25 October 1931 – 14 December 2022
Brenda Rutter with her husband Ken came to Ashley in the late 1960s and quickly established herself as one of the key members of Ashley Methodist Church embracing all aspects of our church life of prayer, worship and outreach. As a trained teacher her work amongst our young people was particularly noteworthy as was that of her husband Ken, himself a trained teacher. Brenda was popular amongst her peer group with a ready smile and an engaging personality. If things were to be done, then Brenda was one of the first to volunteer and her standards were high, never less than her best. In her quiet and efficient way Brenda is due course became one of our most valuable church stewards and she developed a vision for the re-modelling of our Victorian chapel building, in the mid -1990s. One of our church members, Roy Manning, an architect, was instructed to draw up plans which the church accepted and Brenda assumed the role of liaison with the architect and builder to create the modern building interior as it is to this day. This building has served us well since 1998. In due course for family reasons Brenda and Ken moved from Ashley to join their daughter and her family in Ontario, Canada, where she lived an active life until she passed away on the 14th December 2022, aged 91. Her Service of Thanksgiving was held on 6th January 2023. We thank God for her Christian witness and service throughout her life particularly during her time amongst us. May she Rest in Peace and Rise in Glory.
Her son Martin Rutter has written this tribute to his mother for our pages –
Martin’s recollection of his Mother’s time at Ashley Methodist Church:
It was 1967, when I remember as a seven year old, being taken to look at this building site that was to become our new home at 12 St John’s Road, Ashley; at the time we lived in Knypersley just outside Biddulph. How it was orchestrated I’ve no idea, but as soon as we moved to Ashley, magically my Mum’s parents (Lily and George) moved into St John’s Way just a few yards away and Dad’s mum (Muriel) moved to Loggerheads. I guess this is family magnetism driven by a shared love and fostered keenly by my Mum.
As a whole extended family, we embraced Ashley Methodist Church and it became a central part of all our lives. Within a blink of an eye, Mum seemed to be teaching at the Sunday School and so her involvement started to grow as we all made lifelong friends and connections with the families of Ashley Methodist Church. There are many Church activities and events that drift into my slightly hazy memory from the late 60’s and 70’s; sponsored walks, coach trip to Dovedale, It’s a Knockout, Youth Hostelling, a rave disco in the barn at Lordsley Farm, Tom Purcell’s slide shows, Youth Club to name just a few. Of course, all these events relied on enthusiastic parents and these helped forge such strong loving connections which endure to this day.
The late 70’s and early 80’s brought big changes to the family with University for both Karen and me and Karen’s subsequent move to Canada. On visits home, I learned of Mum’s scheming and fund raising activities for some new project at the Church. Well, this turned out to be the total re-modelling of the Church, which was a community effort, spurred on in no small part by Mum and what a legacy it is.
I know Mum would have loved to been able to visit Ashley more frequently, but the Church at Ashley and all her friends were always within her heart during her final adventures in Canada.