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Announcements > Obituaries > In Memory of Justin & Pat Orchard-Lisle

In Memory of Justin & Pat Orchard-Lisle

Hugo Orchard-Lisle pays tribute to his father, Justin and his aunt, Shirley Patricia. The school’s strong association with the Orchard-Lisle family spans generations.
Pat & Justin Orchard-Lisle
Pat & Justin Orchard-Lisle
Justin Orchard-Lisle and Shirley Patricia Orchard-Lisle were the two children of Aubrey and Bunty Orchard-Lisle. Aubrey (18-24G), together with his brother Mervyn (23-29G), was a great supporter of the school and several school buildings and facilities still bear the family name. 

Shirley Patricia, known as Pat, was born in in London in 1935 and due to the Second World War was evacuated from London to Devon whilst still a child. After the war, she went to Queenswood School, on to finishing school in Switzerland, and secretarial work in advertising in London and Toronto. She returned to the UK, married and went on to have three children, a daughter and two sons - Philippa, Nick and Jonathan. 

The family lived in Hertfordshire but when Pat and her husband of 27 years separated, Pat spent increasing amounts of time at a beautiful home in a small village in southern France, where she hosted many happy holidays for family and friends. Pat doted on these close friends and family, including her children, their partners, her brother Justin's wife and two sons, and her seven grandchildren.

Pat's home in England was Westmill in Hertfordshire, where she enjoyed spending time gardening and supporting the church and Parochial Church Council. Her knowledge of plants and flowers was, typically, self-taught and comprehensive, and her garden knew better than to allow anything to interrupt the order she demanded of it. Her commitment to meals on wheels switched to Buntingford Action for Social Help, or BASH, and she joined the meeting group, organised flower arranging, dealt with the Electoral Roll and read regularly in Church. Her faith was strong.

In 2003, Pat was very seriously injured in a road traffic collision near her home and almost succumbed to injuries which would hamper her for the remainder of her life, but she remained quietly indomitable, only slowly and reluctantly conceding to her increasing frailty.

This frailty did not affect her rigorous self-discipline - swimming every day whilst in France and completing every mind game and puzzle in the Daily Telegraph forming part of a daily routine to keep her mind and intellect sharp and to manage her physical impairments. This sharpness was evident in her consistent and remarkable ability for cryptic crosswords.

Similarly this frailty did not stop her from continuing to do the right thing with the advantages she had.Family brushes with cancer led to her supporting the Teenage Cancer Trust, which became one of her favourite charities. Pat had not previously had much involvement with the School but became more closely connected in 2014 and bestowed a generous donation to assist with the construction of the 6th Form Boarding House. Pat also gave the school a Bluthner grand piano as a gift in 2016, followed by a long overdue visit to the school where she was given a tour and presented with a book detailing the history of the Orchard-Lisle family's association with the school. Pat very much enjoyed this new-found relationship with the school and was touched by the appreciation of her contributions.

Nothing quite became Pat’s life as her leaving of it. She was ill at the beginning of this year but refused to bow to it until nature intervened. She was taken into hospital where tests revealed how limited was her remaining time.

Pat faced her end calmly and without fear. Her faith sustained her in this, along with her natural pragmatism and resilience. It was her time – she knew it and accepted it. Typically, she made the most of the few weeks she was given to see or speak to family and friends, and to make arrangements for her funeral in a characteristically organised way.

Justin was born in in 1947, 12 years after Pat, with rationing still in place following the War but a time of great opportunity where their father Aubrey found great success in the commercial property sector. 

Justin became quite independent from an early age with his parents leading busy lives and he went to Edgegrove School at the age of 7, then to Le Rosey in Switzerland aged 13, where he spent much of his free time skiing. From here he went on to Millfield School where he 
reportedly kept pet pigs and demonstrated early entrepreneurial spirit by fixing up old bicycles and selling them on.

His early years were shaped otherwise by enjoying London, moving with his parents from Hampstead to Mayfair, with weekends at Marlow and holidays at the Imperial Hotel in Torquay.

A number of Justin's friends in London were in the police force, a profession which greatly appealed to Justin but he instead began what was to become a long and devoted career in commercial property development. Justin joined Ernest, Hours and Williams as a junior negotiator in 1966, then Town and City Properties later the same year, and then Raglan Property in 1973 where he remained for 9 years, based in an office on Piccadilly. Justin always recalled his time at Raglan fondly, where he gained significant experience and had many adventures.

During this time Justin moved to near Newbury, where he purchased an old barn which he enjoyed developing into his own house, soon met his wife Jo with whom he went on to have two sons, Jolyon and Hugo, in 1981 and 1983.

Justin was close to his father Aubrey and learned much about the property industry from him. Aubrey died in 1989 and Justin was delighted when his son Hugo became closely associated with the School in 2012 and went on to become a Trustee of the School’s Foundation.

Justin and Jo set up a property development company together, establishing a close circle of associates who were all talented in their respective fields, but whose trustworthiness and humour were equally valued. Justin worked within a framework of loyalty and trust as the cornerstone of his business life. He shared his love of dining and quality wines as means of expressing thanks and gratitude to his professional team. In many ways he was his own man, backing his judgement above conformity and more conventional ways of doing things which was refreshing and rewarding for those around him.

Justin and his family lived in East Woodhay, near Newbury, from 1983, and when Justin moved in 2006 he built a house in nearby Highclere, with the help of many of his old team. He spent the last chapter of his life here, deriving great pleasure from the house and garden which he had helped design, and the surrounding countryside with its plentiful flora and fauna.

Justin's health gradually deteriorated and he spent a number of weeks in hospital at the end of last year and the 
beginning of this one, but he was determined to rally and return home. He defied expectations and prognoses and managed just this, where his happiness was evident and he was surrounded by his family for much of his final months.

His gentlemanly nature, honesty and generosity were observed by many and Justin would help anyone he could, particularly friends and family, but there were other causes he cared deeply about such as the RNLI and the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust.

Justin's other defining characteristic was his humour and a smile or laughter was never far from his face. He retained his sense of humour to the end, and showed that humour can make the wonderful moments of life truly glorious, and make the tragic moments bearable.

Justin also demonstrated that great pleasure should be derived from simple things in life - the company of others, laughter, food, drink, the built environment and the natural world.

Pat died on 27th January 2019. Justin died on 27th April 2019.                      

Hugo Orchard-Lisle


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