One of founder members, Rodney Partridge has, sadly, died at the age of 90. Rodney was cremated in France but a memorial service was held on the 26th October 2013 at St Nicholas Church in Great Bookham. Below is a tribute put together from memories from many friends by our past Chairman Graham Mytton.
Professor John Salmon, long time friend of Rodney, is unable to travel now being quite elderly and frail. But he has kept in touch with Rodney and they have talked by phone and exchanged letters since John moved north and Rodney went to France. He has contributed a lot of what is here. So also have other individuals friends and members of Bookham Stamp Club.
In the late 1980s Pam, John’s wife and Rodney both happened to be elected to the Committee of the Friends of St Nicholas. When she learned of Rodney’s interest in stamps Pam arranged that Rodney should meet John. As a result of that meeting John joined the Leatherhead Stamp Club. That club was however struggling. It met in the evenings once monthly. Most of its members were retired. John and Rodney and one or two others began to wonder about a club meeting during the daytime. And so it was that the inaugural meeting attended by 20 people, was held on the afternoon of the 25th May 1993 at the Old Barn Hall in Bookham. Over the following 20 years, the membership has grown to well over 100 members today with a monthly attendance of around 60 people.
Rodney would be the first to acknowledge the support and hard work of many others. But Rodney was a leader and had ideas that worked. One was to make sure that members had something to look forward to other than the speakers and presenters of philately. The club started buying collections and making these available to members and this innovation proved to be very popular. The club ran its own auctions with Rodney as the auctioneer. Even if you weren’t buying yourself, the auction events were popular, not least because Rodney made them interesting. His auctioneering style was itself memorable and often entertaining. The club has been a great success and its achievements led to it winning the Rowland Hill Award in 1996. (For those few people here today who haven’t heard of Rowland Hill, he invented the postage stamp back in 1840.)
Rodney was also a member of the Probus Club of the Bookhams, a club for retired business people and so also was John Salmon and each took their turn in serving in the Offices of that Club, including Chairman. Later, when John’s eyesight was no longer good enough for driving a car, Rodney and Josie used to take him as a guest on their Bank Pensioners Club outings to various gardens and houses of note in Surrey. John and Rodney were both keen gardeners. Rodney and Josie had a fair sized garden at their home in Mill Close. After Josie died Rodney and John used to go out about once a week for a pub lunch exploring and enjoying the range of pubs in Surrey and followed the lunch with a tour of a bit of the county. John writes that he thought Rodney really enjoyed the countryside and his garden. However, John’s move north because of his increasing frailty changed that. John writes, “my happy memories remain. Rodney loved company and got on well with all my family.”
At the club everyone remembers Rodney with pleasure and many happy memories and thoughts. We are grateful to him and the other founder members for what they left us. At our meeting last Tuesday (22nd October) tributes were paid to him and all 60 members present stood in silent tribute. But solemnity was not what Rodney means. He was fun to be with, loved being with people and enjoyed celebrations of any kind. He was able to attend our 20th anniversary party at Denbies in July and was in very good form. And some of us were able to celebrate his 90th birthday with him just four weeks ago.