Christine Mayhew, a dear friend of mine, passed away at the age of 77. She led a successful life, pursuing three different careers as a midwife, sociology lecturer, and counsellor – all of which took place in Harlow, Essex. Christine made great contributions to the town, where she settled as a young woman in the 1960s.
Christine was originally from Newton-Le-Willows in Lancashire. Her parents were Wilfred Conway, a railway fitter, and Eleanor Parson, who sold fruit and vegetables. Following her secondary school education, she trained to be a midwife in Warrington and Leeds. In the 1960s, like many others, she was attracted to the idea of living in a New Town. She decided to move to Harlow to work at the newly-built Princess Alexandra Hospital. Among her many duties, she even helped me deliver my son!
While in Harlow, Christine met my oldest friend, James Drennan, a mechanical draughtsman. Within two weeks, the two had planned to get married. They married in 1966 and raised two children, Robert and Lizzie.
In the 1980s, Christine left her midwifery career to study sociology at Middlesex Polytechnic. After graduating, she became a sociology teacher at Harlow College for several years. In the 1990s, she changed careers again and retrained as a counsellor. She taught and supervised counselling students at Harlow College while also maintaining her own private practice. She pursued these two professions until her retirement in 2013.
In her free time, Christine enjoyed hiking. She particularly loved exploring the many rambles around Harlow and even completed the long-distance Coast to Coast Walk across northern England three times. She also enjoyed an adventure in the Himalayas.
In retirement, Christine read the Guardian newspaper avidly and enjoyed gardening. When her beloved allotment became too much for her to handle, she gave it over to the local community garden, where she was a volunteer.
Christine’s first marriage to James ended in divorce in 1990. However, they remained on good terms. In 1992, she married David Mayhew but they separated after a couple of years. David passed away before Christine. She is survived by her sisters Val and Jeannette, her grandchildren Aaron and Lucy, and her children Robert and Lizzie.