NWR in Portishead has planted a flowering cherry tree (Prunus Amanogawa) in the Portishead in Bloom sensory bed outside Portishead Library, in memory of Janet Gate, a much-loved member of the group, who sadly died on the 25 January 2020. A plaque on the fence commemorates her life.
Janet was a great friend and is sorely missed by all NWR members. Janet was creative and musical, and she had many interests, including local history, archaeology, and horticulture. Janet gave the group many fascinating and professionally researched talks about the local history of Portishead, Northumberland (her birthplace), and Sweden (from where her in-laws originated). She had a particular interest in the privately run Victorian schools in Portishead. Indeed, she herself lived in a beautiful Victorian house in Woodhill Road that had once been run as a school. Janet organised, led, and hosted the NWR book group each term. In the summer, she led walks around Portishead narrating various points of interest in the town. She was an excellent cook and prepared delicious food for our social gatherings: most notable for her wonderful Swedish Santa Lucia Buns made for our Christmas parties.
Janet moved to Portishead in the 1990s. She worked as a teacher at St Peters School and she was also a librarian at Portishead and Pill libraries. As Secretary, she was an active member of the Gordano Civic Society, researching and presenting local history, and she was a regular contributor to Posset Pieces. Janet was Wardrobe Mistress for Portishead Players, where she designed, created, and altered costumes for the cast. Janet was a keen gardener, and she opened her magnificent garden to the public as part of the charitable Open Garden Scheme. She was a great supporter of the Portishead Flower Show. Janet also sang in the In Harmony Community Choir. She was a keen member of the Keep Fit Association. In 2005, Janet was awarded Oxford University Undergraduate Advanced Diploma in Local History.