I first met Kate when she moved to Falmouth in the mid 80s and from those days particularly remember her birthday party of 1989 on the quay at Cowlands Creek up the Fal River, titled by her with typical irony “Up the Creek at 40”. It was a wonderfully convivial day hosted by Kate for all of her many friends and kindred spirits involved in the growing green marine and social scene of the time.
She was always involved in pioneering interesting social and environmental projects, which I helped with, back in the days of microcomputers, by collaborating with her co-designing leaflets for print, and we discovered a shared love of the nuances of language and design in putting these together.
In late 1993 Kate gave me a copy of the LETSlink info pack to read saying,
“have a look at this and see what you think about getting involved in a Falmouth group“.
For me personally this was a gateway to a whole new world of community involvement and cooperative working which all involved embraced enthusiastically, and I got busy with Kate and others in designing Falmouth LETS’ first paper directory, and making connections with other groups in Cornwall and across the South West, as Falmouth LETS grew to nearly 100 strong in its first year.
Although I’d lived in Cornwall since childhood, I’d never met so many new friends and colleagues with shared aims and values in such a short time, and this was the first step on the road to this website, and later Falmouth LETS’ online trading site. Twenty seven years later, the group, which always had strong co-operative roots thanks to Kate, is still running.
Fellow LETS veteran Lorely has covered Kate’s special qualities and many of the community projects friends and colleagues old and new were involved in – see her recent article on reallifetools. There is also a recent tribute to her on Transition Falmouth’s website.
Kate’s family have created a wonderful tribute site at kateormrod.muchloved.com where all can share their memories.
In 2019, as Kate’s health and mobility continued to decline, but her enthusiasm for community projects continued unabated, we held regular “veterans” meetings at her home, until, with the onset of Covid-19 and the need to shield, group meetings moved online using Zoom.
Kate always found computers irritating to deal with, but as a quick and lifelong learner she adapted very well. I was so pleased to be able to collaborate with her via remote connection on a couple of typically incisive articles she wrote for Transition Falmouth in the summer of last year – she remained clear headed, good hearted, supportive and productive right to the end, and was starting to enjoy using twitter!
On 12th September 2020, the day after she died, the NHS Blue Spitfire flew over Falmouth hospital raising money for NHS Charities together. Kate was an avid explorer of new horizons on all levels, and as a lifelong community champion it seemed thoroughly appropriate to donate and get her name inscribed on the spitfire, especially given the following from an article at the time on the Falmouth Packet:
“This Spitfire, which was specifically built and used for photo reconnaissance during the conflict, carrying cameras instead of weapons, once again embodies the sense of freedom and togetherness that it did then. It has had an interesting history, which includes being flown and air-raced by the famous female ATA pilot Lettice Curtis, whose signature can already be seen on its side.”
Our dedication on screen-shot below, slightly shortened to fit from
(From:) Kate’s Friends in the Falmouth Community
We would like to nominate, Kate Ormrod, in gratitude for a life of loving support to her wide circle of friends and family, pioneering and fostering so many local community projects with her spirit of joy, community, cooperation, wit and wisdom throughout her life.