Ann Ewings 1937-2017: Updated

November 24th, 2017

Our longest serving committee member Ann Ewings has died, aged 79. You can see the full report here.

The funeral will be held in at 9:30am, Wednesday, 17th January, at South Chapel, Brighton Crematorium (‘Woodvale’) Lewes Road/Bear Road.

There will be a gathering for refreshments after the funeral (10.30am-12.30pm) at the Barnard Community Centre, on the ground floor of the St John’s Mount block of flats, Mount Pleasant, BN2 0JP. All welcome.

Ann will be greatly missed by all of us at the Friends Of Queens Park. Here are some thoughts and memories of an unforgettable character.

“We are deeply saddened to learn of Ann Ewing’s passing this week. Nobody cared more about Queens Park or worked as tirelessly to raise money and care for the wildlife as Ann. She was the longest standing member of the Friends group, she was always present at meetings, whatever the weather or the state of her health. Most people will remember her for the raffle of course at the Picnic with the stellar list prizes that she so skillfully managed to procure every year. Ann certainly had the magic touch! I have my own personal memories of fighting over the mic each year as she worried about the raffle takings and wanted to read out the prizes (one more time). It reminds me of all her best qualities – wry, dogged and a true character. I also smile when I think of the pond being refurbished, when she corralled a group of local men (myself included) to herd the geese up safely each night away from the foxes. Ann could be a powerful force at our meetings sometimes, but one thing is for sure – her heart was always in the right place and we will miss her very much. – Johnny Webb, chair, Friends Of Queens Park

“Ann Ewing was an exemplar of the ‘engaged citizen’. I quickly encountered her when serving as a city councillor. She was an active member of nearly every housing and residents’ group. Having worked for an MP in the past, she was used to doing her homework and would come to meetings armed with facts and was never shy when it came to challenging the status quo. She certainly had the capacity to annoy some, but one could never deny her indomitable spirit to fight the corner to improve the lot of her neighbours and the wider local community. She was absolutely devoted to Queen’s Park. Apart from her wise counsel as a committee member of the Friends of Queen’s Park, she was the go-to person to assemble the most extraordinary number of prizes from unsuspecting suppliers for the annual Picnic in the Park raffle. She was a one-off who will be sorely missed.” – Geoffrey Bowden, Friends Of Queens Park, and former chair of BHCC Economic Development & Culture Committee

“Ann ran the raffle at Picnic In The Park, and she took it very seriously indeed. Sometimes, it seemed like Ann’s Raffle was the main event and everything else just a side show. She was indefatigable in her quest for prizes, and typically had a long list of goodies – helicopter flights, hampers, luxury meals  – ready to hand, while the event was still in the planning stages. We joked about Ann terrorising the local merchants of Brighton, who amazingly kept contributing prizes year after year. But Ann’s secret weapon – the little touch which kept the avenues of trust and communication open – was more prosaic: the old fashioned thank you letter. She wrote them to everyone, for everything, without fail. When my daughters helped out with ticketing at Picnic in the Park, they each received a hand written note from Ann to say thanks for their efforts. I received one once for some minor service that did not merit such elaborate acknowledgement, but I appreciated it enormously. Is that a habit which we’re losing in this digital age? I hope not, because taking the time to say ‘thank you’ is a terrific life lesson for young and old. Thank you Ann.” – Conrad Brunner, Friends Of Queens Park

“Last time I saw Ann was at the last Friends of Queens Park committee meeting. A cold & rainy autumn night, she still attended when she knew she would have to tackle some stairs at the meeting venue. She was standing in the pub when I arrived, holding onto a chair. It took a while to half push, half carry her up the short flight of stairs to the meeting. Afterwards she had nearly as much difficulty getting down again, and into a taxi. Until then I had no idea how disabled she had become. The following morning Ann was on the phone at 8am, telling me what “an angel” I was for helping her. It was the longest conversation I ever had with Ann, and I felt very guilty for not having helped her before. Too late now.” – Delia Forester, Friends Of Queens Park

“She was chair of the Mount Pleasance residents association for the various social housing homes off Eastern Road and was always concerned about her fellow residents and neighbours. She was also a brilliant activist and supporter of Kemp Town Conservative Association and was often involved in stuffing envelopes, delivering literature, canvassing and campaigning. I helped her several years to sell Picnic in the Park raffle tickets and to pack up her stall after. Last year I actually won a prize, tea for two at the Grand Brighton. I knew who I wanted to take – Ann. I wanted her to experience one of the fabulous prizes that she did so much to get, really as a thank you and to recognise what she willingly did to help others. It was a battle to get her to accept it but so glad I persuaded her to come with me.” – Gail Woodcock, friend.