Valerie Scott QSM JP. (1928–2016)
Memories from Jan Thomson
I was saddened to hear of Valerie’s recent passing. Others have spoken of her various careers and achievements, but I’d like to write about her as an artist and good friend.
The first time I picked up a watercolour brush was at a workshop run by Janet Andrews. I was slightly terrified at finding myself in a room of seemingly talented artists, while I floundered with puddles and cauliflowers.
The immaculately made up and coiffed lady next to me calmed me and quietly started me on my watercolour journey. Valerie was always encouraging, especially to beginners, generously sharing her knowledge and skills. When I began to have solo exhibitions she was always at the opening, and posted me newspaper cuttings about them, together with a handwritten letter.
Valerie was a talented artist, painting (often with collage) many of the old buildings in her beloved Thorndon. Her own cottage was like Aladdin’s cave - filled with beautiful paintings, prints and sculpture, mirrors strategically placed to reflect lush pot plants and fresh flowers, all grounded on a gorgeous royal blue carpet.
Valerie loved to shop. She was, for many years, the shopping reporter for the Evening Post. On Christmas shopping expeditions she would point out treasures that I wouldn’t have spotted.
There were other sides to Valerie too: she spent many hours as a volunteer phone support person for Samaritans; she worked on a campaign to improve conditions for patients and staff in resthomes. She had endless energy for helping others and was loved by many people.
Valerie, you will probably be the only person I’ll ever meet who would make real cucumber sandwiches for her house-painter, who was ready to listen with a friendly ear and offer wise advice when needed. I’ll miss you, and I wouldn’t have missed you for the world.
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