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Bruce Finlay (September 1939 – October 2017)

jackieandbrucejackieversionMany of our readers will have fond memories of Bruce Finlay who lived with Jackie in Shipton for more than thirty years before moving to Shipston-on-Stour in 2010.

Bruce was born in Edinburgh and trained at the Edinburgh School of Podiatry, graduating in 1960. His intention was to start his own private practice in Scotland, but meanwhile he ran a branch practice in Tamworth, Staffordshire. Just as he was poised to return to Scotland, he met Jackie during a rehearsal for a play and decided to stay! During the winter of 1962–1963, Bruce bought an established practice in St John Street, Oxford, sharing the premises with two dentists, and he also worked in the Radcliffe Infirmary. Jackie moved to Oxford and they married in March 1964; Helen was born in 1968 and Caroline in 1970. The family moved to Summertown, where Bruce continued to work in his very successful practice until his retirement in 2002.

In 1981, through their friendship with Dot and Harold Kellett, the family moved to Kelcot on the village green in Shipton, and Helen and Caroline attended Burford School. Eleven years later, Bruce and Jackie moved around the corner into Tothill. They were enthusiastic members of the Wychwood Tennis Club for many years, both of them members of the committee. The whole family enjoyed the regular Sunday tournaments and afternoon teas in the old Beaconsfield Hall. Bruce was a great lover of nature and was never happier than walking with their golden retriever, Amber, in the Wild Gardens and the surrounding countryside. He was a keen stereoscopic photographer, a member of the British Stereoscopic Society and a collector of Victorian stereoscopic artefacts. In 2010, after 30 very happy years of living in Shipton, Bruce and Jackie decided to move to Shipston-on-Stour to be near to Caroline and their grandchildren. Tragedy struck in 2013 with the unexpected death of Helen.

Very sadly, Bruce had been battling Alzheimer’s since 2014, but the one thing he never forgot was his love for Shipton-under-Wychwood, and one of his final outings was in August, once again sitting in Kelcot’s garden with a Pimms, recalling past times. Bruce died on 5th October at the Ellen Badger Hospital in Shipston-on-Stour, only two weeks after a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. He is buried beside Helen in the Fairspear Natural Burial Ground in Leafield, overlooking his much-loved Wychwoods.

December 2017 – January 2018