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The Life Story of

Margarita James Tame (nee Proom) 1920-2016

Living for almost 96 years, Margarita, or Rita as she was more commonly known, successfully raised four children, she had six grandchildren and five great grandchildren, has lived at around nine different addresses and had a dozen different jobs, apart from looking after the home and the children. At the age of 86 she went abroad for the first time, also her first aeroplane trip, flying to Spain to visit youngest daughter, Mary, in Alicante.

Rita was involved in voluntary work for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) for many years and in 1984 she became a National Trust volunteer. Since then Rita made regular visits to Wightwick Manor, a National Trust property, where she looked after the kitchen and talked to people (one of her favourite pastimes)


Margarita James Proom was born in September 1920 in a two bedroom, upstairs flat in Ryton Terrace, Seaton Sluice, Northumberland. She was the first child to Dorothy Proom (nee James), and John William Proom, also known as Jack or ‘Jigger’ and was christened at St. Paul's Church in Seaton Sluice.

Seaton Sluice Photo
The Harbour at Seaton Sluice

Here is a picture of Margarita as a baby.

The family later moved to a two bedroom, downstairs flat in Clarence Street, Seaton Sluice, where her sister Lucy Neave Proom was born on the 22nd April 1923.

Margarita's parents moved only once more, to a two bedroom, terraced house at 16 Beresford Road, Seaton Sluice. It was here that her brother Robert Henry Proom (known as Robin) was born in January 1936.

Her father worked as a coal miner in the local pit at New Hartley and her mother took in washing to make ends meet when jigger was unemployed and times were hard.

When Rita was about 6 years old, she remembered one night seeing the R100 Airship flying over the village all lit up. Later in her childhood she also saw the ship Mauritania sailing on the horizon, not long before it went to be broken up.


This is Margarita aged 10, with her sister Lucy.

Also pictured is her brother Robin and her mother

Rita attended Old Hartley Council School, and it was at school that she became firm friends with Margaret Munn, who remained a best friend for the rest of their lives.

In April 1934 Rita was confirmed at the Parish Church of Our lady of Delaval and took her first communion on 15th April.

In her 1934 school report Rita came overall 3rd out of a class of 25 and came 1st or 2nd in many subjects.

A copy of her school report

In July 1934 her parents received a letter informing them that Rita had passed her secondary school admission examination and inviting them to enrol her for the secondary school. Unfortunately Rita was not able to take advantage of this opportunity, as her parents could not afford the fee of £9 per annum.

In 1934, at the age of just 14 Rita went to work in service for a Mr and Mrs Nevin in Whitley Bay. When the Nevins moved to Liverpool in 1937 she went with them and became nanny to their three children Rosemary, Toni and Graham, living in at 85 Druidsville Road, Mossley Hill, Liverpool. She was there in 1939 when the 1939 register was created


The second world war began in September 1939 and in 1940 Rita returned home briefly and did housework for Miss Ashby, a teacher, a Hungarian lady and a Mrs Holmes, a lady from Singapore who was married to a Merchant Navy sailor and whose children she looked after.

Rita also took a Saturday job at Woolworths in Blyth, later worked Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays and eventually became full-time. She received wages of 23 shillings per week for working on the sweet counter. Her likely promotion to supervisor was unfortunately not to be as she was called up to help the war effort.

In 1940 Rita went to work at Risley Munitions Factory in Cheshire, on ‘the suicide group’ making detonators. At this time she lived in digs at 7 Hughes Road, Latchford, Warrington.

During the war Rita used to go to the regular dances with her friends including her best friend at the time, Noreen Calderstones.

On 14th February 1942 (Valentines Day) Rita met George Albert Tame at a dance in Warrington. George was a mechanic in the REME and, despite the war, a relationship developed and she was engaged in June and married on the 5th September 1942 at Heath Town Parish Church, in George’s home town of Wolverhampton.


After her marriage Rita was able to change jobs and became a cashier in the munitions factory canteen. This was a concession allowed to married women.

 


 ..... later in 1942 Rita moved to Wolverhampton and lodged with George’s Uncle Joe and Aunt Amy Cook at 85 First Avenue, Low Hill and paid seven shillings per week for a bedroom and all meals included. Rita began work at Pendeford Airfield painting roundels onto aircraft and repairing parachute fabric. Around this time she also did an evening round for Ajax football pools.

In 1943 George & Rita moved to lodge with Sid and Edith Harris in Fifth Avenue, Low Hill, Wolverhampton where they had a bedroom and the front lounge for just 10 shillings and sixpence per week. At this time Rita worked at Guy Motors (Spares and Repairs) doing general office work and while working here she also learned to type. This enabled her to progress to the position of invoice typist at Manders, a job she did for two years.


When the war was over George returned to his job at Butler’s Springfield Brewery (later Mitchells & Butlers, eventually Bass) where he had started work in 1933 at the age of 14 as a grain shoveller. After the war, where George had trained as a mechanic with REME George was able to take a position as a mechanic working on the brewery lorries.

At this time George & Rita started planning for a family and in 1946 had saved up enough money for the deposit (£150) on their first house, a two bedroom, end terrace on Cannock Road, Springfields, Wolverhampton. The house had two sitting rooms, a kitchen, a downstairs bathroom and an outside toilet.  This house cost around £1,000. A verandah was added later so they could get from the house to the toilet without going outside. The house was very close to the brewery and was, therefore, handy for George’s work.

On 26th December 1947 (Boxing Day) her first child, Robert was born at home. The birth did not, however, prevent George from attending the football match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Aston Villa! (Wolves beat Villa 2–1 at Villa on the 26th and beat them again (4–1) on the 27th at home. The Wolves goal scorers in the two matches included Hancocks, Mullen and Westcot.)

This is Robert as a baby.

On February 14th 1948, when Robert was just two months old he was taken in to the Royal Hospital for an operation to treat Pyloric Stenosis, a stomach blockage that meant he could not keep any food down and which threatened his life. Robert was christened while in hospital, but luckily he survived to be christened again in church at St Stevens, Hilton Street.

Coincidentally, just two years after Robert was born, on Boxing Day, 26th December 1949, her second child Rosemary was born at home. Once again George did not miss his football match! This time Wolves lost to Villa at home, 2–3 but redeemed themselves on the 27th by beating Villa at Villa park, by 4 goals to 1. (Note to outsiders: The football results are included because most of the family supported the Wolves but there is now an Aston Villa Supporter in the family!)

This is Rose as a baby pictured with her big brother Robert

When Rose was a baby she had a narrow escape when a trolley bus pole knocked the chimney off her house through the roof into her cot, only half an hour before she was due to go to bed!

Around 1951 and 1952 Rita took a job at 'Ever Ready' on the evening assembly line producing batteries.

Rita's third child, Dorothy was born in May 1957. Her fourth and final child, Mary was born in September 1960.

A picture of Rita with Dorothy and Mary in 1961, in the garden at Cannock Road

With this expanding family, space was tight and the three girls shared the front bedroom while Robert slept downstairs in the front lounge.

It was around this time that Rita began her voluntary work for the RNLI. This involved collecting jumble and helping at jumble sales. In addition she stood out in all weathers selling flags. On many of these occasions Mary went along too and maybe the sight of the baby in her pram encouraged people to buy a flag!

Robert and Rosemary had both attended Woden Road Junior School and after successfully completing their 11 plus examinations both moved on to Wolverhampton Municipal Grammar School.


Family holidays were taken every year in July and they all made the 230-mile journey to Seaton Sluice to stay with Rita's parents. The children all loved to visit their grandparents at 16 Beresford Road, and all fell in love with Seaton Sluice and the surrounding area. The following pictures show the family at North Shields in 1963

and the harbour at Seaton Sluice in 1959.


By 1964 the family had outgrown the house on Cannock Road and they purchased their next home, a three bedroom semi-detached house in Fallings Park, Wolverhampton for the sum of around £4,000. This house had a living room, a front room, small kitchen, upstairs bathroom, verandah, garage and fairly large garden. The garden shed from Cannock Rd, which George used to breed Budgerigars in was also moved here and lasted another 35 years before it finally fell down.

The three girls shared the back bedroom and Robert had the box room at the front of the house.

Here is a picture of George outside the house at Lambert Road.

Around this time the family also acquired their first car, a grey Austin A40 Somerset, registration POC 939 at the cost of £150, from George's Brother 'Charlie'.

Like their older brother and sister, Dorothy and Mary both attended Woden Road Junior School, passed their 11 plus examinations and moved on to the Wolverhampton Municipal Grammar School.


By this time, Robert and Rose were growing up and in 1964 Robert left school with 8 ‘O’ levels and went on, firstly to Wulfrun College to take an ONC in electrical engineering, and then to Wolverhampton Polytechnic to take his HNC in the same subject. Robert went on to work for Post Office Telephones as an engineer and acquired his first car, another A40 Somerset, this time in black. He paid £5 for it and had to tow it out of a hedge to bring it home! This was later scrapped for spares used for George's A40 and was replaced with an A35 van, later replaced by a Ford Anglia 105E, which he bought from his school friend 'Ant'.

By this time George had also changed his car for a Ford Anglia and the garden shed probably contained enough spare parts to make a third Anglia!


In 1966 Rita had a visit from her Father's younger brother,   Robert Henry Proom and his wife Alice who travelled from Durban, South Africa to see her and other members of the Tame and Proom Families.

Robert Tame, Glynis Evans, Robert Henry Proom, Rita Proom,

Mary Tame, Alice Proom, Dorothy Tame


In 1968, Rose left school with 7 ‘O’ levels and 3 ‘A’ levels and also left home to attend St. Katherine’s Teacher Training College in Liverpool. In 1971, Rose left college with a Cert. Ed. at merit level in two out of three subjects. In 1979, after six years of part time Open University study, Rose achieved a 2-1 BA Honours Degree.

In July 1971 Rose married her cousin, Colin Jack [Son of Rita's sister Lucy Neave Jack (nee Proom)] at St. Peter’s Church in Wolverhampton and they went to live in Childwall, Liverpool. Both Colin and Rose pursued careers in teaching in the Liverpool area.


In October 1971, Robert married Glynis Evans at St. Phillips Church, Penn Fields, Wolverhampton. They bought a small house in Thorneycroft Lane, Wolverhampton. Robert continued to work for Post Office Telephones and Glynis was doing accounts office work.

In 1972, with the children all growing up Rita took a job in Ken Walker’s grocery shop on the Cannock Road, near to her old house. This proved to be a job she enjoyed and she worked there until 1986.

In the summer of 1972 Mary went into Birmingham Children’s Hospital to have an operation to repair a hole in the heart. This was quite a traumatic time although Mary seemed unaware of the risks involved, and all the worry she had caused! As if this wasn’t bad enough, Glynis's mum died suddenly on the day of Mary’s operation. So whilst Mrs Evans’ life was lost, Mary’s was saved.

Also in 1972 George changed the family car to a Ford Cortina registration 27 JOH which cost £150. This was a popular car with Dorothy and Mary because it had a bench seat, which meant that they could both sit in the front with their dad. (Rita disliked travelling in the front seat of cars)

For the next few years from 1973 one of Rita's lunchtime duties was to go to Bob and Glynis's to 'dog sit' their Alsation, Heidi.


On the 16th July 1974 Rita attended a garden party at Buckingham Palace with three other committee members. The event was held to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the RNLI.


In 1975, Dorothy left school with 9 ‘O’ levels and 3 ‘A’ levels and went to study teacher training at Walsall College of Further Education where she obtained a B.Ed Degree. Dorothy went into teaching but stayed in the Wolverhampton area, initially returning to live at home before renting her own flat in the Merridale area of Wolverhampton.

Also in 1975 the family suffered a major scare when Rosemary was rushed into hospital in Liverpool with pneumonia. This was a very stressful time but happily she survived.

In January 1976 Rita and George became grandparents for the first time when Robert and Glynis produced a daughter, Heather Victoria Tame. The birth of Heather meant that the well loved Alsatian dog, Heidi and various cats owned by Bob and Glynis, had to take a back seat in the household!

In 1977, Mary left school and went to work for George Richens and Co. Accountants and Auditors in Wednesfield.

In November 1977 Rita's second grandchild William George Tame was born, a little brother for Heather. The family lived in Wolverhampton until 1980 when Robert’s job took him to the BT Training College near Stone in Staffordshire.


Not to be out-done by the Tames, Rose and Colin Jack produced Alan Macrae Jack in January 1978. Alan was joined by his sister, Hayley Dorothy in March 1980. The Jacks settled in Warrington.

Around this time, George retired from his job at the brewery. After a short illness, he had finished his employment there by serving drinks in the allowance bar, a job he enjoyed. He had also acquired his first ‘nearly new’ car; an ‘R’ registered green Datsun.

Mary obtained a position in the Civil Service, Inland Revenue in January 1979. This was, however, to be a sad year as Rita was to lose both her parents. Her mother, Dorothy Proom, suffered a stroke and was taken into hospital. Her father ‘Jigger’ Proom was unable to manage without his wife and he was taken into a nursing home near Morpeth. Jigger died on 23rd July 1979 and Dorothy passed away on 15th September and was cremated on 19th September, Rita's birthday.

         John (Jigger) and Dorothy Proom in 1977 with Heather Tame

After the death of her parents, Rita and George began to take annual holidays in Devon and Cornwall and enjoyed many sunny weeks including visits to the Rushton’s guesthouse in St. Ives. The Rushtons had been neighbours in Lambert Road for many years and made them very welcome when they visited them in their new location.

Rita and George later moved their summer holidays to Paignton as this was not so far to travel. They had many happy holidays at the Sandbanks Holiday Flats.


In 1982, Rita was awarded a Statuette of a Lifeboat man by the RNLI to commemorate 22 years service to the charity.

Mary got engaged to Philip Allen inSeptember 1981 (her 21st birthday) and they married in December 1982. Unfortunately, this marriage was not to last and the couple separated in November 1984. Mary went to live with John Brazier in Fradley, near Lichfield.

Earlier in 1984, Robert and Glynis had produced their third child, Emily Jacqueline, an unexpected but welcome addition to the family.

It was also in 1984 when Rita began voluntary work with the National Trust, initially helping in the tea room at Moseley Old Hall and later moving on to Wightwick Manor.


 

In March 1985 Dorothy married David Bennett at Wimbourne Road Church, Wolverhampton. This was a happy occasion despite Rose’s horse winning the Grand National and her fainting at the reception! This was due to laryngitis not excitement over either horse or wedding!


In 1987 the first revival of the ‘family holiday’ took place in the Northeast. Three luxury flats in Cullercoats were rented, one for Bob, Glynis, Heather, William, Emily and herself, another for Rose, Colin, Alan and Hayley and the third for Dorothy, David, John and Mary. This was to be a great success and for a few years became an annual event.


In 1990, Mary achieved success in her Institute of Internal Auditors examinations and was promoted to an Internal Auditor with the Employment Service. This proved that, although Mary had not achieved great academic success at school, she was another intelligent and capable member of her family.

In September 1990 Rita celebrated her 70th birthday and a party was organised at home on Sunday 23rd attended by all the family and close friends, John and Mary Williams.

Also in 1990, Rita was the subject of a letter written by Glynis and published in ‘Woman’s Realm’ magazine.

A copy of the article is reproduced overleaf.


On her 71st birthday another party was held. This time, in addition to John and Mary Williams, the party was also attended by; John and Sue Tame, Edith Harris and her ‘larger than life’ American friend Jackie Robinson.

Rita met her friend Jackie on a coach holiday to Scotland. These holidays were also to become regular events for her with George prefering to stay at home. Each time she went she made a number of new friends.


On 5th September 1992 Rita and George celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary and a party was organised at the end of August at the village hall in Codsall. It was a great re-union attended by all George’s brothers; Charlie, Albert, and Ken.

The photos show Rita and George cutting the cake and Rita with George and his three brothers.

Also in 1992, Dorothy obtained a Diploma in Special Needs Education and also a Braille qualification and began to specialise with blind and partially sighted children.

 In June 1993, Mary and John got married in a quiet registry office wedding in Lichfield. The wedding was kept a secret until the last moment and was attended by Rita and George and by John’s mom, Joan.


In late 1994, Rita received the surprise news that Dorothy was expecting a baby. Dorothy experienced problems with high blood pressure during pregnancy and found herself in hospital for a short while where her condition was monitored.

Also in 1994, Heather left school with 10 GCSEs and 4 ‘A’ levels and went to Sheffield University, graduating in 1997 with a BSc (honours) degree in Geography.

After being in and out of hospital once, Dorothy was taken in to New Cross Hospital for a second time in March 1995.

Near the end of March, Andrew James David Bennett was born nearly two months prematurely, weighing 3lbs 2ozs. After much worrying and wondering, Andrew was allowed home at the end of April. He was to provide Rita with a new lease of life now that the other grandchildren were all growing up.

A very young and tiny Andrew is pictured here.


In 1995 Rita attended her second Buckingham Palace garden party, this time celebrating the Centenary year of the National Trust (NT). Unfortunately, Dorothy and David (also active NT volunteers) were unable to attend this event with Rita.

In August 1995 a further family holiday was arranged, but this time in Borth-Y-Gest in North Wales.

In 1996, Alan was the next grandchild to leave school, with 10 GCSEs and 3 ‘A’ levels. Alan went to Bangor University to study for a History degree and graduated in 1999.

Also in 1996, William Tame left school with 10 GCSEs and 3 ‘A’ levels and went to study for a BTEC qualification in art, design and technology at Nene College in Northampton. After successfully completing his course, he went to Lincoln University in 1998 where he obtained a BA(Hons) Degree in Illustration.

In 1997 Heather began her career as a manager for Royal Mail, at the sorting office in Northampton.

In 1998, Hayley left school with 10 GCSEs and 5 ‘A’ levels and went to Bangor University to study for a Marine Biology degree.

Rita was very proud of all the achievements of her children and grandchildren.


Over the last few years of their lives both George and Rita had experienced various health problems. Rita was diagnosed with Pernicious Anaemia after collapsing in the kitchen one morning. This resulted in her needing to have injections every couple of months to improve her blood. In addition, Rita was also diagnosed as having heart problems, so now take heart pills on a regular basis. Finally, as if that was not enough, she experienced eye problems and had an operation to treat cataracts. Although this was successful other eye problems led to her sight gradually failing, a source of great frustration to her as it limited what she could do.

For George’s part, he was in hospital a number of times over his last few years, mainly for respiratory problems brought about by years of heavy smoking. Remarkably, George managed to give up smoking after more than 50 years of smoking around 20 cigarettes a day. George also underwent a prostate operation in 1998. This was the first time he had an operation so he didn’t do too badly really!

Around this time, George’s last car, a ‘B’ registered Rover Metro, failed its MOT and he decided not to replace it. This has meant that he didn't go out so often. He did, however, seem content to stay in and watch TV, usually falling asleep while watching.

Rita's life was now brightened up by, amongst other things, babysitting Andrew for Dorothy & David.

Rita enjoyed visits from the rest of the family and visits to and from friends, such as, Beryl, Gwen and Eileen. She also looked forward to visits from George’s brother, Albert who spent a fair amount of his time running errands for George or taking him out if he is feeling well enough. (Sadly Beryl died suddenly in March 2001)

Rita attended Wimbourne Road Church and participated in their various events and meetings, such as the weekly sewing class. In addition she helped out at a day centre for the aged (older than herself that is)!

Rita attended periodic family events which took place usually around March; to celebrate Hayley and Emily and Andrew’s birthdays, September; to celebrate Mary’s birthday, and at New Year, at Rose’s house in Warrington where an annual New Year’s Eve party normally took place.

At the end of 1998, Alan announced his engagement to Lizzy Meehan whom he met at Bangor university. Alan and Lizzy both obtained 2/1 degrees in History in 1999 and commenced their search for employment.


In 1999 Rita was officially welcomed into the church by Christine Giles, the Minister at Wimbourne Road Methodist Church. She was presented with a short guide to church membership.

Alan and Lizzy married in November 1999 in Lizzie’s home town of Bournemouth. This event turned out to be another highlight in Rita's very busy life.

Alan and Lizzie with Alans Parents, James and Lucy Jack (nee Proom)

In December 1999, George reached the grand old age of 80 and a family meal was organised by Dorothy at The Mill pub near her home. All the family attended along with George’s brother Albert and the event was a great success.

A photo of George and Albert

Christmas 1999 was not one of her best as Rita found herself ill in bed with a bad chest infection. Mary and John who were due to come for dinner ended up cooking the dinner!


The new Millenium

At the turn of the century, Robert was now working as a Network Technician for the Northamptonshire Franchise of NTL, maintaining telephone lines and cable TV services.

Rosemary was tutoring at Lancaster University, lectures in Liverpool and was studying for a Doctorate.

Dorothy was working as a part time teacher at Castlecroft Primary School in Wolverhampton, helping visually impaired and other special needs pupils, and running the school library.

Mary was working for Premier Health NHS Trust in Lichfield as a Patient Information Leaflet Co-ordinator. This involved the review and production of information leaflets for patients and other promotional work.

In August 2000 most of the family went back to Seaton Sluice for another family holiday and had an early celebration of Mary's 40th birthday on Blyth Beach.

 The only one not looking at the camera is Rita !.

One the picture are:


September 2000 celebrating 80th Birthday


 

 

 

 

January 2002 - Sadly Rita's sister Lucy died on January 12th this year.

Heather left Royal Mail and went to Cranfield University where she obtained a masters degree before returning to work with the environment agency.

Rose obtained her Doctorate at Lancaster University. (Now to be addressed as Dr Rose Jack)

September 5th 2002

Margarita and George celebrate their Diamond Wedding (60 years) and get a card from the Queen.

In the families' opinion they deserved a medal for getting this far!

It was an excuse for a family get together with Dad's Brother, Albert, all four children with their partners, all 6 grandchildren and three of their partners.  We all went out for Sunday dinner on September 8th in Wolverhampton.

In 2005 George's health started to deteriorate and in August 2005 he died at New Cross Hospital.

2010, The family gather to celebrate Margarita's 90th Birthday in Wolverhampton in September 2010.


In May 2011 Rita attended the wedding of her Grand daughter Hayley who married Tom Murray. The wedding was followed by a great barn dance where Margarita managed a little bit of a dance during the evening.

In June 2012 her third Great Grandchild, Amy was born to Hayley and Tom.

In September 2013 she had a birthday meal at the Greyhound pub.

Xmas 2013 was at Lambert Road with Mary, John and John's Mum, Joan.

2014 - Nov 2014 saw the birth of her fourth Great Grandchild, Holly Fiona born to Hayley and Tom.

In October 2015, Rita who was still living alone with daily visits from Carers, had a fall and after a stay in New Cross Hospital moved into Wellesley House Nursing Home on 5th November.

In June 2016 Fifth Great Grandchild and only the only boy, John James Murray born to Hayley and Tom. Hayley took Johnny to meet Mum on 26th July, just six days before she died. (photo available).

Margarita James Tame (nee Proom) passed away peacefully at Wellesley House Nursing Home after having a little drink of tea for her breakfast on August 1st 2016 just one month before her 96th Birthday

Her funeral was at Bushbury Crematorium on August 22nd in the East Chapel. Her ashes were retained to be scattered as she had requested in Seaton Sluice, her birthplace, and this was done by members of the family on August 1st 2017, together with her Husband George Albert's ashes.

Memorial plaques for her and George were added to the Memorial bench for her parents Jigger and Dorothy on Rocky Island, Seaton Sluice.

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