Well-loved community figure Pat Filer is being fondly remembered for her long-time contribution to the area – including running the Eagle House Wednesday Club for nearly 30 years.
Pat, who died in May aged 75, lived in Knowle West all her life. She married her husband Dennis at 19, who was himself one of the founding members of Eagle House Community Association, and they had three daughters.
As part of the Celebrating Women of Knowle West project in 2017, run by Knowle West Media Centre (KWMC) Pat said she had been inspired to launch the Wednesday club by her late mother Chris Stone – who helped to start the 500 Club, one of the first social groups on the estate.
Pat said the group at Eagle House was started in 1992 because “we wanted to create a place where people could come and talk and where we could contribute towards our community.”
The Wednesday Club began with just 14 people and by 1996 had 70 members. There were always a variety of activities from weekly bingo and talks to entertainment, armchair exercise and Bring and Buy tables – with unsold items taken to charity.
Members also went on trips including Weymouth and Burnham on Sea as well as having Christmas meals and yearly Women’s Day celebrations. Pat ran the club until December 2021, until ill health prevented her from doing so.
Lifetime friend Brenda James (74) said: “I think she contributed a lot. I’ve been coming for 15 years and it’s meant I’m back to what I was as a teenager! The club gets you out of the house, meeting people and having a chat.”
Chair of Eagle House Community Association, Margaret Rawlins says: “Pat was a good supporter of Eagle House since it started – she was a committee member and ran the Wednesday Club. She helped fundraise to keep the centre going.
“ She was also involved in the wider community and on many committees including Community in Partnership for 15 years (at Filwood Community Centre) and the Neighbourhood Partnership. I liked her sense of humour and she was also very fun loving.”
Vice Chair Anita Pearce said: “She loved Eagle House and the people and was always the first to offer support if it was needed. ..If I had a problem I could always phone Pat and talk it over with her. She was reassuring, sensible and outspoken.
“She will be greatly missed by Eagle House Community Association and the Wednesday Club.”
Pat also enjoyed attending Christ the King Church where she helped with the repository and the school bazaar.
And she was very involved in KWMC from the start – where her daughter Gail currently works.
CEO Carolyn Hassan says: “Pat was a long time and highly valued friend of KWMC, often contributing to projects, and could always be relied on to tell us what she thought and supporting others to share their views.
“She was the centre of so much that we did, particularly at Eagle House and I will always be grateful for her warm welcome, sense of humour and absolute commitment to her family and community.
“She was one of a group of strong KW women that I always looked to for support and guidance, particularly in the early days of KWMC. We will miss Pat and send our heartfelt condolences to her family and many friends.”
In 2006 Pat was presented with a Hearts and Stars Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2020, she was also given a star, displayed in a special Walk at Filwood Community Centre’s courtyard – for residents who went “above and beyond” to help out in the community during the coronavirus pandemic.
Pat’s funeral will be held at Christ the King Church on 28 June at 11am, followed by a burial at South Bristol Cemetery. Her wake will be at Eagle House with a traditional black and white dress code, family and friends are welcome.