Local artist dies aged 94

A talented artist who was instrumental in the setting up of Norden Farm has died aged 94.

Born in Caversham, Reading in 1924 Marjorie was an only child who moved to Datchet with her parents where she grew up.

She gained her secondary education at Windsor Girls’ School in Imperial Road, Windsor.

In the 1940s Marjorie worked in Runnymede for a branch of the London County Council (LCC).

The LCC was the smaller predecessor of the Greater London Council (GLC) - the local government administrative body for Greater London from 1965 to 1986.

While working here Marjorie met Bunty (Herbert) Palmer and the pair married in 1949 at Windsor Parish Church of St John the Baptist.

They moved to Muswell Hill in London the same year.

Here Bunty completed a part-time psychology degree at Birkbeck, University of London while still working at the LCC.

In 1953 Marjorie and Bunty welcomed their first child, Susan, and two years later in 1955 the family moved to Graham Close in Maidenhead.

Son Philip was then born in 1957 and David in 1959. All children attended Larchfield Primary and Nursery School.

Philip and David then went to Maidenhead Grammar School, now Desborough College and Susan went to Maidenhead High School, now Newlands irls’ School.

A woman who enjoyed being sociable, Marjorie joined the National Housewives' Register, now known as the national women’s register, while raising her children.

Then in the 1970s after becoming fascinated with history she and Bunty joined the Maidenhead Archaeological Society.

As a result of joining the society, Marjorie unearthed a talent of her own – mending broken china.

She turned this pass time into a small business - researching exactly what pieces should look like before skillfully glueing and painting the item to look as good as new.

In 1980 she was invited onto Antiques Roadshow as one of the reception panel that vets and categorises the items brought in by the public.

It was as a result of mending the china that Marjorie found painting - ‘the love of her life’.

She joined Cookham Arts Club and Maidenhead Painting Club in the 1980s, where she was chairman, and an active member for more than 30 years.

During this time she produced hundreds of paintings and drawings painting ‘anything and everything’ in various styles and using mixed media.

In the early 1980s Marjorie and Bunty divorced but they remained firm friends until Bunty’s passing in 2000.

Some time after they parted ways Marjorie put an advert in the newspaper requesting a partner to attend a New Years ball with her.

One of the respondents was Donald Lee, who Marjorie went on to marry in 1984.

Sadly their union was short-lived as Donald died suddenly in 1990 but during their years together they were very happy.

They travelled in Europe and visited Marjorie’s daughter Susan in Israel, where she was living at the time.

After Donald’s death Marjorie lived a full life, she continued with her art classes and was instrumental in the 2000 opening of Norden Farm Centre for the Arts in Altwood Road.

Her name is included in a framed dedication hanging in the annexe of the centre's long barn listing the Maidenhead Arts members who contributed to the opening of the centre.

In early 2000 Marjorie fell in love with Tony Durham – ‘they were like teenagers in love’ and ‘got on like a house on fire’.

Together they enjoyed a very happy relationship until the Alzheimer's disease Marjorie was diagnosed with in her late 80s meant she needed residential care.

In 2015 she moved to Meadowbank Care Home where Tony would still visit her.

Marjorie was ‘so happy there’ and her children and family are extremely grateful tp the staff who showed her ‘the very best care and much love and affection’.

Marjorie’s daughter Susan Altman has called Marjorie her ‘best friend’.

She said: “She was a force of nature, stubborn and determined and fiercely proud of her family, which she considered her greatest achievement.

She was a complicated person and unpredictable at times, but she had a wonderful and slightly wicked, sense of humour. She loved a party and she loved to be the centre of attention."

Marjorie leaves behind her three children, Susan, Philip and David, eleven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, all of whom will miss her dearly.