only solved when she discovered Leadale Wharf.

We were honoured to know Alice in her last years. She spent several Christmases with us, but alas, at the last one, we could only greet her from her doorstep. She accepted the offer of a small Christmas tree and lights, and I’d like to think those twinkling lights reminded her of someone she knew.

Pilan Ramirah, friend and neighbour

Celebration of 101 birthday at MaiKim and Tom’s

Alice’s fantastic friends and neighbours Tom and MaiKim invited Alice to a family party to celebrate her 101st birthday in February 2020. She enjoyed herself immensely.