Tribute to Pat Scratchley

PUBLISHED: 16:01 13 February 2009 | UPDATED: 08:30 18 June 2010

Patricia Scratchley - a distant relation of MIchael Palin.

Patricia Scratchley - a distant relation of MIchael Palin.

13-2-09: A SIDMOUTH woman, who worked in the intelligence section of Sidmouth s Home Guard, has died in hospital after a short illness.

13-2-09: A SIDMOUTH woman, who worked in the intelligence section of Sidmouth's Home Guard, has died in hospital after a short illness.

Some 150 friends and relatives attended the funeral of Pat Scratchley at Sidmouth Parish Church on Monday. She was 87.

Patricia Constance Palin, a distant cousin of TV personality Michael Palin, considered herself a Sidmothian, moving to the town weeks after her birth in Alphington in 1921.

She attended Sidbury School, winning a scholarship to The King's School, which she couldn't take up as her recently widowed mother, Emily, could not afford the uniform.

She met future husband Harold Scratchley at a dance at Manor Pavilion and they married on her 18th birthday at Devizes, where they set up home, she working in a flax factory while he was attached to the RAF as a civilian.

"Then he was seconded to the RAF and went to Egypt and mum came back to Sidmouth and worked at Vallances Brewery," said son Kim.

For the Home Guard she manned the invasion telephone and, said Kim, Pat was told if the phone rang she should panic. "It never did ring!" he said.

During manoeuvres the HG was 'attacked' by the Marines who threw grappling irons over windowsills at its seafront headquarters at Seagulls.

They climbed up ropes throwing Hershey bars, given by Americans, through the windows like hand grenades.

After the war Pat's mother married Cyril Huggett from Honiton and they set up an estate agency and Gainsborough antiques shop, which Pat and Harold helped with after Harold left the RAF.

In the ' '50s the Scratchleys ran a B & B in Cheese Lane, then in the '60s a hat shop in Fore Street.

It was in the '50s Pat had a benign brain tumour removed, causing one side of her face to drop. Forming their own company, Agley Properties, she and Harold converted the former council offices at Norton Garth into flats and built houses at Coburg Road and All Saints Road.

Daughter Jacqui Self said Pat and Harold were keen members of Sidmouth Musical Comedy Society. Pat was one of the first lady members of the Conservative Club, belonged to Sid Vale Association, and both took part in the early carnival processions.

"She loved Sidmouth and history and, because of her love of all things local, we had a collection for Sidmouth Museum at her funeral," said Jacqui.

Pat leaves two grandsons, Matthew and Peter.

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