It is with sadness that news has been received of the death of Peggy Tomlins.
Peggy was born in Canada in 1921 but the family returned to London when she was 3 years old.
It was no great surprise that Peggy enjoyed ice skating. The whole family was involved. Her father was secretary of the Streatham Speed Skating Club and her older brother, Freddie, was both a speed skating Champion in the UK and a figure skater, taking the silver medal in both the 1939 World and European Men’s Championships as well as representing Great Britain in the 1936 Olympic Games.
In 1935, as a young teenager, Peggy experienced one of the many highlights of her life when she appeared in the John Mills film “Car of Dreams”, when a sleigh scene was filmed at Streatham Ice rink.
Peggy took her love of skating further and decided to make it her career. By the age of 18, in the late 1930’s, Peggy joined the coaching staff at Streatham, a career that spanned over 50 years at the same rink.
Her fledgling career was punctuated by the war years when she joined the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF). Peggy was stationed at a RADAR facility near Edinburgh, where the base was involved in scrambling the fighter planes that defended the British Isles.
The war was also tragic for Peggy’s family, when in June 1943, her brother Freddie, a pilot officer in the RAF, was lost in action and his body was never recovered.
At the war’s end Peggy memorialised Freddie in a book entitled “Freddie Tomlins. His Life on Skates”.
With the re-opening of Streatham Ice Rink, following the war, Peggy resumed her position on the coaching staff and was one of the first to return. She taught skaters of all abilities and ages and they remember her fondly for her encouragement and the equal care and affection she had for all of them.
Peggy married John Wilkie and together they also had a very full life outside of skating.
They were keen golfers and serious sailors. Their sailing saw them competing in races during the Cowes Weeks.
They also travelled extensively in America, where John had relatives and other interests and the couple also maintained a property in Spain, where, after her retirement they spent the winters.
After a fall at the ice rink, Peggy suffered a broken hip and whilst her hip replacement was successful she decided to retire from skating. She was greatly missed by all her pupils.
Although she decided to leave the skating world behind she did like to know what was happening and was kept up to date by her skating friend Anne Glyn (Jackson), who had been Peggy’s pupil from 1949 until 1960.
Sadly during her retirement Peggy was widowed but spent a great deal of time as a volunteer at one of the St Christopher’s Hospice Charity Shops, as her husband had been cared for in the Hospice, in Sydenham.
She was always busy during her retirement but suffered a stroke 18 months ago, from which she did not recover well and after a chest infection she died very peacefully on December 10th 2015 aged 94.
Peggy’s funeral took place in Beckenham on December 30th and was attended by some of her skating friends from her days at Streatham.