Death at 91 of Phillida Wrigley, who did so much for the communities around Ganton; here's why she once taught Thai princes and princesses

The family of a woman whose tremendous volunteer work benefited organisations around Ganton and beyond have shared details of her incredible life.

Monday, 13th July 2020, 11:29 am
Updated Monday, 13th July 2020, 11:30 am

Anne Phillida Wrigley - known as Phillida - died peacefully at her home in Potter Brompton, aged 91.

She ran Ganton Hall for many years, was a member of Ganton Parish Council, and was a governor for several local schools.

She dedicated much of her time to St Nicholas Church where she was a member of the church council. She also gave up time to help fundraise for the children’s charity NSPCC.

Anne Phillida Wrigley, known as Phillida

Mrs Wrigley was born Anne Phillida Brewis in August 1928 in Rugby.

She was just 11 when World War II broke out, and she and her younger sister were evacuated to Canada to live with a distant relative.

The sisters braved the threat of German U-boats a second time to return to England shortly before the war ended.

Mrs Wrigley studied at Benenden School in Kent before marrying Michael Wrigley in 1950.

They went on to have four children - Diana, Nicholas, Mark and Julia.

Mr Wrigley had to tell people that he worked for the diplomatic service but was actually a member of MI6.

Described in his obituary as "an outstanding foreign intelligence officer", he was an indispensable source of information and advice for successive Foreign Office officials as well as CIA officers and politicians across South-East Asia.

Between 1956 and 1974, his work took the family to Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia.

The children studied at schools in England but would spend the holidays with their parents.

The stays abroad saw Mrs Wrigley teaching English to young Thai princes and princesses.

In 1974, they returned to England to live at Ganton Hall and, as well as running the hall and gardens, Mrs Wrigley started her work for the church and NSPCC.

She was a devoted wife and much-loved mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, with nine grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

“She loved music and opera,” said her son Nicholas.

“She was very kind, very considerate and interested in people.

“She absolutely loved reading. She devoured books and had thousands and thousands of them.

“Her real love, and in this we are very lucky, was her family and looking after her children.”

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