My mom, Violet Pole, who has died aged 92, was a social employee, trainer, socialist, campaigner, traveller and lover of the humanities. In some ways she was forward of her time, and handed her adventurous and unbiased spirit on to her 4 daughters.
Violet was born in Cardiff, the eldest youngster of Richard (Dick) Woodruff, an engineer, and Winifred Rees, who in 1935 inherited the household pub in Cefn Cribwr, close to Bridgend. There Violet and her sister and brother spent the Despair and conflict years, whereas their father labored on the motor vegetation in Dagenham and Coventry. When the information of the top of the conflict got here on the eve of VJ Day, she and a good friend walked by means of the evening from their village to the following one, shouting by means of the letterboxes: “The conflict is over!”
Violet, at all times an avid reader, went to Bridgend county grammar college for ladies after which to Cardiff College. After graduating in English, French and historical past in 1951, she started the brand new skilled social work diploma, and labored as a kids’s officer within the Rhondda for a number of years, after which as a youth employment officer. Throughout this time she met a younger educational, David Pole. They married in 1956.
When in 1970 David grew to become financial adviser to the Division of Well being and Social Safety, Violet was uprooted from her household and social circle. She launched into a London historical past course, joined a girls’s membership and have become lively within the Labour celebration, starting an lively profession of native activism. She was a historical past trainer for a yr at Beaverwood college for ladies and taught intermittently (1976-79) at Valley major college, each in Bromley.
In later life Violet and David returned to Cefn Cribwr, the place she threw herself into village life, a course of eased by the truth that she was associated by various levels to half the inhabitants. She grew to become chair of the group council, served on the constituency Labour government, co-founded a neighborhood preservation group, began women’ multisports periods – the place beforehand all funding had gone to boys, campaigned to maintain footpaths open and towards the opencast mine. Her reminiscence was astonishing: she may keep in mind the names, relationships and lives of tons of of native individuals from the Thirties onwards.
Violet had a expertise for narrative, bringing to vivid life her childhood and her travels throughout Europe together with her sister, Barbara, and later with David. Her vary of pursuits was extraordinary and her assortment of books, leaflets and periodicals huge.
A lifelong socialist, Violet was already taking the Guardian within the days when it arrived in Cardiff a day late, and carried on studying it day-after-day. She supported causes from Liberty to the Open Areas Society. The day earlier than the Brexit referendum, she and David, by now 90, each fervent Europeans, had been the one native volunteers who managed to leaflet the complete village of 640 households.
Violet continued to stay independently after David’s demise in 2021. She is survived by her 4 daughters, Laura, Eleanor, Elizabeth and me, by seven grandchildren and her sister, Barbara.