Sarah Williams
'Willsy'

sarahwilliams

14 February 1961 - 11 March 2017
56 years

I first met Sarah when Pete and I were looking for radio presenters for the pirate radio venture, back in 1988. I knew straight away that Sarah was going to be great fun. We used to perform pranks on her during her radio shows and were quite successful at them. Setting a microphone on fire at the start of her show was one and my favourite; replacing her prized copy of 'Hey Jude' by the Beatles with a broken one and then getting a listener to phone in and ask her to play it, live on-air and straight away was brilliant. Her reaction is captured in a recording of that prank and saved somewhere in the archives.
Sarah was loyal to the station and she would spend hours promoting it and doing all of the administration, completely free of charge. The station did fail and after an attempt to return, folk lost interest and eventually, we stopped our weekend broadcasts.

The next venture was a small mini-cab office, that we operated from home. We did it properly.. got two-radio between office and drivers, had hire and reward insurance and quickly acquired a following with regular customers. Sarah's determination was superb... she would work daytimes and evenings, cover airport runs in the early hours when the rest of us were shattered and struggling to stay awake. And because it was Sarah, everyday was fun. She always wanted to see the fun side of everything, as well as having the flair to pull it all off with professionalism and elegance.

Because Sarah was so trusting (and gullible), Pete and I once told her to dress up for a special lunch venue that we were taking her to. She turned up, dressed to the nines and we struggled to keep a straight face when we arrived at The Chelsea Kitchen on Kings Road, Chelsea. It was not grand... it was fab but not posh at all and poor Sarah did look ever so slightly over-dressed for the establishment.

petewillsyjezz
Pete, Willsy and Jezz, about 2004

Sarah was married to Rolf and on 17 November 1991, they had a baby boy Alex. We were there, Pete and I, to see Sarah in the hospital, recovering. She often used to remind us that I delivered one of my better lines whilst holding Alex in my arms and looking at him, I said: "And look, you've got more hair than Uncle Peter already." She went on to have a further son with Rolf, Ollie who was born on 4 July 1994.

Looking back through the diary entries, Sarah and I spent so many times together. She worked opposite her home when they lived in Purley. It was an Indian restaurant, The Raj Mahal. She invited us there once but eating with Sarah was always a part of us meeting up. She invited us to many Sunday roast lunches at her flat in Purley. On one occasion, a small discreet food fight started but Sarah came back from the kitchen with a can of spray cream and was once again, in charge of the situation.

In 1995, I wasn't happy at work and mentioned to it Sarah. Just a few days later, she said that there was a position becoming available at her workplace. She said I should apply and so I did. I got the job and once again, was back working with Sarah. And I loved it. Without her influence, I never would have met four other fantastic women in my life, Barbara, Liz, Christine and Vicki. As I type this (March 2017), sadly Christine and Liz are no longer with us.

willsy
Sarah at home, with a dodgy fag on

Other memories of my precious time with my dear friend Sarah include going to Brighton for the day in 1988 and boat laking in Beddington Park during a lunch hour. We also went to London for the day and visited the Space Adventure in Tooley Street at London Bridge and she introduced me to indoor bowling at Tolworth Bowls... where I came last in a mini-tournament. We went out for lots of meals, socially and as an excuse for business meetings. She once drove Pete and I to Wisley for an evening and I also loved the evenings in watching telly and/or listening to music with a dodgy cigarette or two.

Professionally, Sarah was incredible. She was the best proof-reader ever. Spotting every grammer and spelling error. She taught me so much and was always there to proof-read this very website. I bet she'd find an error with this page! Lol.

And so - more recently, after Sarah moved down to Hastings... we remained in touch with the odd phone call and then later, FaceTime video calls that were sometimes weekly, sometimes monthly. She continued to show a genuine care about my life, my health and was always a good listener. She gave an unbaised opinion when you asked for it, and sometimes when you didn't... but she was never judgemental, ever and she always saw the good in people. A lesson there, for all us, I feel.

willsyat50
Sarah, celebrating her 50th birthday

Sarah is my 17th friend that I have said goodbye to.

On Tuesday 11 April 2017, Vicki, Barbara and I attended Sarah's funeral and wake. It was at North East Surrey Crematorium and was a non-religious service. We met Alex and Ollie and saw Majorie, Richard and Les. I met Sarah's best friend, Rachel. Rachel and I both paid tribute with a eulogy. This is what I had to say:

"My dear friend, Sarah, or as we often referred to her as, Willsy.
Any story told that has Sarah in it is, and probably always will be, quirky. And this is no exception.

I first met Sarah when Pete and I were looking for DJ’s for a pirate radio venture, 29 years ago back in 1988. I knew straight away that Sarah was going to be great fun. She very quickly became THE Sarah Williams. We used to perform pranks on her during her radio shows and were quite successful at them. Setting a microphone on fire in the corner of the studio at the start of her show was one of them and my favourite; replacing her prized copy of 'Hey Jude' by the Beatles with a broken one and then getting a listener to phone in and asking her to play it, live on-air and straight away was brilliant. Her reaction is captured in a recording of that prank and saved in the archives of SLR Radio. She was loyal to the station and she would spend hours promoting it and doing all of the administration, completely free of charge.
Sarah applied exactly the same energy and enthusiasm with a small car-hire business we started and she showed us all how talented she was with her organisational skills, her professionalism with office admin, her people skills with communications and ease of attracting new clientele, her stamina and determination by working double shifts and her expertise to combine it all whilst having another job and being a wife and a Mother.

Sarah did nothing by halves. She was meticulous with every thing and she taught me a great deal. In particular, how to compose a letter professionally and with elegance. She was also my favourite proof-reader of all time. Who will monitor my website now for grammar, spelling mistakes and poor layout design? This was another wonderful personality trait to have in a friend. She had an abundance of eagerness with any computer related task I had and a simple telephone call to her for advice would often lead to her taking hold of the entire project and seeing it through to the end with me.
She had a memory like an elephant which was both handy and irritating at the same time.
I have to tell you an amusing memory… Sarah invented the phrase… ‘R.’ When I would call her and drone on too long with a story, she’d delicately let out a small: ‘Oooaahh’ to indicate that she was listening politely and being attentive, despite not really wanting to. Over a few months, this developed in to a more colder and shorter version and its true definition was never more clear as my anecdotes came to an abrupt halt with her resounding ‘R’ slicing through the phone line. So, if she ever said that to you, you now know why!

Sarah… a sharp, quick-witted, wholesome but above all else, a fun person to be around. Who else could turn an uncomfortable car journey with too many speed humps in to a song: “Bumpety bumpety bumpety car.”
Alex and Ollie may not remember this but when they were very young, I taught them the phrase: “I can’t hear you, Mummy.” She often reminded me and not sure she forgave me for that, because for a period of time, they would say that to her in response to everything, particularly if she was asking them to do something!

My dear dear friend Sarah. When I look back over the last 30 years, when I consider all of the work colleagues, temporary acquaintances in business and socially, no one, but no one compares to the quality of friendship that you offered so freely. I know everyone here is understanding of this, because you would have given them exactly the same.

As keepsakes go, you are one of my favourites and most treasured.
Thanks Willsy… thanks for all the fun and laughter.
If there is a heaven out there… it’s gonna get a lot funnier now.
"