Nation owes a debt to Jean Pateman says former Highgate vicar

Apart from an editorial comment in an earlier edition of your paper which expressed the hope that any rumoured differences in opinion on the affairs of Highgate Cemetery should be resolved amicably and swiftly, subsequent issues of your paper did not, as

Apart from an editorial comment in an earlier edition of your paper which expressed the hope that any rumoured differences in opinion on the affairs of Highgate Cemetery should be resolved amicably and swiftly, subsequent issues of your paper did not, as I see it, serve to achieve this noble aspiration.

In issues of your paper that followed, questions about the limitation of time to be served by trustees, concern about visitor numbers, voting procedures, etc, were subject by your informants to questionable innuendo and mis-information.

The oversight and proper governance of the cemetery by those to whom the responsibility is entrusted by Friends Of Highgate Cemetery members was called into question, which compelled a representative group of trustees and vice presidents to write to your paper in response.

Singled out for special disapproval by your informants was Mrs Jean Pateman with reported claims by so-called 'friends' describing her as "the boss" and a "hypocrite". The mischievous, frequent use, over several weeks, of a photograph taken completely out of context, calls into question your paper's sense of 'justice' and 'fair play'.


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This lady, along with her late husband, has laboured over the past three to four decades (in a totally voluntary capacity) to secure the future of Highgate Cemetery. She is indeed a 'dame formidable' before whom lesser mortals wilt and fall by the wayside! She is also a woman of superb intellect, a visionary who will not be deflected, a savvy media operative with an encyclopaedic knowledge of Highgate Cemetery and, believe it or not, a very warm and caring personality.

Instead of listening to the tiresome prattle of a few disgruntled 'friends', why not have an experienced, discerning and intelligent journalist write an article about the demonstrable success that is Highgate Cemetery, and this time, with a photograph of the smiling lady to whom (along with her late husband, John) the Highgate community, and indeed the nation, owe an incalculable debt of gratitude. I write this from first hand experience as a former vicar of Highgate for almost 23 years, a former vice chairman of the trustees and now as a vice president of FOHC.

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Revd John Fielding

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