A DAUGHTER has paid tribute to her lifelong Herefordian and former Hereford Times employee mother following her death earlier this month.

As a young woman, Patricia Joan Morris, known to everyone as Pat, excelled in her English language and literature O-levels.

But despite the protestations of her English teacher, who said she was the best English student she had who would not carry on to higher education, Pat decided to enter the world of work, joining the Hereford Times in the summer of 1959.

For the then 16-year-old, her first week at work was an eye opening experience, with one memorable mistake becoming a long-running family anecdote.

Daughter Rachel said her mother had answered the office phone to a gentleman who stated only his name before telling the new starter he would "spell this out", without elaborating on what the call was about.

But instead of using the familiar phonetic alphabet, the gentleman proceeded to spell out his issue using the names of fruit and vegetable - apple for a, banana for b.

Believing the man had called the wrong number, Pat responded with: "This isn't a fruit and veg shop, it's the Hereford Times," before promptly putting down the phone before he had a chance to respond.

But on recounting the call to a colleague, it became clear the man was a regular caller, and hasty apologies were made by a senior colleague.

Her Hereford Times colleagues never let her forget this whenever anyone spelt something out and did not use the phonetic alphabet.

"She later recalled this story later in life on more than one occasion but particularly once I was in a job where I learned the phonetic alphabet too, by heart to the point it was instinctively reeled off, due to my job working with the military and police," Rachel said.

After leaving The Hereford Times in early 1972 to be a book-keeper for a family friend, she eventually found her vocation in the caring professions, both paid, and upon retirement, volunteering at Hereford's Air Ambulance charity shop and a volunteer vestry warden at All Saints Church in High Town.

Her last role was as a manager for 17 years for Stonham Housing Association residence for the intellectually disabled, helping people to live in the community and hold down regular jobs.

She died on Friday 4 September 2020 after an active life living with stroke for several years, and leaves a husband, Michael John Morris, and two grown up children, Rachel and Jonathan.

Her funeral will be at the Hereford Crematorium on September 24.

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