This appreciation was published in the March 2021 issue of the Layer de la Haye Parish Gazette
It is with sadness that we acknowledge the death of Peter Goodchild on 17th January 2021.
Peter Goodchild was born in Clacton, where his father was an electrician, and later attended the Teacher Training College there. He was a quiet, unassuming but very capable man who never pushed himself forward, and although he was quiet, the twinkle in his eye revealed his very dry sense of humour. He and his wife Doreen, who was also born in Clacton, met at Alderman Blaxill School where Peter taught art and Doreen taught maths, economics and dressmaking. When Peter and Doreen married, Peter gained his two stepchildren, Annie and Paul. Peter and Doreen's marriage was blessed in Layer Church by the then vicar, the Reverend John Sibson.
Around this time, when John Sibson was editor, Peter began producing a pen and ink drawing each month for the cover of the Parish Magazine, something he continued to do with tremendous reliability right up to the autumn of last year. His subjects were taken from all across the village and it was always fun to recognise where he had been sketching this time. He and Doreen took over the magazine in 1990 when John and his family left the village, and ran it for some fifteen years, producing it by hand, cutting and pasting the articles into place, until finally passing it on in 2004 to other hands to become the digitalised version we have today.
Right: Peter's illustration which appears on the cover of our
Common Worship Holy Communion booklets.
It is as a gifted artist that many people will remember Peter; his drawings frequently drew admiring comments. When preparing the 'St John the Baptist's Church Common Worship Holy Communion' booklets twenty years ago, Richard Carr asked Peter if he would do some illustrations for the booklet. Without hesitation, Peter agreed and produced a selection; eight of his drawings appear in the service book, which is still in use. Although people are mainly aware of Peter's pen and ink drawings, it would be remiss to overlook his work with watercolours, witness the watercolour below by Peter of the south side of Layer de la Haye church. That art was an integral part of his life is clear from this story told by Edward Alport of a time when both had been in hospital: "One story Peter told me when we were comparing notes on heart valve treatment. He said that his occupation in bed was drawing (obviously) but having drawn everything in the ward he ran out of subjects. Eventually he was reduced to drawing pictures of his own feet."
In 1969, Colchester was twinned with the German town of Wetzlar. Peter was a stout supporter of twinning and together with his wife Doreen, was for many years a stalwart of the Colchester Twinning Society, frequently hosting visitors from Wetzlar and, with Doreen, making regular visits to Germany himself. His easy, friendly approach made him an excellent ambassador for the town. They both served for many years on the committee. Their particular interest was Wetzlar, but they also visited Avignon and were involved in school exchanges. 'The Goodchildren', as they were sometimes known, were especially friendly with Wetzlar's 'Baroness', Freifrau Gabriella von Falkenhausen. Peter's art training and teaching came to the fore with "Twin Town News", in which many articles were enlivened with his drawings and vignettes. He and Doreen also led the Anglo-German Society, which ran in parallel with the Town Twinning, for many years, until about 2000.
Peter loved pottering in his garden. He was also an enthusiastic admirer of Saab cars. Every year, when BMW put out their spoof advertisement on April Fool's Day, knowing Robin Orbell's love of BMWs, Peter used to slip it through his door in case he had missed it. Those in the know can still see the grin on Peter's face when he did this.
Peter was a constant contributor to the church community and served as an active member of the PCC for many years, in recognition of which, on his retirement from the PCC he was appointed Churchwarden Emeritus. A supportive friend and a well-loved member of the church community and the village, Peter will be much missed.
Page created: 27 Feb 2021 at 12:18