Posted on 8th January 2016
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Mrs May Joyce Blatchford, mother of Stephen Blatchford, major shareholder and non-executive company director, aged 87.
“My mother was an amazing woman. She was brought up in Midhurst, West Sussex and lived there during the Second World War. As her father was in the Navy, she helped her mother considerably around the house and with her younger siblings.
With courage and conviction my mother decided to move alone to London when she was 21 because she could not see her future in Midhurst. She became a secretary for Shell and made many lifelong friends. Outside of work, my mother played table tennis for the Shell Social Club and joined the Streatham Young Conservatives where she met my father, Brian. Romance blossomed and led to their engagement and subsequent marriage in 1957. I was born in December 1959 and was their only child.
In 1962, my parents decided to move the company from London to Basingstoke, which became our happy family home for the next 21 years. My mother supported my father in business and at home, as he was passionate about reinvigorating the UK prosthetic industry by innovation and this led to a lot of experimentation. Mum had a lot of tales about baking composite materials in her oven at home!
In 1983, my parents moved to Sherborne St John, a village north of Basingstoke, where Mum lived for the rest of her life. Tragically, my father passed away on Christmas Eve 1985 from cancer, removing a major cornerstone from my mother’s life.
Mum played bridge competitively over the next thirty years and this was something that she loved. She was passionate in supporting the company as a director and was keen to ensure that my father’s legacy of design and innovation continued within the company. Mum also loved the contact with all of the company’s staff and their families.
Mum had a strong moral compass with clear views about what is right and wrong and as time went on, I became more and more aware that her role on the board was to act as its conscience, which kept our company values as a priority.
She was a committed Christian although she did not attend church very often and was known for helping friends and family. She always believed that when she died she would be reunited with my father. My mother was fiercely independent and apparently unaffected by age for many years; always wanting to remain living on her own in her own house. Sadly, her age caught up with her and she suffered a small stroke in September 2014, affecting her speech and fell in October of the same year, breaking her hip. She then declined over the next year finally leading to her death on New Year’s Eve 2015. She died peacefully in St. Michael’s Hospice.
My mother was a very steadfast, constant caring presence throughout my life and I will miss her very much indeed.”
Stephen Blatchford, Executive Chairman