Tributes to South Shields vicar’s wife whose kettle was always on

Elizabeth Hilditch, whose husband Richard was vicar of St Mary's Church at Tyne Dock.
Elizabeth Hilditch, whose husband Richard was vicar of St Mary's Church at Tyne Dock.

Tributes have been paid to the wife of a vicar who left a huge mark on a parish in South Tyneside.

Richard and Elizabeth Hilditch became the pillars of the community at Tyne Dock in South Shields following the Second World War.

The Rev Richard Hilditch and wife Elizabeth with their daughters Penny and Judith.

The Rev Richard Hilditch and wife Elizabeth with their daughters Penny and Judith.

The couple brought up their two daughters Judith and Penny and stayed in the parish - where Richard was the vicar at St Mary’s Church - until he retired in the late 1970s.

The church was later demolished and, following her husband’s death in 1979, Mrs Hilditch moved south to be with her family.

Mrs Hilditch, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, died at the age of 96 on January 29 at a care Home in Wallingford, Oxfordshire.

Her daughter Penny said: “My mum took on the daunting role of vicar’s wife when she was still only 20. They lived on a shoestring.

The large kitchen was forever full of visitors, young and old, and the kettle was always on.

Penny Young

“She was an expert at frugal meals and, not only did she make her own and our clothes, as we entered our teens she taught us and our friends home dressmaking too.

“The house was huge, old fashioned and dusty. The large kitchen was forever full of visitors, young and old, and the kettle was always on.

“There was the Mother’s Union and the Dramatic Society to run. There were parish hikes, visits to Marsden Beach and choirboys’ and Sunday school outings. Her picnics were legendary.”

In later life Mrs Hilditch became a member of the Women’s Institute and enjoyed holidays with friends until she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

Her funeral will be held tomorrow in the parish church of Benson in Oxforshire.