A Love of Life
The Story of Sarah Hotter
(Old ISBN: 1 902019 05 9) 150 pages, paperback, 146mm x 208mm.
63 black and white illustrations Published by Greenridges Press, December 2002.
Reprinted February 2003.
Price: £ 8.99 + Postage and Packing:(All profits to The Christie Hospital, Manchester, any additional donations very welcome)
The Christie Hospital, Manchester.
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About the Book
This book is a tribute to Sarah Hotter, written by family friend Ken Veitch. Sarah’s life was brimming with vitality and enthusiasm, love and concern for others, until she died from a brain tumour at the tragically early age of 33.
She belonged to a remarkable and loving family, and her character was such that she was able to draw out courage, calmness and humour in the people whose lives she touched.
The first part of the book traces Sarah’s life through her childhood, her days at Loreto Convent School in Altrincham, her student years at Oxford (where a former tutor regards her as “a golden girl whom we will always remember”), her early career with ICL in London, a ‘Grand Tour’ with her brother around South America, her experiences as a teacher of English in Spain and her last years as a museum education officer at The Salt Museum in Northwich. The second half of the book contains the recollections of many people who regard her as a formative influence on their lives, because of the special rapport she was able to create with them.
Ken Veitch and Sarah’s mother, Valerie, hope that – in the words of her surgeon – others in similar circumstances will be able to draw strength from Sarah’s life and all that came of it.
The Foreword has been written by Sister Tina Johnson of Ward 3, The Christie Hospital, where Sarah died on Christmas Day, 1999. She says: “She was a shining light for a short time in our lives and some of her glow has surely remained with us for ever.”
In 1996 Ken Veitch was the Head of Cheshire County Council's Beeston Outdoor Education Centre when he received a telephone call from Sarah Hotter, the newly-appointed Education Officer at the Northwich Salt Museum asking if she could come to visit him to find out more about the outdoor education and museums service. They first met in the Centre car park, where they ‘clicked’ immediately and by the time they sat down in his office about a minute later, he felt he was conversing with a friend he had known for years. He says that without making any effort to impress, Sarah shone out as a singularly colourful person, and not just on account of her beautiful red hair! She was attractive, witty, wise, and bright in the fullest sense of that word and she carried these qualities in a natural easy sort of way. He had told his staff that he was having a working meeting but they told him later that all they heard was laughter. Sarah returned to her duties, he says, and did them very well - but she had hardly got into her stride when she was stricken in the spring of 1998 with the brain tumour that was to prove fatal.
Ken visited Sarah and her mother Val on several occasions during her 18-month illness. The love the pair showed for each other, the calm practical way they dealt with Sarah’s steady deterioration, and their never-failing humour and consideration for others – notwithstanding all the painful times they must have experienced – are things indelibly stamped on his mind, and on the minds of everybody who knew Sarah.
He says that Sarah was a ‘people’ person, comfortable with those of any age or walk of life. At Northwich as part of an oral history project run by the museum, she helped to persuade Nellie Osborne to start writing the autobiography that was eventually published by Léonie Press as Nellie's Story - A Life of Service. It occurred to him that the story of Sarah should be told too. He put the idea to Val and after due thought she and Sarah’s brother Mark decided they should go ahead.
Ken is not sure that this story has an ‘end’ at all. The hope of all of the people who wrote it is, in the words of her surgeon, that others in similar circumstances will be able to draw strength from Sarah’s life and all that came from it. He chose the title ‘A Love of Life’ because Sarah was an enthusiast in everything she did. The word enthusiasm derives from the Greek word ‘entheos’, ‘possessed by a god, inspired’. He thinks this describes Sarah absolutely.
By Tia Keens (London), 30 May 2009
I found this an extremely inspiring and well-written book.
Sarah was several years older than me at school and although we weren't acquainted, one couldn't help noticing this vibrant, energetic, attractive and highly articulate individual - she clearly loved and lived her life to the full. I was so sorry to hear that she had passed away and was grateful of the opportunity to read such an interesting biography which was also extremely touching. The old saying about good people dying young is so true in this case - Sarah was a very courageous and loving individual, both in health and sickness - a bright, passionate and inspiring light which burned too quickly but clearly blazed a huge trail.
The book can be obtained from Mrs Valerie Hotter, 19 Arthog Road, Hale, Altrincham, Cheshire WA15 0NA. Please make cheques payable to "Mrs V Hotter".
The book was launched on December 7th 2002. By January 7th 2003 most copies had been sold and there has been a reprint.
On May 2nd 2003 we were delighted to hear from Valerie that the profit from sales of the book which had been passed to The Christie Hospital so far stood at