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May Eugénie SLADDEN (1879-1959)

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Biographical Details

May Eugénie Sladden (1879-1959), was the second child and eldest daughter of Julius and Eugénie Sladden.

May was born at Seward House, Badsey, on 22nd November 1879 and baptized in St James’ Church, Badsey, on 28th December 1879.  May was educated at St Margaret’s School, Clewer, Windsor, in the 1890s.  From October 1900 to May 1901, May studied at École Normale d'Institutrices, Orléans.  She then did private teaching away from home, one post being in Tonbridge.

In October 1905 May set sail from England on RMS Orontes of The Orient Pacific Line, bound for New Zealand, where she spent some time visiting her Sladden relatives (her Uncle, Dilnot Sladden, and family); she was accompanied by her aunt, Charlotte Hayward (Aunt Lottie).  In September 1906, May and Aunt Lottie were due to return home when Dilnot Sladden suddenly died of heart failure.  He had accompanied his niece and sister to Sydney to say goodbye and died at Petty’s Hotel.  May arrived back in England in October 1906.

In 1909, May, together with Marjory Slater of Evesham, opened Greenhill School in Evesham, taking over the premises vacated by Prince Henry’s Grammar School who were going to a new building on Victoria Avenue.

May did much work for St James’ Church, Badsey.  She was Secretary of the Parochial Church Council for 22 years, and a member for considerably longer.  She also served for many years on the Worcester Diocesan Board of Women’s Work.  She also helped with the Mothers’ Union and with the Sunday School.

May died at Seward House on 14th July 1959, aged 79, and was buried two days later.  The obituary which appeared in the Parish Magazine of August 1959 reveals that her death was unexpected:  “The sudden death of Miss May Sladden came as a great shock to all of us who knew her, for she had been about as usual the day before and seemed as well as ever.”  Charles Binyon, who wrote the obituary, continued by saying:  “She was always ready to help in every way possible and rendered many services to the Church, some by no means easy, all in a quiet unassuming manner.  Indeed, the great thing that must have struck everyone who knew her was her great love and devotion for the Church, and it is pleasant to think she was able to keep up attendance, in spite of great difficulty, to the last.  Many of us will always remember how we joined together on the last Sunday to partake of the Holy Communion, and the kind words she spoke.  She will be greatly missed, and the sincere sympathy of all who knew her is given to her family.”

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