Roxy and Ray Base

by John Dixon, written with assistance from Jacqui Hatcher, their family friend

During the past two years, we have lost these two long-term members of the Society.

Roxy played such an important part in the Society’s history.  We inherited her as [then unknown to me] a founder of Tewkesbury U3A and we benefitted so much from her talents.  She took on the very difficult role of Chairman [a term always at Roxy’s insistence] after my retirement as founding Chairman. She was always a tour de force but with very successful diplomatic skills and because of this I felt we were in very good hands.  Even when she retired as Chairman, she acted as Editor of the THS Bulletin for Volumes 9-13, when her computing and secretarial skills enabled her to re-edit our Founding Bulletin 1 in a much-appreciated modern format. Even after retiring, yet again, we had the infinite benefit of her becoming the proof-reader for subsequent volumes and we rightly named her the D.A.P.R. – the Dreaded Anonymous Proof Reader!  We certainly had no complaints about spelling or grammatical errors.  That tradition was continued even when she did finally retire!  It was at that point when she was rightly elected as one of the Society’s five Life Members.

The epithet anonymous was very appropriate as she never wanted overt appreciation – which we wanted to give.  Léonie Roxana Base (née Wilkinson) was born in Harrogate at her grand parents’ home, but moved to 103 Brooklyn Road, Cheltenham.  She was initially educated at Christchurch School, Malvern Road - for 1 day only as “they made all the children lie down in the afternoon instead of lessons, so I refused to go back”.  She was whisked away to a private school and, “while doing sums I could hear the Latin lesson going on, so learned amo–amas–amat at an early age!”.  That benefitted our proof-reader - and her rebellious nature continued at Pates Grammar School. She was then “studying for Higher School Cert with languages (English, Latin, French & German) and possible University, but upped and left after a disagreement with the German teacher. (I’d been off with jaundice for weeks and had not kept up with the necessary bookwork.) A bad decision that affected my whole life!”.  We benefitted, however, from her choice of a Secretarial Course at North Glos. Technical School, at the Park, but she had to be patient before gaining her BA with the Open University in 1983.  I only discovered that after we made her a Life Member!

An erroneous newspaper report from the Rimbo Green Archive.  Roxy’s father, Mr. Wilkinson was our Festival Director pictured here in famous local company – but the newspaper erred as he was centre with Ken Smale, to his right!
Roxy and Ray on their wedding Day,
22 September 1956 [J. Hatcher]
Roxy and Ray on their wedding Day,
22 September 1956 [J. Hatcher]Click Image
 to Expand
It was also late that I realised that her father had played a significant role in Tewkesbury for the historic visit of the Queen, Elizabeth II, in 1971. 

From 1950-1990 she undertook Secretarial jobs at Dowty Mining Equipment, Air Registration Board and Cambrian Airways at Staverton (including Air Traffic Control where she gained a radio operator’s licence). I am not surprised then that she moved on to her own businesses Beta Typing Agency & Leoprint Ltd., BAE Systems Filton, Inchbrook Printers, CEGB Berkeley & Barnwood, Linotype-Paul and Quorum Technical Services. When Ray was due to retire, she preceded him from Quorum, aged 58 in July 1990, where she had been Company Director, Company Secretary, typesetter and proof-reader. Not surprisingly the firm had been bought out and her shares in Quorum had realised a good sum, so retirement at “Quietude”, Shuthonger, was “quite comfortable”.

Her husband was Raymond Victor Base who was famous to us as a World War II veteran in 115 Squadron [on “Lancasters”!] who went on to work at Dowty [like Roxy – but in different departments!] and then BAC Concord at Filton.  He was working for Dowty Rotol when he retired.  He predeceased Roxy who reached 90 whilst living at Marina Court.  I was so saddened that illness prevented our celebrating with their famous tea at the Mythe Garden Centre.  I was, however, very grateful to Jacqui Hatcher who cared for her during her last months.  For me, Roxy will be unique and unforgettable, and the Society benefitted so much from her contribution.

I was very disappointed when I learned that both Roxy and Ray did not wish to have a funeral – but, now I have written her obituary, I fully understand the logic of her decision.

Bulletin articles by Roxy Base
A Man about Town!Bulletin No 10 (2001)
Print Version


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