'Indestructible' Iris remembered by society chiefs - The Evesham Observer

'Indestructible' Iris remembered by society chiefs

Evesham Editorial 19th Jun, 2020   0

WARM tributes have been paid to the outgoing chairman of the Simon De Montfort Society who has died at the age of 82.

Iris Mary Pinkstone, affectionately known as the ‘Pink Imp’, suffered recurring ill-health which affected her mobility and passed away at the Worcestershire Royal Hospital on May 22.

Society chiefs paid tribute their ‘eternal and indestructible’ figurehead and said her death had left a vacuum they will not easily fill.

Born in Kent in April 1932; her birth was registered in Dartford in the June of that year. Her mother died of TB when she was very young. She remembered her mother’s clothes and possessions being burnt in the garden to kill any germs.

Iris originally trained as a book illustrator and graphic designer before gaining qualifications in Theology which led to her teaching religious education and art in Birmingham and Coventry. Taking early retirement, she returned full time to her art, gaining an MA in Art Education from Birmingham Polytechnic. She set up a studio and small artistic community in Evesham where she taught art to adults.

Her ‘second career’ began with a television broadcast by Alex Clifton Taylor who described the importance of the 1265 Evesham Battlefield and its neglected condition, seizing Iris’s interest.

She was a founder-member of the Simon de Montfort Society which she chaired for many years, using the society to raise the profile of Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester, the important developments which arose from the Second Baronial Revolt, including a prototype House of Commons, and the Battle of Evesham at which he met his end.

A society spokesman said: “We knew Iris for her skill with paintbrush and pencil and her drawings adorned the covers of several publications. Her lively and energetic images brought the period to life. We also knew her as a determined organiser, peace-maker and occasionally breaker and someone to whom it was difficult to say ‘no’.

In 2015 the British Association of Local History recognised Iris with their Achievement Award. Iris received the accolade from the BALH at the Local History Day event in Birmingham.

Iris’s home, known as ‘The Cottage’, was a charming thatched, timber-framed black and white cottage that formed the perfect backdrop for her.

“We used to look forward to our committee meetings there among the chaos of books, sketches, papers and paintings which was Iris’s natural environment. Visitors were always sure of a warm welcome, a cup of tea and, usually, a slice of cake,” the spokesperson added.

“We cannot think about Iris without remembering her two long-term co-residents: her friend Alwyn and her ‘little black devil’, Dandy the schipperke, both of whom predeceased her.”

An expert on Beatrix Potter, Iris announced her intention to step down as society chairman in the days before she died to devote her remaining years to her art and to compiling a book about Beatrix Potter.

Her funeral will be held on July 1.

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