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Former manager of Maidenhead Citizens Advice Bureau dies aged 86

A woman whose dedication to the Maidenhead Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) earned her an MBE has died aged 86.

Susie Tremlett began working at Maidenhead CAB, now known as Citizens Advice Maidenhead & Windsor, as a voluntary adviser for a few hours a week in 1970 and retired 24 years later.

She died unexpectedly at her home in Cookham Dean on July 31.

Born Shirley Susannah Horner in 1934 to Leonard and Shirley, Susie grew up with her two siblings, Julian and Cecile, in Dorney and went to St Paul's School in Barnes, London.

After her schooling she became a legal secretary and met Martin Tremlett in in 1954, at a Conservative Association party.

The couple married at St James the Less church in Dorney in 1956 and moved to Hockett Lane in Cookham Dean, and later Startins Lane, where raised their three sons.

Nick was born in 1959, followed by Jonathan in 1961 and James in 1964. All three boys went to Herries Nursery and Preparatory School, Claires Court and Bradfield College.

In 1970 Susie started with the CAB after a friend who had volunteered for the organisation suggested she would find it interesting.

Nick said: “She was a very intelligent woman and having years and years of just looking after the kids she wanted a bit more of a challenge.”

At the age of 37, and after only two years of volunteering, Susie the became the youngest ‘organiser’ at Maidenhead CAB, a role later referred to as ‘manager’.

Nick said Maidenhead CAB started off as ‘a bunch of volunteers who were doing their best to try and help people’ but that Susie transformed it into ‘a well-respected organisation’.

Patricia Lattimer had a 30-year career with the CAB which started when she joined the Maidenhead branch in 1986 after reading an article in the Advertiser which Susie had written.

As a volunteer she was trained by Susie before becoming her deputy in 1990 and then later Maidenhead CAB manager when Susie retired.

Patricia describes her colleague and friend as ‘quite somebody’, who was ‘a lot of fun’, talented, dedicated, and ‘very professional’.

“People didn’t talk in those terms [professional], but that’s what it was with Susie, always,” said Patricia.

“If you were in Maidenhead bureau you would do things properly, and she knew what properly was.”

Patricia explained that Susie knew the CAB had to be respected by the council ‘because that’s where the funding came from’.

“She was brave,” added Patricia. “Not because it was easy, but when it was right on behalf of individuals and groups, and the bureau.”

According to Patricia, Susie ‘kept the place going’ and her reputation proceeded her with organisations in the town vying to get her involved with new projects.

For this reason, Patricia says there are ‘very few organisations in this town that she didn’t have some part in helping to get going’.

“There are so many people her life has touched, directly and indirectly,” said Patricia.

“I count myself very fortunate to have spent so many years working with her and knowing her.”

During her time at Maidenhead CAB Susie oversaw many office moves and instigated a visit to the branch from the Queen and Prince Philip in 1989 to celebrate the CABs Golden Jubilee.

Speaking to the Advertiser in 1993 after being made an MBE in the New Year Honours list Susie said: “It’s a job I have loved doing.”

In addition to her position as Maidenhead CAB manager, Susie was a member of the Toynbee Housing committee, Victim Support, Maidenhead Community Council and the Police Consultative Council.

She was also vice-chairman of the CAB area, which included Berkshire, Hampshire, West Sussex and Dorset, and when she retired in 1994 she hardly slowed down.

She became an adviser around CAB structures, was trustee of Elizabeth House and in 2007 became a trustee of Berkshire Community Foundation (BCF).

For the last five years of her 10-year tenure at BCF she was chairperson of the grants committee, responsible for granting almost £4.1 million and when she stood down as a trustee of BCF in June 2017 she became vice president.

A tribute made by BCF following Susie’s death says she was one of the charity’s ‘most loyal and important supporters’ and described her as having ‘enthusiasm and compassion for those most vulnerable and in need’.

A very keen gardener and lover of the arts, Susie was a member, and for a time chairperson, of the Cookham and Cookham Dean Horticultural Society, she sang with Windsor and Eton Choral Society and was trustee of the Stanley Spencer Gallery.

In between all her commitments and hobbies Susie and Martin enjoyed many holidays abroad, including particularly memorable trips to Costa Rica and Malaysia, and going on safari twice in Africa.

In March last year Martin died, and after 63 years of marriage, it was a loss keenly felt by Susie.

Susie’s funeral will be held on Monday, September 7 and attended by her family.

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