As active members of the local community for many years, Ron and Doreen Coleman will be names familiar to many. Nick Park pays tribute to these stalwarts of Wanstead
Ron and Doreen Coleman have been lifelong loyal servants to the Wanstead community and fittingly deserve an honourable mention. They moved to Aldersbrook, Harpenden Road to be exact, in 1965, where they raised their three daughters. They remained there ever since. Ron also briefly lived on Dover Road (the adjacent street) as a teenager.
Together, they were an integral part of the Parent Teacher Association at Aldersbrook Primary School, spanning many years. Ron was instrumental in organising sporting events for the children during the holiday period. The ‘mini-Olympics’ being one of his inventions. Doreen was equally influential in the local playgroup for girls and boys. In addition, she introduced a babysitting club that catered for the local neighbourhood. Furthermore, Ron would dress up as Santa for the kids when the Christmas festivities were ablaze. He also represented Great Britain in the long jump as a young gentleman back in the late 1950s.This inevitably culminated in him achieving numerous victories when the fathers’ race featured during sports day.
Doreen originally came from Fairlop and Ron grew up in nearby Leyton. Their affair with Wanstead has lasted an amazing six decades, but sadly, Doreen passed away shortly before last Christmas. Ron recently reached the grand milestone of 90. As a couple, they both saw the scenery of Wanstead develop over many years. Doreen could remember rehabilitating at Wanstead Hospital, which has now been turned into a living complex.
By trade, Ron was a police officer in Leytonstone and would frequently conduct formal talks in schools within the vicinity. Doreen, on the other hand, was a bank clerk at NatWest in Ilford. Her mathematical skills were excellent.
As far as New Year’s Eve is concerned, many who knew Ron and Doreen would flock to their address, participating in the celebrations. It was a regular event. Mixed in were street parties on Harpenden Road, which they both played a massive part in. Doreen was a wonderful cook and her apple pie was delicious and very popular. I am sure there are many in Aldersbrook who have tasted the delightful cakes that emerged from her kitchen. During her later years, she would often attend the local club for women based at the nearby bowls club and happened to be the treasurer. I vividly recollect venturing to Midnight Mass with Doreen one Christmas and was pleasantly surprised by the number of people who recognised her.
Even today, Ron will strike up conversation with other folk when pottering around outside in the front garden. He also allows the children of Aldersbrook Primary School to walk on his front lawn when strolling by.
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