Lesley Boardley 1945-2021

LESLEY BOARDLEY was born 14 April 1945 in Malvern to John and Benda Hooper. After taking A-levels she was offered a place at Nottingham University to study Social Administration, spending 6 months as an au pair in Germany before starting the course. Lesley met her future husband Peter at Nottingham, where she was beginning to show her organizational skills as Fresher’s Week Organizer.

After a brief spell as a Researcher with the Ministry of Health she began a PGCE at Cavendish College in London. On completion of the course in 1968 Lesley and Peter married and moved to Pinner, where she taught in primary school. They moved again, to North Harrow, where they regularly attended the Methodist Church.

In 1975 Peter’s company, Foster Wheeler, moved to Reading. On their first day in Reading, the local Methodist Minister visited them, resulting in them becoming regular attendees at Caversham Heights Methodist Church.

Lesley was a stay-at-home mum until 1978, when she started work as Volunteer Coordinator at Battle Hospital. In 1984 she moved to Age Concern, organizing visitors for the housebound. From 1986-9 she ran Pre-retirement and Women Returners courses for the Workers’ Educational Association. She combined her skills in her final job, running the Adult Education Centre at Chiltern Edge School.

Only 5 years later, she developed ME and had to retire from the job she loved. Once recovered, she took on several voluntary roles. She became a Board member for The Chiltern Centre for Disabled Children in Henley, but most of her roles were within the Church. In the early days she had been the Sunday School Leader. This experience and her teaching background suited her for working with REinspired, helping schools deliver their religious curriculum. She played a key part in the Churches Together in Caversham (CTC) Holiday Club and was involved in the 3-year PMC programme for CTC. This led to the creation of ‘Caversham Champions to end Loneliness’ and inspired the ‘Random acts Of Kindness’ campaign.

In her spare time, Lesley was a talented choral singer and was a member of Reading Bach Choir for over 40 years.

She was kind, caring and compassionate, and loved by many. As one contributor to her memory wrote “She made me laugh so often, she was unconventionally straight forward (yes, we clashed too), she was lovely, and engaged and funny, and committed in everything she did.”

The world has lost a bit of its glamour, its brilliance, its glow, but all who knew her will remember her fondly.