© Thames Valley Writers’ Circle
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^
Walter Jardine I’m so saddened by the news of Barbara’s death as, I am sure, will everyone who knew her. My sincere condolences to Susie and all of Barbara’s family and all those who have known her through our writer’s circle. She made a special effort to make new members welcome and to help them to get on the path to writing success. The loss to all will be immense.
Neil Somerville Not only was Barbara the founder of the TVWC but a very skilful writer - her novel Listen to the Drums is a really gripping read - and she won numerous writing prizes. She was also a talented card maker and avid gardener. But above all she was devoted to her family, was caring, encouraging, kind and a marvellous friend to many.
David Baldock This is very sad for all of us, but particularly cruel for Barbara’s family at such a difficult time. They will no doubt be grieving for their loss and for the fact that they could not be with her, and that the funeral will have to be so muted. I shall miss Barbara’s encouragement and humour, and agree with Neil that we ought to honour her memory in some way.
Sarah Cox Such awfully sad news and so difficult for Susie and Neil. I haven’t known Barbara for as long as many of you but she really was such an inspiration and so thoughtful. Even in the time I’ve been with you I remember her little gifts to all of us at Christmas and Easter and her love for the group. She has been greatly missed in the last few months when she’s been ill and I agree with Ian in that I expected her to be back at some point with her mischievous grin and kind words. We definitely must honour her memory
Seyda Eker İ am sorry to hear that Barbara has passed away! My deep condolences to the Writer circle's members. She was my idol. She had a golden heart, was an energetic and active lady in spite of her age. She came to visit us at our summer site in Turkey. We had memorable days together. She even danced with my husband at a nearby cafe. She called him TD (Turkish Delight) Stay safe
Sue Glover I am so sorry to hear this very sad news. Although I didn't know Barbara as well as your members, she encouraged me when I read out a couple of chapters of my story, it gave me the confidence to carry on writing. She graciously admired my poem 'A Jaded Rainbow' and praised me for the sentiments, which encouraged me to continue. She was an amazing Lady and I only wish I got to know her better. R.I.P. Barbara.
Janis Doughty This is very sad news indeed. Like you all say, such a horrible, difficult time for Susie and her family. Like us all, I will miss Barbara too. I loved listening to her poems and stories. I was always amazed and admired her very much that until what seems only recently, she was with us at writing group at 92/93 years of age and still bright as a button, with a very keen mind and chuckling. She was very kind (I remember too her little gifts to us all at Christmas and Easter) and she was always very encouraging. I think it would be lovely and very fitting for us to honour Barbara's memory.
Sally Johnson No words can say how sad I feel today. Barbara was a lovely, talented, mischievous, generous, funny friend. She’ll be greatly missed. So sad for the family, especially Susie who Barbara absolutely adored and vice versa. A very sad day.
Helen Bouchami What very sad news. I’ve known Barbara less long than many of you, but I found her a welcoming and encouraging presence in the Circle. She gave me a signed copy of her book and I really enjoyed reading it. These are difficult times to provide a fitting send- off, as people might normally have done. I am assuming that her family will be the only ones allowed at her funeral. Perhaps we could send a wreath/make a charity contribution from TVWC. I would be happy to contribute.
Derek Walsh Please pass on my sincerest condolences to all concerned. She was a truly lovely person and indeed also, a very skillful writer. I had the real pleasure of reading 'Listen to the drums.' I enjoyed it immensely.
Jan Sprenger Barbara was an inspiration. She was hugely encouraging to me in my writing career.
Marta Cseh I feel so sorry for the loss of Barbara. Though l did not know her, l respected her personality. She was so kind to me when we exchanged some emails just before her illness.
Les Williams For me, Barbara, as well as being an excellent writer, was inspirational. On countless occasions she was extremely helpful with her insights and guidance, often given to me as asides with a wry wit. There can be no doubt that it was her hard work and dedication that created, nurtured and developed the Circle to become the highly appreciated and successful body it now is. For that we all owe her a great debt.
Colin Ferguson Thank you for letting me know about Barbara's death. I have known her since I joined the Circle in 1995. She was a constant support to me in my early writing as she was to so many. She had a near death illness some years ago during which I had the honour of covering for her as Chair for a couple of years She soon bounced back. Her influence on so many is a tribute to her love of writing. I am sure we will find a way of a more lasting tribute to her memory.
Richard and Heather Holdsworth I joined the Group around the year 2000. I was starting out on the long trail of writing my evacuee book; I had not shared any of it with a writer's group and joining TVWG seemed the way to go. Nervous that I was, Barbara made me very welcome - maybe a rather severe approach but that made her warm words even more valued and encouraging. That and the fact that Barbara Smith's own writing was quite exceptional. Heather and I will remember her for ever. She had had the foresight to start a writer's group when there were few around, she nurtured it, guiding it and it is down to her that others have been able to take it forwards and it is the wonderful group it is today. Our wishes are with you all.

Your Tributes

Les Cooper I am afraid that words fail me except to say that Barbara was a lovely friend who I miss and will always remember.
Evette King YOU HOLD A SPECIAL PART IN LIFE. YOUR GENTLE SPIRIT, THE CARE AND ENCOURAGEMENT I WILL NEVER FORGET. YOUR CREATIVITY THE GENUINE INTEREST YOU TOOK IN MY FAMILY AND ALL THOSE THAT JOINED WRITERS CIRCLE. YOUR THOUGHTFUL GIFTS TO MYSELF AND BABY GRANDDAUGHTER EVIE MY LIFE IS ENRICHED FOR MEETING YOU.
Joyce and Gerry Robinson I first met Barbara when we attended a creative writing course in Theale as everyone knows. Following on from there TVWC was born. It was when we attended a writing course at the University (one evening a week) that Barbara suggested Gerry join us rather than dropping me off and then coming to pick me up two hours later. With her encouragement he took up writing and joined the Circle. There have been many memorable moments including her portrayal of the wicked fairy godmother in the Pantomime “Snowpake and the three and a half poets.” We enjoyed her beautiful garden when she hosted summer garden parties for the Circle and she always went beyond tea and biscuits for our committee meetings held in her house. Gerry and I send our thoughts to her family and although we rarely attended the meetings lately the last few times had not seemed right without Barbara sitting in her usual chair.
Helen Collett At first we're stunned. 'I can't believe it.' But the subconscious tells us it is so. Then our thoughts wander down the avenues of memory. When I first met Barbara - so welcoming with a smile - she believed in my writing more that I did. She gave me little pep talks to nudge me on to greater things. Who will be my angelic bully now that she is gone? Or will I wilt not placing finger to keyboard? Dear, Barbara, many a time when we sit around the table, we shall look to the head and our mind's eye will see you there. With all your wisdom, charm and talent you will be sorely missed and nostalgically remembered.
Elizabeth Berk Oh, Barbara, dear, fun-loving Barbara. You brightened up so many events with your cheerful smile and your twinkling eyes. All the garden parties you organised for us, with a lavish spread and games to make us laugh. The lunch parties, large or small, often at the Mansion House in Prospect Park, as in the photo, where we ate, drank and were merry. We first met at the Writers’ Circle, your ‘extended family’, to which you devoted an extraordinary amount of creative effort, care and ingenuity. We all appreciated the varied homeworks you devised, the competitions, the guest speakers, the Christmas gifts you put together for each member. You always had new ideas to stimulate our creative muscle, including writing shared stories and compiling and publishing several anthologies of members’ work. And let’s not forget the committee meetings at your house, with generous refreshments and lots of merriment. Your own personal writing was varied and of a high standard. I loved your clever short stories, with subtle plots that left me thinking; ‘That ended well, but she could also have turned events in a completely different way...or even another way.’ Your novels were also full of intrigue and delightfully written. Thank you for the warmth of your friendship over many years. Your whole personality has been inspiring and serves as a model for making the absolute most out of life. With love from Elizabeth
Chloe Stoakes Barbara's funeral service today ended with the very fitting ' bring me sunshine'. She truely was a ray of sunshine, greeting you with a warm welcoming smile. Without Barbara many of us would never have met, or continued on our writing journey. When I first joined the group, sitting next to her always gave me the confidence to continue to read the most difficult things. She was always so encouraging, telling me to never give up. No matter how long you have known Barbara I think its fair to say she left a lasting impression on us all. Her memory should undoubtedly be honoured. With love Chloe
Claudette Flint I just wanted to send my condolences to Barbara’s family. I sent her an email about 2 months ago to ask her how she was and if she was in the Orkneys. She always encouraged me in my writing and I’ve got her two books. She will be missed a lot. Kind Regards Claudette Flint
Ian Smith A brilliant sense of humour, not just kind but the kindest person you could ever meet. Always optimistic about life and so helpful with her advice and time. So utterly modest too. Like everyone else I shall miss her greatly and the world is poorer today. Thames Valley Writers Circle will ensure the memory of Barbara lives on. Ian
Elizabeth Berk Oh, Barbara, dear, fun-loving Barbara. You brightened up so many events with your cheerful smile and your twinkling eyes. All the garden parties you organised for us, with a lavish spread and games to make us laugh. The lunch parties, large or small, often at the Mansion House in Prospect Park, as in the photo above, where we ate, drank and were merry. We first met at the Writers’ Circle, your ‘extended family’, to which you devoted an extraordinary amount of creative effort, care and ingenuity. We all appreciated the varied homeworks you devised, the competitions, the guest speakers, the Christmas gifts you put together for each member. You always had new ideas to stimulate our creative muscle, including writing shared stories and compiling and publishing several anthologies of members’ work. And let’s not forget the committee meetings at your house, with generous refreshments and lots of merriment. Your own personal writing was varied and of a high standard. I loved your clever short stories, with subtle plots that left me thinking; ‘That ended well, but she could also have turned events in a completely different way...or even another way.’ Your novels were also full of intrigue and delightfully written. Thank you for the warmth of your friendship over many years. Your whole personality has been inspiring and serves as a model for making the absolute most out of life. With love from Elizabeth
© Thames Valley Writers’ Circle
Created with Xara Designer Pro X
^
Walter Jardine I’m so saddened by the news of Barbara’s death as, I am sure, will everyone who knew her. My sincere condolences to Susie and all of Barbara’s family and all those who have known her through our writer’s circle. She made a special effort to make new members welcome and to help them to get on the path to writing success. The loss to all will be immense.

Your Tributes

Neil Somerville Not only was Barbara the founder of the TVWC but a very skilful writer - her novel Listen to the Drums is a really gripping read - and she won numerous writing prizes. She was also a talented card maker and avid gardener. But above all she was devoted to her family, was caring, encouraging, kind and a marvellous friend to many.
David Baldock This is very sad for all of us, but particularly cruel for Barbara’s family at such a difficult time. They will no doubt be grieving for their loss and for the fact that they could not be with her, and that the funeral will have to be so muted. I shall miss Barbara’s encouragement and humour, and agree with Neil that we ought to honour her memory in some way.
Sarah Cox Such awfully sad news and so difficult for Susie and Neil. I haven’t known Barbara for as long as many of you but she really was such an inspiration and so thoughtful. Even in the time I’ve been with you I remember her little gifts to all of us at Christmas and Easter and her love for the group. She has been greatly missed in the last few months when she’s been ill and I agree with Ian in that I expected her to be back at some point with her mischievous grin and kind words. We definitely must honour her memory
Sue Glover I am so sorry to hear this very sad news. Although I didn't know Barbara as well as your members, she encouraged me when I read out a couple of chapters of my story, it gave me the confidence to carry on writing. She graciously admired my poem 'A Jaded Rainbow' and praised me for the sentiments, which encouraged me to continue. She was an amazing Lady and I only wish I got to know her better. R.I.P. Barbara.
Janis Doughty This is very sad news indeed. Like you all say, such a horrible, difficult time for Susie and her family. Like us all, I will miss Barbara too. I loved listening to her poems and stories. I was always amazed and admired her very much that until what seems only recently, she was with us at writing group at 92/93 years of age and still bright as a button, with a very keen mind and chuckling. She was very kind (I remember too her little gifts to us all at Christmas and Easter) and she was always very encouraging. I think it would be lovely and very fitting for us to honour Barbara's memory.
Sally Johnson No words can say how sad I feel today. Barbara was a lovely, talented, mischievous, generous, funny friend. She’ll be greatly missed. So sad for the family, especially Susie who Barbara absolutely adored and vice versa. A very sad day.
Helen Bouchami What very sad news. I’ve known Barbara less long than many of you, but I found her a welcoming and encouraging presence in the Circle. She gave me a signed copy of her book and I really enjoyed reading it. These are difficult times to provide a fitting send-off, as people might normally have done. I am assuming that her family will be the only ones allowed at her funeral. Perhaps we could send a wreath/make a charity contribution from TVWC. I would be happy to contribute.
Derek Walsh Please pass on my sincerest condolences to all concerned. She was a truly lovely person and indeed also, a very skillful writer. I had the real pleasure of reading 'Listen to the drums.' I enjoyed it immensely.
Jan Sprenger Barbara was an inspiration. She was hugely encouraging to me in my writing career.
Marta Cseh I feel so sorry for the loss of Barbara. Though l did not know her, l respected her personality. She was so kind to me when we exchanged some emails just before her illness.
Les Williams For me, Barbara, as well as being an excellent writer, was inspirational. On countless occasions she was extremely helpful with her insights and guidance, often given to me as asides with a wry wit. There can be no doubt that it was her hard work and dedication that created, nurtured and developed the Circle to become the highly appreciated and successful body it now is. For that we all owe her a great debt.
Colin Ferguson Thank you for letting me know about Barbara's death. I have known her since I joined the Circle in 1995. She was a constant support to me in my early writing as she was to so many. She had a near death illness some years ago during which I had the honour of covering for her as Chair for a couple of years She soon bounced back. Her influence on so many is a tribute to her love of writing. I am sure we will find a way of a more lasting tribute to her memory.
Richard and Heather Holdsworth I joined the Group around the year 2000. I was starting out on the long trail of writing my evacuee book; I had not shared any of it with a writer's group and joining TVWG seemed the way to go. Nervous that I was, Barbara made me very welcome - maybe a rather severe approach but that made her warm words even more valued and encouraging. That and the fact that Barbara Smith's own writing was quite exceptional. Heather and I will remember her for ever. She had had the foresight to start a writer's group when there were few around, she nurtured it, guiding it and it is down to her that others have been able to take it forwards and it is the wonderful group it is today. Our wishes are with you all.
Les Cooper I am afraid that words fail me except to say that Barbara was a lovely friend who I miss and will always remember.
Evette King YOU HOLD A SPECIAL PART IN LIFE. YOUR GENTLE SPIRIT, THE CARE AND ENCOURAGEMENT I WILL NEVER FORGET. YOUR CREATIVITY THE GENUINE INTEREST YOU TOOK IN MY FAMILY AND ALL THOSE THAT JOINED WRITERS CIRCLE. YOUR THOUGHTFUL GIFTS TO MYSELF AND BABY GRANDDAUGHTER EVIE MY LIFE IS ENRICHED FOR MEETING YOU.
Joyce and Gerry Robinson I first met Barbara when we attended a creative writing course in Theale as everyone knows. Following on from there TVWC was born. It was when we attended a writing course at the University (one evening a week) that Barbara suggested Gerry join us rather than dropping me off and then coming to pick me up two hours later. With her encouragement he took up writing and joined the Circle. There have been many memorable moments including her portrayal of the wicked fairy godmother in the Pantomime “Snowpake and the three and a half poets.” We enjoyed her beautiful garden when she hosted summer garden parties for the Circle and she always went beyond tea and biscuits for our committee meetings held in her house. Gerry and I send our thoughts to her family and although we rarely attended the meetings lately the last few times had not seemed right without Barbara sitting in her usual chair.
Seyda Eker İ am sorry to hear that Barbara has passed away! My deep condolences to the Writer circle's members. She was my idol. She had a golden heart, was an energetic and active lady in spite of her age. She came to visit us at our summer site in Turkey. We had memorable days together. She even danced with my husband at a nearby cafe. She called him TD (Turkish Delight) Stay safe
Helen Collett At first we're stunned. 'I can't believe it.' But the subconscious tells us it is so. Then our thoughts wander down the avenues of memory. When I first met Barbara - so welcoming with a smile - she believed in my writing more that I did. She gave me little pep talks to nudge me on to greater things. Who will be my angelic bully now that she is gone? Or will I wilt not placing finger to keyboard? Dear, Barbara, many a time when we sit around the table, we shall look to the head and our mind's eye will see you there. With all your wisdom, charm and talent you will be sorely missed and nostalgically remembered.
Chloe Stoakes Barbara's funeral service today ended with the very fitting ' bring me sunshine'. She truely was a ray of sunshine, greeting you with a warm welcoming smile. Without Barbara many of us would never have met, or continued on our writing journey. When I first joined the group, sitting next to her always gave me the confidence to continue to read the most difficult things. She was always so encouraging, telling me to never give up. No matter how long you have known Barbara I think its fair to say she left a lasting impression on us all. Her memory should undoubtedly be honoured. With love Chloe
Claudette Flint I just wanted to send my condolences to Barbara’s family. I sent her an email about 2 months ago to ask her how she was and if she was in the Orkneys. She always encouraged me in my writing and I’ve got her two books. She will be missed a lot. Kind Regards Claudette Flint
Ian Smith A brilliant sense of humour, not just kind but the kindest person you could ever meet. Always optimistic about life and so helpful with her advice and time. So utterly modest too. Like everyone else I shall miss her greatly and the world is poorer today. Thames Valley Writers Circle will ensure the memory of Barbara lives on. Ian
for writers of fiction, non-fiction and poetry
Thames Valley Writers’ Circle
Tributes
for writers of fiction, non-fiction and poetry
Thames Valley Writers’ Circle
Tributes