CATHLEEN WOOD 1935 – 2014
Cathleen was born in Sely Oak, Birmingham, but her early years were spent in Secunderbad, India as her father was working with the Methodist Missionary Society there. At the age of 13, she returned to Hunmanby Hall Methodist School in Yorkshire and became head girl. She went to St. Andrew’s University to study history and then to teacher training in Oxford. She began her teaching career in Fishponds, Bristol before moving to Wolverhamption. It was there that she got involved with the Community of Prayer and Action and met David Wood, who was at that time Vicar of St. George’s Church. Cathleen helped David with supporting people in need and ran a house for women in need.
After David and Cathleen were married in Selly Oak, they left the Community and took on a farm in Herefordshire. Then David found a new job as warden of Communi-care in Killingworth, a new town near Newcastle. This was an ecumenical project and their house soon became the natural centre for the community. In 1971, their daughter Rachel was born. Three years later, David and Cathleen took the decision to separate and Cathleen brought Rachel to live with her in Leicester. Times were challenging, but Cathleen settled into the community at St. Barnabus Church and she found a job as an RE teacher at Judgemeadow School, where she stayed for nearly 20 years.
Cathleen enjoyed a contemplative life and was involved in prayer groups and the Quiet garden movement. She was also an active member of the Christian-Muslim Women’s Dialogue group.
Cathleen was a firm supporter of the Evington in Bloom campaign and was often seen out and about picking up other people’s litter, inspiring others with her gentle approach and dedication. She wrote some beautiful letters to young men that she left in St. Deny’s churchyard, making a heartfelt appeal to their imagination, when they used and abused the land. Cathleen wrote to the Evington Echo saying, “I have been litter picking in Evington for over ten years now. It began when I used to walk back from St. James the Greater after the Sunday service. I felt I would rather pick up at least some of the litter rather than just growl at it in disgust.” Later she worked for many hours daily in the village to support the ‘In Bloom’ campaign.
Cathleen’s deep faith, sharp intellect and generous compassion leave a lasting legacy in the hearts of all those who knew her and loved her.