Fairlie May Carter (née Mills) died peacefully on November 13, 2022, at Shottermill House, surrounded by her immediate family. Aged 97, she had lived almost all her life in Haslemere.
Fairlie was the youngest child of Charles and Lilian Mills (née Howkins). Her father built a house above a shop called Rose Corner. It is now ‘Hair for Him’.
She was educated at Shottermill Primary school under the patronage of Charlie Fuller, leaving school at 14, the year war broke out.
She often recalled stories about her beloved Shottermill, particularly remembering monumental events such as the plane crashing into the Rex Cinema, and the first motorised vehicle driving through Haslemere – where her brother commented “well, that won’t catch on”.
Fairlie’s family were devout non-conformists and worshipped at Hope Baptist Church, Lower Street. Because they were passive resistors, they were often featured in the Surrey Times for having their possessions confiscated and then put up for sale.
During the war, Fairlie was exempt from active service due to working in Lamdens Shoe Shop in Lower Street, which sold orthopaedic shoes. This was regarded as a reserved occupation and it was there that she worked with the broadcaster David Jacobs.
In 1949, she married Tom Carter, a local plumber, and they set up home in Camelsdale, raising their three children, Elizabeth, Jonathan and David, before building a house on Marley Common.
In 1960, the family moved to Milland to run the Milland Mission Hall before moving back to Haslemere in 1966, where they founded the Haslemere Free Church in the St John’s Ambulance Hut at the top of Weyhill.
In 1984, Tom and Fairlie converted their home in Weysprings into bedsits for young people and moved to West Mersea Island, Essex to help support a struggling church.
On their return to Haslemere in 1989, they were actively involved in supporting Shottermill House Care Home – Tom as a handyman and Fairlie as a carer.
She was a prolific letter writer and particularly featured on the letters page of the Haslemere Herald making her views known about Shottermill or old Haslemere.
Tom died in 2004, and Fairlie moved to St Christopher’s Green where she devoted the rest of her life to supporting young people, opening up her home for weekly bible classes and later to lend a listening ear to those who found comfort in her company.
She spent many hours out riding on the local buses, chatting and listening to her travelling companions.
Fairlie is survived by her three children, their partners, nine grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren.