Myrtle Aldren Wright Radley (born 1903 – died 1991) Myrtle was born and grew up in Cambridge in the UK and attended the Perse School for Girls. She studied Natural Sciences at Newnham College. After completing her studies at Cambridge she spent a year at Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre in Birmingham studying religious and international affairs and it was here that she became a Quaker. She served on many committees and continued to work for peace and international understanding through the Friends’ Service Council. In 1938/9 she was asked to visit India where she was introduced to Ghandi and in 1939 she also visited Lebanon and Palestine. In 1940 she went to Denmark to establish a new Quaker Centre. In April that same year she went to Norway intending to visit Friends she had met at Woodbrooke, arriving there three days before the German invasion. Diderich and Sigrid Lund invited her to stay “I came to tea and stayed for four years”- she used to say. Myrtle’s exact record of these years can be found in her book Norwegian Diary 1940-1945 published under her maiden name Myrtle Wright.
In 1944 Sigrid and Myrtle escaped to Sweden taking the same route that they had helped many Jews use. In 1945 Myrtle returned to Norway to help Norwegian Friends in reconciliation work and again in 1946 with the Friends’ Ambulance Unit. Myrtle was awarded the Haakon V11’s Freedom Cross for Fremrakende – the medal is awarded to Norwegian, foreign military or civilians for outstanding achievement during war.
In 1951 she married Philip Radley at Jesus Lane Meeting House in Cambridge.
Philip Radley (born 1897 – died 1990) Philip was born in Hampshire to a Quaker family that stretched back to the earliest years of Quakerism.
Philip was 17 at the outbreak of the First World War, not yet 20 when the Military Service Act came into operation. He took the abolitionists’ position at his tribunal and spent two and a half years in prison for his beliefs.
After the war was over Philip studied at Magdalene College, Cambridge and from 1944 – 1952 served as Headmaster at the Quaker School, Ackworth, in the West Riding.
In 1924 he married Christine Southall. Tragically Christine died in 1926, leaving their small son Patrick, aged only 7 months.
In 1951 Philip married Myrtle Wright, a renewal of a long-standing friendship. This partnership was to last all but 40 years. It was at this point that Philip and Myrtle set up the Radley Trust, together with Philip’s son Patrick and his wife Gwendoline.
From 1953 – 1956, Philip and Myrtle ran the Student Movement House in Gower Street, London and from 1958 until 1961 they were resident in South Africa living in the Friends’ (Quaker) Meeting House in Cape Town. The Radleys saw their service here as essentially personal and pastoral – keeping in touch with scattered Quaker Meetings and with isolated members of the Yearly Meeting. Following their service in South Africa they settled in Watlington on the north scarp of the Chiltern Hills and were members of Reading Monthly Meeting for 18 years.
By 1975 they had moved back to Myrtle’s roots in Cambridge and Philip was clerk to Jesus Lane Quaker Preparative Meeting from 1975 – 1977.
Philip was active in Friends (Quakers) all his life serving as clerk and assistant clerk to many Meetings and Quaker committees, including London Yearly Meeting. He was committed to the Quaker Business Practice “So Friends are not to meet like a company of people about town or parish business ……but to wait upon the Lord”. He was a man of great integrity and self-discipline, an absolutionist in his pacifism, a firm total abstainer, traditional in his moral attitudes and with a ready sympathy and compassion. During the last 18 months of his life he suffered the anxiety of watching the progression of Myrtle’s Alzheimer’s disease and his increasing deafness deprived him of the joy of easy conversing with friends.
The love and compassion and sense of justice, coupled with great humility, as displayed in the lives of these two people, is the bedrock on which the Radley Trust stands and does its best to maintain their values to this day.
This photo was taken outside the Radley’s flat in Sherlock Close, Cambridge.
Patrick Francis Radley (b.1925 – d.2008)
Patrick Francis Radley, son of Philip Radley and Christine Radley, was born on the 6th July 1925 in Wakefield, Yorkshire. Patrick’s mother died when he was seven months old and his father and paternal grandmother brought him up. At the age of 13 he went to Bootham Quaker boarding school in York.
Patrick was a Quaker and conscientious objector like his father. He worked for the Quaker Relief Service in 1943 and 1947, in the years immediately after the war driving trucks in Germany to distribute food (Quaker food parcels) to the German families in need.
In 1947 Patrick went to Manchester University studying English and French. He went on to Oxford for his BLit in English, finishing in 1955 and in the following years he had various teaching jobs, finishing in 1974.
He married his first wife Clair in 1950 with whom he had two sons, now living in New Zealand, and a daughter, who lives in England. The couple were eventually divorced. In 1974 he met Helena, who is Dutch, and they lived and worked in Italy and later in Holland. They married in 1977 in a Welsh Chapel (a Quaker wedding) and lived in Wales for many years. They lived a life of self-sufficiency and Patrick formed a small cooperative of local craftsmen for making farm implements. He also discovered St Gounod’s Well (Ffynnon Wnnod), the original Holy Well for the village, in his search for a better water supply for the house.
During this time Patrick formed an important relationship with his brother in law Fr Alexis Voogd who was a Russian Orthodox Priest. In 1982 Patrick was baptised and her brother received Helena into the Orthodox Church. Together they visited Moscow, Leningrad, the caves of Kiev and Pskov.
Moving to Brinkley, near Newmarket, to be nearer Patrick’s father they attended occasional services at Walsingham and in 1986 decided to move there, attending Father David’s congregation at Little Walsingham. In 1988 the church of the Holy Transfiguration was opened, a truly Orthodox church configured out of an old Methodist Chapel. Patrick became an active member of the local community not only watching over the conversion of the chapel but also driving the Age Concern bus, organising poetry and fiction readings, leading tours of Walsingham and tending his organic garden. He visited lonely villagers and showed endless personal kindness.
On 28th November 1993 Patrick was ordained deacon and on the 20th November 1999 at the age of 74 he was ordained priest for the parish of the Holy Transfiguration where he continued to serve until his death. In 2005 Patrick was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He lived a further two and a half years following surgery. Until his last two weeks he continued to serve his church with love and steadfastness.