A Sherington Heroine
Myrtle was born in Sherington in 1934, where she lived all her life. The only child of an affluent, but working horticultural family, she was brought up behind the family firm of the local nursery and floristry business.
After the death of her parents, Myrtle continued to run the family business until it became impossible for her alone and eventually it was sold.
She then worked from time to time as a bus driver as she was licenced and qualified up to a P.S.V. (Public Service Vehicle, i.e. she was able to drive any bus or coach). One evening when returning home, driving through Olney a cyclist pulled out in front of her and Myrtle knocked him down and he died of his injuries.
Latterly, she was the first woman driver for the Open University, and continuing to do floristry work in her spare time, until just a few years before her death she was able to make it her full time work again.
Myrtle was a very talented and accomplished florist, and much respected in the nursery and florist trade. She had no formal training, but as she is reputed to have said "If old man Peach taught you, you learned, and you did it right the first time!"
Everything received the same level of attention whether grand decorations for VIP's or a single buttonhole.
Myrtle would occasionally work all night and her fridge was sometimes more likely to be full of flowers than food. Her flower arrangements were legendary. Bill Norton (Landlord of The Swan) wouldn’t have anyone else to supply his, each Spring she came down to plant and arrange his garden boxes and hanging baskets.
She was a remarkable person, intelligent, independent, and on the surface appeared a lot tougher than she really was. Myrtle would not suffer fools gladly, more than one person felt the rough edge of her tongue, she could swear with the best of them. But she really did have a heart of gold.
Myrtle Gillian Peach died in 1986 at the age of 52. Unfortunately, she sought medical treatment for cervical cancer too late. Relatives and friends say that she would thoroughly approve of the Myrtle Peach Trust and the work it does, even though she would probably be amazed at her name being used. Although part of her living was in making wreaths, she is known to have felt that the money would be well spent where it could do some good.
In May 1987 the Myrtle Peach Trust was formed to support the work of the Laser and Colposcopy clinic in Milton Keynes Hospital. This clinic treats women for cervical cancer prevention, following an abnormal smear result and many thousands of women have been treated in the clinic, thus avoiding the necessity of a waiting list (which could prove possibly fatal, as in Myrtles case), and also major surgery.
Many Sherington residents and organisations have been associated with the Trust: Jenny Hicks, Phil Smith, Monica Cheeseman, Eileen West, Joy Osgood. Some of the village organisations that have contributed to the fund include the Bowls Club, who run an annual knockout tournament, and the New Thursday group. There is also an annual 'give to auction' held in the Swan car park, organised and run by Philip Smith and Derek Ferris, to name just a few people and organisations.
The nursery that was run by the Peach family in the middle of the 1900's is still trading on the same site. Now known as Sherington Nurseries, it is still open to the public and offers a wide range of gardening supplies.