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Headteacher’s final act of kindness gives our paper a vital lifeline . . .

Pat Lowe loved sharing her stories about travelling the world 

  • by TOM DOWLING, editor

AN AMAZING act of kindness has given a lifeline to your free All Together NOW! newspaper.

Last autumn, we had to tell you that, despite the clear and growing need for the paper, the future looked very bleak indeed.

Ongoing production costs and less and less funding meant we were facing a year in which it would be virtually impossible to balance the books.

And then out of the blue came news that we had been named as a beneficiary in a will …

Former headteacher Pat (Audrey) Lowe – a dear friend and avid reader of All Together NOW! – left £25,000 to the charity to support the work of the newspaper.

This is an enormous boost to morale and coffers. While it doesn’t completely get us out of the woods, it certainly gives us hope and should keep us going that extra bit longer.

I first met Pat 50 years ago. As an adventurous teenager, I’d been inspired by her many epic journeys being reported in the local newspapers.

She was not long back from an expedition to Kathmandu that took in a 360-mile mountain trek to the Everest base camp – the very same trip me and my three friends were planning to undertake.

When I told her of our plans, she immediately invited us for tea at her home in Upton, Chester, providing us with trayfuls of scones and guides full of vital information about what lay in store for us.

Unfortunately, our roadtrip in 1974 ended tragically on a roadside in Iran. During a dawn attack on our vehicle, two of us were shot.

Luckily, a bullet in Ken’s head was successfully removed. But the one that crashed between my shoulder blades left me paralysed from the chest.

For whatever reason, Pat did not hear what happened to us.

Fast forward 40 years and our paths were to cross again. This time she’d read about All Together NOW! in an article by ex-Echo newsman Walter Huntley – and put two and two together.

Since then, I’ve spent many more hours with Pat – and scoffed many more of her scones while hearing of her countless travels across China, India, and east Africa, from where she returned with a “Crown of Flowers” presented to those who scaled Mount Kilimanjaro.

Originally from Darlaston, Wednesbury, in the West Midlands, Pat spent all her teaching career in Cheshire. She was deputy head at Westlea Primary School for 13 years and became the first headteacher at Boughton Heath Primary school in 1975, retiring 12 years later.

When her own health began to deteriorate, she became a devoted fan and supporter of All Together NOW!

Pat constantly reminded me of the importance of the paper: ‘People just don’t realise that even the fittest of us become disabled at some time,’ she’d say. ‘That’s why we can’t afford to lose this newspaper. It is so vital for people like me who are not online. It’s my lifeline.’

Pat died at the Hospice of the Good Shepherd, Backford, Chester, on June 1, 2023. She was 94.

Check out the short film that tells the story behind All Together NOW!

 

 

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