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Tributes paid to Peggy Cole MBE, the ‘ordinary’ Suffolk girl who taught us so much

PUBLISHED: 05:00 11 January 2016 | UPDATED: 09:24 11 January 2016

Peggy Cole, who has died at the age of 80, pictured in 2011 in Woodbridge

Peggy Cole, who has died at the age of 80, pictured in 2011 in Woodbridge

Tributes have been paid to Peggy Cole MBE, the Suffolk woman who championed the county and its rural way of life.

An archive photograph of Peggy Cole at her home n Charsfield, where she used to open her garden for charity.An archive photograph of Peggy Cole at her home n Charsfield, where she used to open her garden for charity.

Peggy, who appeared in the film Akenfield, died on Friday at the age of 80, after a brave battle with cancer.

A long-time columnist for the East Anglian Daily Times and Ipswich Star, she was famous for her country lore, reminding us how rural Suffolk used to be, and of the values we ought to cling on to.

Her rural good-sense struck a chord with readers, and audiences responded to the sense of timelessness and seasonal pattern.

They recognised the authentic Suffolkness – and there were plenty of pleasing turns of phrase, like a jay “shrieking like a witch” as it carried away its prize of acorns.

2015 Suffolk Show president Terry Hunt presents Peggy Cole MBE with her Long Service Award.2015 Suffolk Show president Terry Hunt presents Peggy Cole MBE with her Long Service Award.

She moved from Charsfield to the Woodbridge area 15 years ago.

Yesterday, a statement released by Peggy’s family read: “Peggy was a unique mother and a grandmother as well as a friend to many.

“Over the last few months we as her family are very lucky to have been able to reflect with Peggy on her life; and what a life it was.

“She was very clear that she had no regrets and felt blessed to have lived a wonderful life.

“Her faith gave her great strength throughout her life and enabled her to approach her last days without fear.

“Being born into a poor family before the Second World War, she never imagined the life that she would go on to live; travelling the world, meeting royalty, but always whilst staying true to herself and to her Suffolk roots.

“She was very proud to be able to say that she never put on any airs and graces; we are not sure she even knew how! Suffolk and gardening were her two greatest passions, and she was blessed to be able to dedicate her life to sharing those passions with others.”

They added: “As a family we will miss her limitless knowledge, her companionship, her dry sense of humour and her extraordinary ability to turn any conversation into a
conversation about Suffolk and the countryside. She was a kind, loving and devoted mother and grandmother who will be greatly missed.”

Peggy’s family would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the staff at St Elizabeth Hospice for their care, help and support.


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