A legacy of treasured memories: Rennie & Peter Fry
The National Trust gave us a lifetime of delight and a legacy of treasured memories, I hope our contribution and that of others will give many future generations the same legacy to enjoy in their lifetime.
Here's our story
I was a young wife of the late 50s. My expectations of simply being a wife and mother broadened with the social changes of the time. By 1970 we had a young family, I was studying and had an interesting part-time job. I was proud of my financial independence, and happy to have Peter’s support.
For Christmas 1970 I bought Peter Life Membership of the National Trust. He was delighted.
We had already visited many Trust properties with our children, at weekends and on our holidays travelling around Britain. The children delighted in visiting Beatrix Potter’s Hilltop home in the Lakeland Fells, the wonders of Cragside in Northumberland, and the tranquillity of Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire.
We lived in Putney, so Polesden Lacey became a favourite weekend haven. In later years we took our four young grandsons there, enjoying a Johnny Morris children’s show and picnics.
Life’s changes and challenges
The economic difficulties of the late eighties forced changes. We sold our London home in favour of an old, quirky, unmortgagable house in Cornwall, in need of total renovation.
It was while living in Cornwall that Peter was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease and dementia. I retired at 63 and became his carer for 12 years.
Cornwall was a sheer delight of National Trust houses and gardens
We both especially loved Trelissick Garden. When the Trust acquired Tyntesfield House in Bristol, it became an ambition of Peter’s to see it. His condition had deteriorated, but with a great deal of help, the Trust staff were amazing and together we managed it. It was the last real trip Peter was able to enjoy.
He died in 2012. After his cremation, I went with my daughter to sit and savour the peace and his presence in Trelissick Garden, sad but comforted by my memories.
" Polesden Lacey became a favourite weekend haven. In later years we took our four young grandsons there, enjoying a Johnny Morris children’s show and picnics."
Carry on carrying on
Now I’ve moved to Lancashire to be closer to family. I still get out to the Lakes, there’s so much wonderful countryside around here, and having a bus pass means I can get around for free.
Next year I’m planning on going to Cragside, I love it there. I'm also hoping to visit Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal – they are both magical. For a while it was too painful to visit the places Peter and I had loved so much, but with time that changes, and now I love going back to the places that gave me so many happy memories. I still get out as much as I can, I think the more interest you take in life, the more you get out of it, and the National Trust is still a big part of my life.
I am so grateful to the National Trust
Peter and I decided years ago now to give the National Trust priority in our Wills. I hope our contribution, and that of others, will give many future generations the same legacy to enjoy in their lifetime.