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17 December, 2013

A giant among us

With the recent death of Miss Irene Prestwich at her beautiful home at Tirley Garth, Tarporley, Mid-Cheshire has lost a most distinguished person—and the world has lost a person dedicated to making it a better place in which all might live irrespective of class, linked by absolute moral standards of honesty, purity, unselfishness and love.

Irene Prestwich
Irene Prestwich
Miss Prestwich was a woman of wealth, surrounded by a host of servants and living in a most gracious house in acres of beautiful gardens. She gave up her wealth and opened her home as a conference centre for Moral Re-Armament, later making Tirley Garth and its estate the property of a charitable trust. And via Tirley Garth people from all walks of life and from many countries in the world came to talk, to discuss and to take up the absolute standards that she found through MRA.

The grandson of Gandhi was a visitor; leading political figures from many emergent nations called. Groups who had been sworn enemies in their own countries found peace and friendship and a will to work together after staying at Tirley Garth.

Trade unionists and management sat down together at weekend conferences, civic leaders joined in pledging themselves to working for the betterment of all. Delegations went to Northern Ireland, South Africa and other countries—where bitterness and strife had caused such deep divisions among people—to give the message that Miss Prestwich had herself found in the 1930s.

She was a tiny and delicate woman, of immense charm and engaging courtesy. Yet deep inside was a giant with steel-like convictions and a determination and desire to help others that brought her wealth and home into full play in the greater nature of life itself.

Mid-Cheshire should be proud that such a person lived among them and made this part of Cheshire a centre-point for the world.

First published in the Northwich Guardian, 29 August 1974

A similar obituary appeared in The Times, London.

Tirley Garth was sold in 2002 and the Irene Prestwich Trust still administers its funds for grants to give training in the values of Initiatives of Change—Ed. 

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