ERIC FORSTER

Eric Forster, who died on 29 May 2015, was born in a room over a pub in north-east England in June 1925.  An only child, he grew up in South Shields and Gateshead where life for his family was hard as his father was unemployed for long periods during the 1930s.  When Eric won a scholarship to the local grammar school, his grand-parents helped to pay the cost of his uniform and other requirements.  His father eventually found work as a clerk with the National Assistance Board and in 1939 was transferred to London.  The family settled in Wembley where Eric was unwilling to start at a new school and so become an office junior in a local factory.  He continued studying at evening and weekend classes and in this manner obtained his matriculation and higher schools certificates.

Eric Forster

In 1946 Eric met his wife-to-be Moreen at a dance at Wembley Town Hall.  They married in 1949 and moved to Bromley in 1954.  Eric had worked in the education department at Middlesex County Council.  He later transferred to the NHS, eventually rising to the post of Chief Hospital Planning Officer for the South East Region.  He was still avid to learn and took up an evening course at the London School of Economics, graduating in 1968.

Eric and Moreen moved in Oxted in 1981.  When Eric retired in 1983 they settled down to enjoy gardening, their family, and holidays, often with their good friends Win and Geoff. They went walking in the Yorkshire Dales and spent a winter month in Tenerife.   They also become closely involved in the local community.  They volunteered for the Link organisation for several years and Eric held a range of offices in the Rotarians.  He joined the Oxted Operatic Society and sang in many of their productions – taking up where he had left of as a choirboy in Gateshead more than fifty years before.  He sang with Belle Canto Opera and later joined the CMVC. He and Moreen were both active in Oxted’s Barn Theatre.  Eric was also a keen amateur painter.

Eric and Moreen were married for sixty-six years.  They had two children, seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, bringing Eric and Moreen pride and pleasure in their lives and achievements.  Eric was taken ill in April and accepted that he did not have long to live.  He laid plans for his ninetieth birthday but died in Tanbridge Heights Nursing Home the day before, with Moreen at his side.   In tributes at his funeral on 17 June, attended by a number of choir members, he was described as “a true gentleman, a person of high standards, decency and integrity, courtesy and consideration”; and as “a kind, generous and loving man”.

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