Dedicated to the memory of Eleanor Will

24th March 1937 to 2nd May 2020

Eleanor Rose Will sadly passed away, peacefully, at home in Cheltenham. She will be hugely missed by her family, neighbours and many friends around the world. Due to the current coronavirus situation, there will be a private family funeral at Gloucester Crematorium on 28th May.

(The funeral will be webcast live and then will appear a few days later to be viewed again. For details, please email Virginia on


Eleanor was born in Walton on Thames on 24th March 1937 to parents Arnold and Kate Lane - a little sister to Leonie who is 4 years older.
She went first to The Friends School at Saffron Walden where she joined her sister and cousins and from there to secondary education at the Grey Coat Hospital School in London. She did very well academically and went on to Keele University where she studied Geography and Political Institutions, gaining her degree and teaching diploma. During her holidays she volunteered with the Service Civil International in both France and India joining work parties to improve living conditions in a leprosarium and urban slum areas. It was during this time she met several of her life time friends and also the sister of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Eleanor went to live and work in Pakistan for her first teaching engagement. 
In 1966, as a mature student, she took a one year course at the London School of Economics for a Diploma in Social Administration for Graduates Overseas and shortly after joined the Foreign Office, in the research department where she stayed for 11 years and which she enjoyed enormously.
It was towards the end of this time that Eleanor met Eric who would become her husband, marrying in Cheltenham in 1977 and then travelling out to Papua New Guinea where Eric worked in the tea industry.
About a year later Eleanor realised married life didn’t suit her and she decided to come home and surprised her mother greatly by calling from Victoria Coach Station to announce her return to England. Eventually, Eleanor returned to teaching Geography in London.
She retired at 61 which she loved as she could now indulge her passion for travel - visiting all 7 continents over the years! She had met many different people and had many friends across the world who she had been in touch with all her life. She also loved to visit her relatives in Canada and New Zealand, and made a point of staying in touch with all her cousins. Perhaps her most memorable trips were to Bhutan and Antarctica, the latter, in her 70s, which she travelled to on a Russian ice breaker, and not being faint hearted took 'The Polar Plunge' being the first woman awarded 2 vodkas for swimming in the icy waters...! She actually took the plunge twice, in both the arctic and antarctic and has the certificates and photographs to prove it!

Eleanor had such good neighbours and was a good neighbour herself, bringing the residents of the Close together with her 12th night parties and Macmillan fundraising events.

She remained fit and active until the last 4 years of her life, when Parkinson's Disease hit her hard. Not being able to travel and go on her beloved long hikes and climbs up mountains and down dales...was a cruel blow. She loved her bungalow but disliked being tied to it... always an independent person, she tried to defy her illness to the last, battling with her helpful carers over the dos and don'ts of life as dictated by her health, and the doctors orders.

In the last few years, Eleanor enjoyed her bi-weekly visits to the exercise group and lunch club at St Luke's Cheltenham, always able to hold her own in any political debates that arose over lunch. 



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I used to cook Eleanor's lunch on a Tuesday at St Luke's lunch club in Cheltenham. She came for lunch after her exercise class. She was a very dignified lady who had obviously had a very interesting life. She enjoyed her lunches and was always very thankful. She made interesting conversation and gave the gents a run for their money with their opinions! RIP Eleanor.
May 28th, 2020
As a child I remember Eleanor always coming to family parties. She seemed so exciting, unconventional and such a free spirit as she told stories of her travels far and wide. I used to look forward to receiving the little angels she would send out at Christmas and wonder which far flung corners of the globe she had visited that year. She will be sadly missed but not forgotten. Guy Cowhig
May 28th, 2020
Our family will miss Aunty Eleanor. We will always remember our trip to England 22 years ago with our then two-year-old daughter. Eleanor picked us up in London, and the adventures began. We remember her hospitality, being treated to the most absolutely delicious meringue cake, walks and bird watching, and the most wonderful conversations. It was Eleanor who was responsible for introducing our daughter to Teletubbies - we remember Sydney sitting on a little stool in fount of Eleanor's television, totally enthralled. We have beautiful Christmas cards from Eleanor that are part of our holiday decorations. Farida Robinson (Talaat and Luc Moreau's daughter)
May 28th, 2020
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