Lasting Tribute page for (JOHN) PATRICK TENNYSON-HOPWOOD
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Patrick Tennyson-Hopwood, who died on 10 July 2007, aged 95, after a very short illness was a man for whom life never stood still. Constantly innovative, creative and radical, his life continually took new turns. One thing however remained, his love for the county that had given him birth; apart from his war service, remaining a Worcestershire man until the end, never moving out of the county. Born in Wyre Piddle on St Patrick's Day, 17 March 1912, the second of three children, he was educated at Malvern College, before joining his father in the family farming business. In 1939, he joined up for war service, moving through the ranks to first lieutenant in the Royal Navy. At the end of the war, he returned to the family farm at Benedicts at Pershore, by this time having lost his own father in 1940 and having himself become the father of three young children. Soon after, he married a second time, to Victoria, a beautiful young Lincolnshire woman, who was to become mother not only to his three existing children but over the years, the mother of six and his devoted lifelong wife and companion. Patrick Tennyson-Hopwood continued his farming activities but started to take an active interest in politics becoming a member of the Labour Party and friend of Nye Bevan, Barbara Castle and other rising stars of the party for which he fought two General Elections in the then newly created seat of Worcestershire South in 1950 and 1951. In both elections, in what was a Conservative heartland, he nonetheless polled more than a third of the votes, such was his popularity. Throughout the 50s and 60s, he continued with his fruit farming activities, before becoming Managing Director of Pershore Growers where he saw the potential of supplying supermarkets with washed and pre-packed fruit and vegetables, something way ahead of its time, but that we now take as the norm. He also started to take an interest in design and building. Becoming a self-taught architect, his creative yet traditional designs and his ability to secure planning permission for the conversion of redundant farm buildings gave him a new string to his bow; one that as the demands of farming became more difficult carried him into a new career both in England and abroad, that he followed well into his 80s. Together with Victoria's flair for interior design, the couple were in great demand, between them both designing and building or converting properties and advising their new owners on matters of interior design and furnishing. A number of their own homes were not only a memorial to his design and building skills, but also to Victoria's good taste for beautiful furnishings and an eye for a tasteful antique or objet d'art that could be secured at a competitive price. Ever looking for a new challenge, as he turned 90, he found himself learning the computer for the first time at Learn Direct at Malvern Library, becoming its oldest first time student. But what was he to do with these new skills? Once again, his fertile mind went up a gear and he began a fictionalised account of his family - the Tennysons on one side (his great grandfather being the Poet Laureate, Alfred, Lord Tennyson's older brother) and the Hopwoods on the other, a strongly county family from Lincolnshire of whom one was the Canon Residentiary of Lincoln Cathedral. At 94, he wrote a full length novel, The Ludlow Enterprise - the rise and fall, struggles, internal feuds and intrigue of a fictional Midlands family from the war through to the present day. In March 2007, he organised his own 95th birthday lunch at The Foley Arms in Malvern where 50 family and friends gathered to honour him. Patrick Tennyson-Hopwood's short illness - he was out driving on one of his 'frequent errands' through his beloved Worcestershire, just days before his death - would have been how he wanted it. On the day of his funeral, on 24 July 2007, he was brought home through cornfields and the orchards on a beautiful day (after so many days of rain and the most terrible county wide floods) to The Norrest Wing at Leigh Sinton, where in the garden by the lake at the side of their home, 60 family and his remaining old friends celebrated his life in music, prayer, readings from Tennyson and recollections and stories of his life, before he was carried away to make his final journey to the strains of his beloved Elgar's Go Forth Upon Thy Journey, Christian Soul from The Dream of Gerontius. Nigel Edward-Few
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