‘Pat fought to get a playground for the kids’

Special salute to ‘wonderful’ estate campaigner who died recently after three-year cancer battle

Friday, 12th June 2020 — By Sam Ferguson

Pat Winter

Patricia Winter – known as Pat – lived on the same Barnsbury estate for 48 years

MORE than 100 people saluted the funeral hearse of a Barnsbury estate legend who had been the driving force behind the construction of the much-loved Barnard Park adventure playground.

Patricia Winter, known as Pat, died aged 73 after a three-year battle against cancer.

She had lived on the estate for 48 years. Her partner of 38 years, Ron Davis, told the Tribune he had lost a “wonderful, beautiful woman” who loved children and lived to help people.

“We only lived together for three months of the 38 years that we were together,” he said.

“I had my flat in Islington and she had hers in Barnsbury. I would see her every day, and we used to spend weekends together and stuff like that.

“She used to meet her friends from the estate every day at Barnard Park. She helped get people together to fight and put pressure on the council to build the Barnard Park adventure playground.

The Barnard Park adventure playground

“That made her very proud, because she loved the children of the area so much and wanted them to have something.”

After her initial cancer diagnosis three years ago Pat was given the all-clear last year, only for the cancer to come back in other parts of her body.

Despite the coronavirus crisis, her family managed to spend the last three days of her life with her in hospital, where she died on April 10.

Lockdown restrictions prevented a big funeral, but Mr Davis described the emotional scene that greeted Pat’s hearse at the estate.

“All of the family and all of the Barnsbury Estate loved her, and we all miss her terribly,” he said.

“When her hearse came into the estate there were about 20 people waiting to see her go.

“I asked if they could arrange a clap for Pat, and when we left there were more than 100 people watching, waving and clapping.

“That was something to see, it still brings tears to my eyes thinking about it now.”

Ron Davis, Ms Winter’s partner of 38 years

Mr Davis met Pat at the late actor Bob Hoskins’ house near Caledonian Road, where he was working as a builder and she was working as a cleaner.

Pat then became the nanny for Mr Hoskins’ child when it was born.

“She had worked as a typists for the Home Office,” explained Mr Davis.

“But she stopped that when she started her family. She had four children, named Donna, Darren, Dean and Daniel. Dean and Darren were twins but unfortunately Dean died a few years ago.

“She had 23 grandkids altogether, and between us we had 27.

“Pat was so good with children and she absolutely loved them, so she became a nanny. She also took over the nursery class at the St Giles Church on Bride Street.

“What can I say? I miss her terribly. She was a wonderful woman who helped everybody she met. She loved children and nannying. She was a very beautiful woman who grew old before her time.

“She told me at Christmas that she was dying, and I told her not to be so silly, but that’s what happened to her.

“All the families she worked with loved her. Some were families from New Zealand and Australia who have all moved home now but they will definitely remember her.

“They used to send Christmas cards and so on.”

Mr Davis, who featured in last week’s Tribune after his car was stolen shortly after Pat’s death, added that his son had bought him a second-hand car last weekend, and said getting out and about would be a great help.

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