Phyllis – thank you for the memories.
I met Phyllis just under a year ago at the Townhouse, from that first meeting she made me feel welcomed and I got the feeling that I had met someone that I was going to enjoy working with, as the months past my instinct was proved right. Not only was Phyllis a warm, generous and extremely funny person, she was a research addict; there is no one who will ever be able to match her enthusiasm for a Census report!
One particular occasion sums up Phyllis’s dedication perfectly. It was a Thursday afternoon and we were both working away on street research in the back room of the Townhouse, Nick had just wandered in, when all of a sudden Phyllis cries ‘there must have been a phone box!’ Nick and I look perplexed, but are quickly drawn into Phyllis’s world. She explains that through her research of Tidy Street, she has come across a health report, which describes a woman running out into the street to ring for a midwife – proof that in close proximity to Tidy Street was a public phone box. Now most of us would have left their research at that, but not Phyllis, as fast as a rat up a drain pipe (or a dog on a skateboard) she was on the Internet trawling for any snippet of information regarding public phone boxes in Brighton, her hard work paid of and she found some fascinating information. Phyllis’s history of Tidy Street is one of exceptional detail, and is testament to the many many hours of hard work that she put in.
I could have sat for hours listening to Phyllis talk - in fact many a lunchtime went on for more hours than it should have done because of this – her passion, and laughter were infectious. I wish I could have thanked Phyllis for all she has given me, I have learnt so much from her not just about history, but about life as well. I have never met anyone else like her; she had the guts and determination of a whole army and fought with dignity until the very end.
It was truly an honour to work alongside Phyllis and an even greater blessing that I got to call her a friend, a year was not long enough, but I cherish every moment.
My thoughts are with her family at this sad time.
Rest in peace Phyllis and thank you. Watch out for any skate boarding dogs up there!
Obituary for Phyllis