S: Alice Amy Wright
BC: Produced with love by Clare Palmer for Alice xx
FC: Alice Amy Wright The First 90
1: John Pearson 1818-1884 Jane Smith 1822-1895 John Robert Towse 1847-1905 Sabina Hall 1845-1873 Robert Bunnett 1836-1866 Eliza Newton 1841- Frederick Davison 1843- Ann Savage 1839- | Crispin Pearson 1862-1940 Alice Towse 1870-1936 Robert Alma Bunnett 1861-1936 Amy Davison 1864-1922 | Harry Pearson Towse 1898-1981 Emily Esther Bunnett 1897-1945 | Alice Amy Pearson Towse 1922
2: SKELTON GREEN Alice Amy Pearson Towse was born 9th May 1922 at her grandparents’ home of 36 Park St, Skelton Green, Cleveland, North Yorkshire. Alice was born in the same house that her mother Emily Esther Bunnett was born in; one that Alice’s grandfather Alma Bunnett rented while he worked at the ironstone mines. Alice came at midnight and arrived within half an hour. Insightfully, her mum said she ran into this world and she’s been running ever since’. Alice’s parents had married a year prior to her birth; her father aged 22 (born Scarborough 26 Apr 1898), her mother 23 (born Apr 1897).
3: Emily Esther Bunnett b. 1897 | Harry Pearson Towse b. 1898
4: BRADFORD An only child, Alice lived her early years in Bradford (on Lumb Lane, Maningham) with her parents. Her dad worked as an electrician, her mother in Keenan’s Offices. They lived in the Jewish quarter and she went to a Jewish school, St Judes. Alice started there when she was three. She can remember going to school, they would have a lie down after lunch. Alice joked with her mother this was to give the teachers a break. There is a picture somewhere of her in uniform with a dog – her dad used to say that they both looked as miserable as each other. This is Alice aged five or six in her anniversary dress for Sunday school. She had to walk up Maningham Lane in Bradford ignoring the calls of ice creams or lollies as she was wearing her best frock. This dress was in lilac georgette fabric. About this age she remembers learning to sing the books of the Bible with her mother.
5: Mother Emily Esther Bunnett (Ettie) came from a family of ten with a strong link to ironstone mining. Emily's father Alma moved to the area from Norfolk to do so. There were six girls and four boys in the family, one died early. The WWI wedding photo is of an Aunts wedding: Aunt Amy married Uncle Jim (James Roberts). Another sister Annie (top left) was also in the wedding party. Emily is on back right. These three sisters were close in age and subsequently had girls of their own close in age. Amy was a year younger than Emily and Alice is three months older than her daughter. Annie had a daughter a year older than Alice. The bottom photo is of Emily (seated) with her sister Annie. Amy Bunnett (nee Davison), the mother of Emily Bunnett, died in January 1922, the year Alice was born.
6: Harry’s mother was Alice Pearson (nee Towse b. 1869). She was the firstborn child of John and Sabina Towse (nee Hall). John may have navy connections. Her sister Ruth was born the following year. Lives were changed forever when Sabina died while both girls were under three years of age. It seems that John Towse remarried immediately and went on to have another family. Grandma Alice was living with her grandfather before making her own way in life. It seems her sister Ruth lived with Aunt Rachel and Uncle Richard Towse. Grandma Alice was later found working as a domestic servant at age 21. By the next census in 1901 Grandma Alice was 31 and was working as a laundress while still looking after Fred who was just one. Alice remembers being told that Grandma Alice ran a laundry for ceremonial robes. She had multiple irons for special purposes, like ironing frills etc. By 1901 Harry had already gone to Crispin’s sisters care. Aunt Polly (aka Mary Hanna) and Uncle John Webster looked after Harry until he married. Alice junior was told that Grandma Alice was unwell when Fred was born and this was why her dad was cared for by his Aunt. Alice and Crispin went on to have have Margaret, who was born and died in 1905, Norah, Richard (Dick) and John (Jack). Harry’s only living sister, Norah Drinkel (married Arthur), was an important person in Alice’s life. Alice stayed with her on school holidays and again on her return from Germany in 1949. Aunt Norah had no children of her own and would tell Alice things about the family. Cousins June and Heather are daughters of Uncle Dick and Aunt Milly. June married Malcolm Fell and had Sarah and Richard. Heather married Stewart Hill and had Jane and Stephen.
7: Grandma Alice Towse
8: Small pic: Norah. Large pic: Harry's mother Alice (back left) with Aunt Polly and three siblings of Harry. John, Norah and Richard.
9: Harry’s father Crispen. He died when Alice was 18.
10: Harry Pearson Towse was bought up by his Aunt and Uncle on a farm near Lingdale. There he met his future wife Emily Bunnett when she came as a land army land girl in WWI. There is apparently an old photo in an early newspaper of Emily showing her to be the first girl to plough in Cleveland. This photo is of Alice’s father Harry in WWI uniform. He joined up near the end of WWI when he turned 17. He saw no overseas service.
11: All photo's of Aunt Polly. She and Uncle John bought up Harry as their own child. The lady with a hat and apron in photo above is a sister, Elizabeth Myers, who lived virtually across the street from Polly. Apparently they were like chalk and cheese in every respect. For starters Elizabeth had a large family of 9 children.
12: BACK TO LINGDALE When Alice was seven her mother, aged 30, took ill with rheumatoid arthritis (initially they thought it was flu) and the family returned to Cleveland; close to her mother's family. Initially they stayed with her father’s Aunt Polly and Uncle John until her parents got a house on High St, Lingdale, Cleveland. This photo is at Lingdale Village with Alice aged about nine with a friend from next door, the police sergeant’s daughter Audrey Harker (married name Carlton). Alice met her again years later. Alice went to Lingdale Girls school until just before she turned 17. When they moved to Lindgale her father worked in the electrical area for the Imperial Chemical Industry (ICI) based at Billingham. He continued there after the war, although transferred to the Darlington branch later.
13: WAAF SERVICE War broke on 3 September 1939, Alice was 17. Alice joined at the earliest date possible – 18 months before conscription was in place. She remembers making the trip to Middlesborough where there was a recruitment office. She wanted to enlist with WRENS (for Navy) but it turned out to be the recruitment day for the WAAF and she knew she would be hard pressed to get another bus fare from mother (who wasn’t that keen on her to enlist). Alice was called up on 7 November 1941 – aged 19. It was a foggy, wet, cold and windy Friday. She recalls that it took all day to reach Insworth, Glouchester. They had to be pulled into railway sidings to make way for troop trains and because of fears of spys there were no names on any train stations. It was winter and she was housed in a cold Nissan hut.
14: She ended up in Morecambe for the next six weeks square bashing (drills in uniform). Here she met Margaret Beverage who went on to become a cook (photo on left). She worked with her less than a year and never saw her again until a year before Alice married in 1952. Alice got on a tram and saw her sitting with her two boys. | Alice, Elsie, Micky, Pam | Alice and Margaret Beverage
15: At this stage there were three options for WAAF girls; cook, balloon operator or MT driver. She was told ‘you’re not strong enough for cook, not heavy enough for balloons... you’ll have to be a driver’ Alice recalls saying but I’ve never driven anything. The response was ‘You’ll learn'! Alice was detailed to the MT section and posted to Blackpool to train with the British School of Motoring (BSM) for a month. From here she remembers being posted to Weeton Barracks, Blackpool where Flight Sergeants trained her on heavy lorries – Fordsons and Albions – for three months. She remembers also being acquainted with rather bad language at this place! Alice was then posted to the RAF station in Bircham Newton, Norfolk. The Canadian Bomber Command was posted there. Alice was here three or four months. By this time more trades were available within the WAAF so she ended up posted back to Morecambe base and working in personnel (approximately April/May 1942). She counts this as a ‘lucky break’. Group photo on facing page shows Alice in MT uniform so just new to Morecambe posting. The Morecambe Queen Bee (army slang for top WAAF officer in command) Miss Kitson, said you would be pretty unlikely to be posted from this post until you do something really bad! If you were an only female child you wouldn’t get posted outside England. Alice did ask about an overseas posting!
16: The job was working with the Personnel Despatch Centre (PDC) involved supporting the posting of personnel e.g. a draft would come from Canada and be posted overseas. 3-4,000 airmen a week would be processed. She worked in the Admin and Personnel Department in Station Headquarters, based in the Clarendon Hotel which overlooks the Morecambe pier. The office was set up in the hotel’s dining room. Alice stayed in this posting until the end of the war. Alice enjoyed her work and life here. She met many people while stationed here, many remained lifetime friends. For an entry of a shilling, there were dances six nights of the week, and cinema also. On Sundays Alice went to the local Methodist church but after the service would run to the Catholic church which would be finishing in time for a pea and pie supper and dance. They would have a quick dance there and race home in time for curfew. Her mother used to tease Alice that she would have been a foot taller if she didn’t dance so much. | Alice was billeted with seven others at a private boarding house on Marine Road with the Goldsmiths. This was two doors from the Clarendon Hotel. They could watch the square bashing along the pier and join in at the last possible moment on their way to work in the morning at the Hotel. They were well looked after. Later the Goldsmiths retired and so she was moved to a new billet; Mr and Mrs Dent (Grafton Rd). They ran a local furniture shop. Alice still has a three tier trolley they gave to her on her 21st. On one occasion she remembers leaving work with a friend via the back entrance to the hotel to go to the ice-cream shop two doors away. They were curious about a door along the way which was set apart for men only. They took a quick peek and saw a mysterious room with lots of cupboards before being busted and reprimanded. It probably had something to do with prevention or treatment of venereal disease. They didn’t go back again!
17: Alice formed lifelong friendships with many people she met over this time. Sylvia Tyler (Chesworth) (Katie’s Grandma), May Crook, Elsie Mounsey, Dorothy Lamb in particular but also Sylvia Bradley, Margaret Beverage, Lyn Adderley, Wendy Pickup, Anne Umbers, Patsy, Mona, Joyce, Thelma, Micky and Pam. The photos from this time are mostly taken by professional photographers working here taking holiday snaps for people enjoying the pier and beach. | Patsy, Mona, Joyce, Sylvia, Alice | Alice, May, Sylvia | Alice, Anne Umbers | Alice with Joyce Dunn
18: This Page: Alice and Dorothy Lamb; Lynn Adderly, Wendy Pickup, Alice,: Alice and May Crook; Large Pic: Alice with Dorothy Lamb
19: Pice this page: Alice on leave meeting with woman on her honeymoon in Morecambe; Alice bridesmaid for Thelma; Alice with a best friend Elsie
20: Alice met Gilbert well before she turned 21 in 1943. Gib was 26. They met at a dance. He came and asked her to dance. All she could see was his shoulder flash on his right shoulder ‘...land’. She thought he was from Poland and the Polish didn’t have a great reputation among her friends so she hid behind a pillar and said she wouldn’t dance with him again if he came over. Her friend May Crook thought he looked nice and told her that he was actually from New Zealand and if Alice got tired of him could she please pass him on! Alice told her friend it’s not the same as a parcel. Alice was friends with another man – Vernon, a mosquito pilot from Canada. Both Vernon and Gilbert were commissioned about the same time but were quite different people. Gib saved his money and bought his uniform second hand – it is now in the RSA on display in Gore. Gib didn’t drink and was reserved but steady; the opposite of the other man. When they were on leave at one point, Alice took Gilbert for a visit to Saltburn. Gilbert came to stay with her parents before the war ended. Her father said he was a very nice man with but one fault, a very big one ‘he lives too far away’. Alice turned 21 on 9 May 1943. Her mum and dad were actually living near Morecambe at this time as the ICI plant was moved nearby. Her parents bought her a locket which Alice still has.
21: Alice recalls that at Morecambe, a local restaurant managed to make a small fruit cake for her. Before this her mother had written to Clarks – who made cakes for Royalty. With food restrictions in wartime, her mother asked for their help with a cake for a 21 year old WAAF girl. They supplied a round, shallow Madeira cake with chocolate icing. They arranged a series of metal spitfire planes placed around the cake as decoration. Alice saved Gilbert a piece of cake with a plane on it and gave it to him after her party. He ended up keeping it as a lucky charm for the rest of the war. Later we found he had kept it even after his return to New Zealand. He still had it when he met Alice again 50 years later.
22: Back in England, her mum died in Feb 1945 (two months before the war ended). She had lived as an invalid for 17 years. In the early hours of a Sunday morning of February 1945, Alice’s mother asked for a drink. Her husband went downstairs to get one and she died before he came back. Alice remembers going into the office on Sunday to check on messages. She saw a telegram on her desk and was shocked to see it said nothing more than ‘Mother dead. Come home.’ Alice asked for leave and departed on Monday morning, Elsie was allowed to come with her. They got to Saltburn about 8pm. There was a curfew on and they were not allowed out so the Ministry of Police took them to an ATS billet for the night. They caught a bus to the village the next day. Elsie stayed one day and one night. Alice stayed a little longer before returning to Morecambe. Alice lost touch with her mother’s family at this point. The war ended 8 May 1945 (the day before Alice turned 23). Gilbert left England about this time. She asked Gilbert if he would send for her if his girlfriend back home did not work out. He said no. It was sad to say goodbye. Alice stayed on as a WAAF nearly a year later until the following Easter 1946. She decided to come home and look after her father when she was demobbed (demobilised).
23: Her mum had always said she would throw a party for her when she got home after being demobbed, but of course her mother had died and her dad had started to move on. When she got home there was no one to meet her at the station or even at home. Alice left the WAAF to look after her dad but he was already looking to remarry. She eventually found her father the day she returned and he was waiting to catch a bus to meet with his future second wife. He remarried a year after Emily died. Had Alice known this she would have stayed on in the air force. It was disappointing. Alice stayed home on eight weeks leave and visited friends and Aunt Milly (who had two girls, June and Heather) but she was a bit lost and wanted to do something more. The Queen Bee contacted her to see how she was settling into civilian life. Alice had said she wanted to come back. She was told that there were vacancies in the Foreign Office as it was setting up the Control Commission for Germany which needed help was overseeing the resettlement of German civilians. She had to get a number of vaccinations before going and Alice stayed on to see her father remarried on 19 June 1946. She set sail for Germany the very next day. | Alice with stepmother's niece on day of fathers wedding
24: Isa, Alice, Thelma, Jean
25: DUSSELDORF WITH THE CCG The office was set up in Dusseldorf in a new office block ‘steel house’ of Krupps, a steelworks manufacturer which made armaments in the war. The Control Commission Germany (CCG) were assisting German people reconnect with lost family and resettle after moving from their homes in wartime. Staff took an hours compulsory German lesson each day and had translators they worked with closely. Ursula, their translator, was exactly the same age as Alice; her father was a judge at the Nuremburg trials. They started living in an Anglesea mess then 8-9 went to a warrant officers mess – a beautiful house of an architect. They had a good chef and a housekeeper. At this time supplies were short but they had access to some things from England that the locals did not. Coffee became a currency for the army forces. They kept coffee in the wine cellar along with alcohol from a quota they would collect once a month. The housekeeper used to go to a country farm and exchange coffee for potato and vegetables. Alice and Isa once took a trip to Switzerland on 1lb of coffee. Alice and her friends used to flog their alcohol allowance off and use it to run a Christmas party for local ‘bunker children’. The German chef dressed up as Santa.
26: They had a contact in Amsterdam and once a month they took turns and travelled there on a mailtruck, even though there was a ‘no lifts’ policy in place for army vehicles. Once in Amsterdam they would walk over a bridge to meet a man who took them to his house to hand over coffee and biscuits in exchange for eggs and butter. Alice recalls that on one trip with her best friend Isa Burgen (Norwegian) on their return they took advantage of the unwritten law that they could signal down any civilian vehicle for a lift. They were picked up by an edgy German civilian in a truck with what appeared to be rubber tyres on the back. They were squeezed across the front seat to fit in. The heater was blasting. On the way they realised there were chickens in the rear of the vehicle; probably deliberately hidden in the tyres, hence the drivers discomfort. By the time they got to their destination the butter had melted and was running out of their bag. As well as Isa Burgen, Alice befriended women like Joan (Gibson) Argyle and Margaret (Conyers) Hooper. Frankie, Thelma, Jean and Lilian were women she boarded with. Isa Burgen later lived at Berick on Tweed.
27: Alice and Isa Amsterdamn; Alice and Isa trip to Switzerland
28: Alice, Frankie, Thelma, Jean, ?, ?, Lilian, Mrs Glass in Anglesea mess At friends wedding | Alice with Isa
31: From left: Alice; Margaret Conyers with Alice; Alice; Joan Gibson (driving), Margaret and Alice | Alice returned to England at the end of 1949. The CCG was ending and Alice had written to her Aunt Norah Drinkel (fathers only sister) in York about finding work in the personnel area. The Railways or Rowntree’s were the options. Alice preferred the railways where friends Margaret and Joan had gone, but was pleased to get a job at Rowntree’s. She stayed on with them until she retired at 60 (1982).
32: Rowntree’s are famous British confectioners. Rowntree’s was founded as a grocery business by Mary Tuke, a young Quaker, in 1725. Her business was eventually acquired by Henry Isaac Rowntree in 1862, who turned it from a simple cocoa works into confectionery company. Henry was joined in business in 1869 by his brother Joseph Rowntree who eventually took over. Rowntree’s York firm has been responsible for many of the great confectionery brands that we know today, like Kit Kat, Aero, Smarties, Polo, Black Magic, Dairy Box, Fruit Pastilles and Fruit Gums. The Rowntree’s are not just famous for their confectionery; they’re also famed as leading Quaker Philanthropists. The Rowntree family built a model village just a mile north of their factory to give local people alternative accommodation to inner-city slum dwellings. Joseph Rowntree also set up four charitable trusts, one to lobby for parliamentary reform, another to run the model village, one to make charitable grants and a fourth to investigate the causes of poverty.
33: Top left: unknown, Margaret Conyers (Hooper), unknown, Alice Top Right: Peter, son of Elsie Mounsley (WAAF) and Alice Bottom Left: Mrs Dinsdale (friend of Aunt Norah, with Alice Middle: Margaret and Alice Bottom Right: Alice at Scarborough
34: From Left: Alice, Amy, Elizabeth, Sylvia (seated); Top pic: Elsie, Amy, Alice; Portion of cards on retirement; Lower pic: Sylvia, Alice, Amy; Other page Amy and Alice; Alice and Amy; Diane, Amy, Jeannette, Alice, Sylvia, Elsie
35: Alice had great time at Rowntree’s and again made many special friendships. They played tricks on junior staffmates like making them sing national anthem with flags before unlocking doors in the morning. They told junior staff that a friend Elizabeth Hardaker was going to India to meet her in-laws to consider moving to India to live. She was actually was going to base-camp at Everest for a holiday. The junior staff member believed whole story and was ‘so glad you didn’t stay’ when the friend returned. She pestered her with questions ‘you’re not thinking of going back are you? You don’t want to live over there do you? Did you like your in-laws?’ Elizabeth was mystified. Her in-laws lived nearby and her mother worked downstairs. Her last name is NOT pronounced Hard-AK-er. Amy, Elsie, Sylvia, Elizabeth, Nancy, Diane and Jeannette are some important names from this time.
36: Ron Moon, John, Alice, Nancy
37: Alice Amy Pearson Towse marries John William Mitchell 1 November 1952 All Saints Day at All Saints Church
38: Alice was introduced to John by a mutual friend at Rowntree’s. John worked in the gum experimental division of the Smarties department until he retired. Incidentally, the Uncle Arthur Drinkel that Alice lived with (husband of Norah) worked in the private room for flavours – the other six of his brothers all worked at Rowntree’s also. John’s mother had died at age 32 giving birth to Albany – her fifth child. His father took on a housekeeper who was very unkind to the children. John’s father didn’t know what was going on and she was quite determined to stay. Even when he sacked her she came back. When they were on the farm, the owners of a clothing business in York, the Moons, would occasionally send their son Ron to the farm for holidays. When John turned 16 he took on an apprenticeship with Rowntree’s. He boarded with the Moons and stayed there til he married at 35. Ron was his best man at the wedding. John had three brothers. Albany, Reginald and Frank. His one sister Mona later married Les and they had two children, Franscesca and Alison. Alice married John William Mitchell (son of Charles William Mitchell) 1 November 1952 (All Saints Day) in All Saints Church. Alice wore a pale turquoise suit – the hat was from London and almost as expensive as the outfit! She still has the hat. John took an active part in the war effort as part of the 52nd Scottish Lowland Division, Mountain, Sea and Flood. | Pics: Aunt Milly, John and Alice; Uncle Dick, Aunt Milly, Alice and John; Alice with Franscesca; Milly, Dick and Alice; Ray and Sylvia (WAAF) Tyler
41: Pics left page: Alice and John with John's godson's baby (now kids of his own); Alice and John; John and Alice attending a wedding in Dorset – bride daughter of Joy and Reg (friends of Elsie and Joe); Ivy with John and Alice at Humber Bridge – at the time the largest suspension bridge in Europe - 1984; Alice, Reg, Ivy; Alice and Alison (Mona's daughter). Right page: Joe and Elsie Mounsey (WAAF) with Alice and John (Alice was 6 stone after jumping up and putting spine out of line); Alice and John on trip to Guernsey – Channel Isles; Alice and John on road to lakes district to visit Elsie and Jo Mounsey – 1958
42: Alice and John enjoyed over 36 years of marriage. They had lots of friends and enjoyed great holidays and adventures together. John died in April 1989. John was ill with asthma. He also had a heart condition. They enrolled him on a drug trial for a new treatment for his heart condition and he was to have 8 days of treatments. On day 3 they stopped treatment and he was discharged. A GP sent him back to hospital and he was given morphine to get by. In a short space of time he became very ill and died. Alice was a widow seven years when she came to New Zealand. | Alice on hol in France with John, Elsie and Joe
43: Pics: Sydney & Ethel Rical - kind after John died; their granddaughter with Alice and with their Daughter Ruth lower cnr; Donald Kay and wife (caretaker of School in Yoga days), and Pam with Alice; Alice on trip to Dorothy; Alice in Coro St (centre pic)
44: Alice and Sylvia were WAAF friends. Sylvia married Ray and had Elaine (married David and had Barnaby) and Celia (mother of Katie). This page: Andrew, Sylvia & Alice; Sylvia; Christmas 1966 Julia, Andrew (Sylvia's nephew), Elaine, Eric, Sylvia, Alice, John, Ray; Lakes District 1990: Alice, Celia, Sylvia and Elaine. Far page: John, Alice and baby Katie - 1983; Alice and baby Katie; Aunt Norah, Alice and Katie; Alice and Katie in garden; Sylvia, John, Norah; Alice, Katie, Barnaby and John. | Special Friends
46: Alice's 89th - Barnaby, Celia, David, Elaine ; Alice; Katie & Alice; Portugal 2006: Alice; Celia, Katie, Barnaby, Elaine, David (Katie's grad); Sylvia and Alice; Alice in car with David and Elaine; Alice and Katie; Mavis Jones, Alice and Celia. Back to page 1: Alice & Gib with Daphne; Alice with Daisy Katie's dog
47: 'Auntie Alice and I always had great fun together, often around bath time playing Mrs Black and Mrs Cluterbuck but also out in the garden... I am always inspired by her youthful spirit.' Katie Tyler
49: We are excited to meet our new teachers and classmates and learn some new things this year! | Yoga needs a special section as it has played a significant part in Alice’s life. She is one of the fittest 90 year olds you will ever meet and has again made numerous special friends from her contacts in the yoga world. Mavis Jones, Rose, Rita, Rena Walker, Velda, Breeda, Sadie, Catherine Harrison, Cherrie, Rubye, Elaine, Jenny, Pam, Hilda, Jan Ward, Di Kendal, Maureen, Janet, Pat, Meg Jones, Margaret Finch, Mavis Atherton and Eleanor are some of these special people. | Alice took on the teachers course in 1982 after she retired at 60 and had more time. The course took four years. Every year there would be at least one week long trip and seminar with other yoga teachers.
52: Holidays with friends Here Italy with Rose, Rita and Mavis. Also Norway with Amy
54: Alice and Dorothy Lamb (both pics)
55: OOOOOOooooo! Aaahhhhhh! Ohhhhhhhh!!! | Mavis Jones and Alice | London friend, Alice and Aunt Norah | Alice, Eleanor, Rose, Rita
56: FRIENDS ARE FOREVER
58: NEW ZEALAND Sometime after John had died and just after a reunion of Morecambe days, a friend, May Crook, had encouraged Alice to write to Gilbert. To her surprise, Gilbert replied immediately and they found they had both been widowed within a few months of each other; John died in April, Gilbert’s wife in September. By the time the neighbour opposite had come in with a newspaper publicising Air New Zealand giving away five free trips to New Zealand for retired people with an interest in New Zealand, Alice had had another letter from Gib. Alice was persuaded to write about the competition saying she would like to meet Gilbert again. She came home one day to an answerphone message saying that she was offered the trip. Her response was to say ‘I can’t possibly go, there aren’t enough teachers to cover my classes’. Alice decided she should call Gib and she told him she had won the trip. His response was rather cool. He said ‘well it’s not like England here’. So Alice called and told Air New Zealand staff that it had been a shock to him and they should give her seat to someone else. They encouraged her to continue and that hers was the best application – and close to the aim of the competition commemorating Armistice Day 5 November 1918. Gib eventually called her back and told Alice that Debbie had said that she has got to come! The competition was offering a companion seat but Alice said ‘they’ll think I’m bringing a bridesmaid’ so turned them down. There was a big celebration and photos in London when she took the prize. However when she got to Auckland there was an air strike with Air New Zealand cabin crew so she had to stay at the airport hotel two days. The bus came at 5am and must have been a tad late so when she got to the airport they said we’ve found Mrs Mitchell. Alice’s response we ‘well I’ve never been lost’. Because she arrived on an earlier plane than expected, in the end she was waiting for him at Invercargill airport. She knew him right away. As they say the rest is history.
59: Pics: Alice; Alice and Sylvie (work friend); Alice and Gib with Louis and Lewis Creed from York; Alice with Mavis and Rita in NZ
60: Gilbert, Alice, Nora Affleck
61: Alice Amy marries Gilbert Wright 12 August 1996
64: TV Stars
65: Susie Chalk, Christine Talbot with Gib, Alice and Mavis
67: Alice, Gilbert, Elizabeth Hardaker (Rountrees); Dorothy, Maureen, Ross, Maria, Pauline, Gib, Doris, Alice, Debbie, Lachlan: Joy Gardyne and Alice Ross, Maria, Gib, Alice, Debbie, Lachlan; Ross, Maria, Gib, Alice, Debbie; Alice with Seniornet friends
71: Pics from far page: Alice on trip to Pauline in Wellington With Friends up Gondola With Caroline With Pauline's daughter With Mrs Eden With Pauline and her daughter
73: Photos: Alice Alice with Francine On trip into Skippers Canyon With Millie With Madeleine Trip into Macetown
76: Alice’s Song Alice Pearson Towse was born in 22 Born in half an hour so quite a rush Mother said she came running and has done since Well mother we would have to certainly agree Alice oft remembers going to the school And the colours of the frocks she wore But mum took sick when Alice she was only seven So back to mum’s whanau in mining town they went Ob-la-di, ob-la-da, life goes on, brah!... Lala how the life goes on... Lingdale holds a special place in history Her dad grew here with Aunt Polly and John Indeed he met his bride right there on that same farm When she did come there as a land girl for the cause Friday se’n November was cold wet and wild That’s the day our Alice joined the WAAF Too weak for cook, too lite for balloon that’s the truth So Alice learnt to drive those great big army trucks Ob-la-di, ob-la-da, life goes on, brah!... Lala how the life goes on... A lucky break saw that Alice was transferred To station headquarters based at Morecombe Pier Personnel Despatch Centre
77: Work was hard but life was fun down at Morcambe Dances, friends and cinema frequent Mother said dancing has stunted you You lost a foot in height of what you might have been Dancing there is where she met our Uncle Gib Shared her birthday cake at twenty one On the top there was a very special plane And Gilbert kept that plane for 50 years or more Ob-la-di, ob-la-da, life goes on, brah!... Lala how the life goes on... After war her job was then in Dusseldorf Control Commission help local folk Ask her how she paid for trips far out of the town Well coffee certainly was currency back then To York she went in 49 with Aunt Norah Rowntree’s is a famous British firm Here she stayed til 60 years in Personnel Once more her colleagues have remained her faithful friends Ob-la-di, ob-la-da, life goes on, brah!... Lala how the life goes on... John Mitchell worked in the Smarties department It was love before the chocolate met the shell Thirty six years together
78: Alice led a friend filled life e’n after this Yoga took a very special place Alice you are super fit in mind and bod You sure give us all something hard to live upto To win a trip is quite something for anyone It’s hard to beat the love story you tell Fancy meeting up after all of those years We’re very glad you came to live in New Zealand Ob-la-di, ob-la-da, life goes on, brah!... Lala how the life goes on... Alice you’re a legend, just incredible With just one change Alice spells ‘ALIVE’ You’re full of life and love we all know fully well We love you lots and lots please know we always will Ob-la-di, ob-la-da, life goes on, brah!... Lala how the life goes on... Ob-la-di, ob-la-da, life goes on, brah!... Lala how the life goes on... Sung to the Beetles song about 'Desmond and Molly Jones'
79: Messages from England Mavis Jones (lives across the road from Auntie Alice in Maple Grove York) "Dear Alice, How wonderful to have reached 90! and to be such good friends. I hope to see you again soon. Best Wishes Mavis" Sylvia & Wallie Ellis (old friend from work) "Lots of Love on your 90th Alice from Sylvia, Wallie and all the family!" Celia and Elaine (Sylvia Tyler's daughters) "Auntie Alice how time flies! from trips in the car with you and Uncle John as children, to more recently trips to see you in New Zealand, many special memories and times. Wish we were there with you to enjoy the celebrations, love Celia, Elaine and the rest of the family." Katie Tyler "Dearest Auntie Alice, many happy returns. It does not feel so long ago since the days of Mrs Clutterbuck and Mrs Black, it hards to believe its nearly 30years! You have been there since the day I was born and have given me nothing but love and inspiration. I am sorry I cannot be there to share with you this special occasion, though I am so thankful you have such wonderful people around you to celebrate with. All my love Katie (Mrs Black)"