Monday, 27 September 2021

Remembering Peter Sly

PETER SLY passed away peacefully at his home in Remenham on March 9, aged 85.

PETER SLY passed away peacefully at his home in Remenham on March 9, aged 85.

He was born on November 3, 1929 in Stockwell, Lambeth. His father, Richard, had been widowed twice before his third marriage to Ada Rogers and Peter was the youngest of six half-brothers and sisters who grew up as a very close family.

Growing up in Streatham, Peter attended Tooting Bec School, which was evacuated in its entirety to Lewes in Sussex on the outbreak of the Second World War and from there to Wales.

While living in the small town of Manor Deilo, Peter learnt to speak Welsh as nobody spoke English. He executed this “talent” with some flair, but perhaps limited accuracy, for the rest of his life whenever he met a Welshman.

Peter was a keen scholar at school and was awarded an exhibition to Cambridge to study politics, philosophy and economics. He was unable to take up his place straight away due to National Service and by the time this was complete, he was a married man with a child on the way and therefore chose not to take up his place.

He did, however, continue in the Territorial Army, attaining the rank of Major (TD), of which he was very proud.

Peter married Barbara in 1951 and they had three children, Christopher, Jonathan and Warwick, before divorcing in the mid-Sixties.

While working for the Crown Agents, Peter met Pat Heron and they married in 1973. Through Pat, Peter became involved in the world of rowing, first as a coach and, from 1975, as president of Cygnet Rowing Club.

He held this role for the rest of his life and is reputedly the longest-serving club president on the Tideway.

Peter and Pat had two children, Prudence and Oscar, and in 1977 (without the knowledge or consent of the long-suffering Pat!), Peter bought Old Blades in Remenham, which was to be his home for the rest of his life.

Peter was very much a family man and his greatest joy towards the end of his life was his grandchildren, his namesake Peter (Pipi) and Ada.

In later years, he was hugely involved in the local community in Remenham and was churchwarden emeritus at St Nicholas’ Church until his death.

Peter’s red hats and larger-than-life personality made him a well-known figure around Henley and along the riverbank.

From writing and acting in plays for the Remenham Thespians to pottering in the garden with “Flower Pot” Fred and scooting around town running errands on his mobility scooter, Peter’s presence will be sadly missed.

The funeral will take place at St Nicholas’ Church, Remenham, on Thursday (March 26) at 2pm. All are welcome but family flowers only please. For details of donations in lieu of flowers, please contact funeral directors Tomalin & Son.

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