In Memoriam

Sylvia Cummins (1954 – 2022)

Sylvia was a loyal and generous friend who will be greatly missed by all of us who knew her.

Sylvia loved the countryside and walking with the SWC gave her real pleasure and delight. She loved the woods, hills, mountains and especially the sea. Most of all she enjoyed being with people in the group.

On Saturday walks Sylvia would reach out to newcomers to make them feel welcome and in doing this she brought out what was best in our Saturday walking club. She organised many walking trips away for people in the club – especially to her favourite place - the Isle of Wight – which she dubbed her ‘spiritual home’. The Isle of Wight had precious childhood memories for her, and she knew it like the back of her hand. Her enthusiasm and love for the Isle was very infectious!

Sylvia was born in Hackney and lived there with her family, later moving to Stoke Newington. She had a close and loving family of two sisters and a brother and four nephews. She would describe their joyful gatherings together at Christmas and other celebrations – something which she valued and enjoyed immensely.

Sylvia worked as a librarian in Haringey public libraries and later moved to the Tower Hamlets Schools library service. She loved this job and found fulfilment helping the children of Tower Hamlets to increase their enjoyment and understanding of reading, writing book reviews, and performing. She invited authors to meet and speak to the children who were reading their novels.

She was on the panel of the Tower Hamlets schools’ ‘Poetry Slam’ events which were extremely lively and energetic – where children wrote and performed their own poetry in front of an audience of other schools, with votes cast for the best poem.

Sylvia lived in a beautiful Victorian house in Stoke Newington which she shared with her lodgers. The many lodgers who passed through her house over the years, nearly all became her lifelong friends because she made her home such a welcoming place for them. She hosted many social events at her house and in her lovely garden.

People were drawn to Sylvia – her sense of humour, and her ability to really listen and sympathise without being intrusive. She was interested in what people thought. Sylvia was an avid reader, and also enjoyed a wide range of music. She loved the theatre and the cinema, especially quirky films which she often dragged her friends to see. She was prepared to be challenged and she could see things with not just an appreciative but also critical eye.

Sylvia was so happy to have come out on the Tring Walk this September – and to have revelled in the sunshine and the open countryside laid out before her.