Death of Rachel Norma Surridge

Communication Department

Rachel Norma Phillips was born on 6 September 1928 in Kisumu, Kenya. She was the second surviving child of Ernest and Lilian Phillips, who served as missionaries at the time (see Lilian died of malaria two years later, and the Phillips family returned to England.

Ernest began a career as a lecturer at Newbold College, and Rachel was brought up in an academic environment. She was musically gifted and trained as a teacher. Rachel met Ronald Surridge at Newbold, and they married on 12 August 1952. The couple lived in Washington DC for five years while Ron completed his studies, and during this time, Rachel worked as a secretary to help make ends meet.

Ron and Rachel's first son Robert was born in America, and their second son John was born two years later when they returned to England. In 1964 the family moved to West Africa, and in both Nigeria and Ghana, Rachel ran small mission schools. On their return to England in 1969, Rachel worked as a teacher, firstly in the state sector but later at the newly built Stanborough Primary School under the headship of Faith Poley.

When Ron was called to serve as President of the North British Conference, Rachel served as his secretary for six years before returning to teaching at the Dudley House School. Before retirement, the couple moved to Newbold College, where Rachel spent an enjoyable year working with Dr Borge Schantz in the Islamic Centre before returning, once again, to teaching, this time at Newbold Primary School.

Rachel and Ron enjoyed nearly three decades of active retirement, visiting many different churches, taking foreign holidays, and visiting family members in England and California. In January 2021, physical frailty and the Covid pandemic led to Rachel and Ron being admitted to care homes in Grantham. They transferred to Watford and were well looked after, but Rachel lost some of her sparkle following Ron's death in November 2021. She died in her sleep on 6 April 2022 and will be greatly missed by the three generations of her family members.