UNSUNG Isle of Wight hero Patricia Chessell, known to Islanders for assisting thousands of jobseekers, volunteering with Guides, Scouts, the Red Cross, Trefoil Guild and Cowes Methodist Church, has died aged 88.

Born in Hammersmith, Pat grew up in Harrow Weald in Middlesex, was evacuated during the second world war, and despite being an only child to Laurie and Queenie Nicholls, had a loving extended family across Middlesex and Kent.

At Youth Club, she met her future husband, John Derek Ovenden, his sisters Susan and Jennie and future lifelong friends Rex Halett and Johnny and Irene Hancox.

They were Scouts and Guides, with whom she went on numerous cycling/hosteling holidays.

Isle of Wight County Press: Patricia in Paris in 2006Patricia in Paris in 2006 (Image: Mark Ovenden)

Pat began office work in the 1950s for Prudential Assurance in Holborn, later moving back to Middlesex, where she and Derek adopted two children, Mark and Hilary, in the early 1960s.

She worked at EMI Medical in the 1970s, supporting the development of the first electronic body scanners.

The family relocated to the Island in 1976, where Derek began college lecturing, and Pat started work for the Department for Education.

During her working life, Pat helped thousands of Islanders find jobs as an employment adviser at Newport Job Centre.

Isle of Wight County Press: A recent photo of Patricia at her care home, wearing a big hat!A recent photo of Patricia at her care home, wearing a big hat! (Image: Mark Ovenden)

Pat and Derek become key members of Pallance Road Methodist Church, and following Derek’s death in 1989, Pat later married Don Chessell, both transferring to Cowes Methodist Church when Pallance closed.

She became church steward, partaking in Sisterhood, charity fundraising and church upkeep by baking and sewing.

Pat’s Northwood bungalow always had the aroma of freshly baked cakes for fetes, her well-kept garden often a venue.

She volunteered during the 1980s and 1990s with Newport Red Cross, first aiding at events like the County Show.

Her work with Cubs, Brownies, Scouts and Guides saw her teach everything from triangular bandages and campsite tent-pegging to bivouacs and latrine building!

Following Don’s passing in 2010, she continued tireless church work, packing hundreds of Christmas boxes for underprivileged children or simply “doing the flowers”, as she called it for, weekly services.

Pat spent many holidays with her family, especially Renee and Jennie, travelling across Europe and America.

Pat passed away at Hazel Lodge Nursing Home in Havenstreet on January 4 after battling a fall at her Northwood home in 2019.

She is survived by her children, who now both live on the Island and stepsons Jeremy and Mark Chessell.

The funeral arrangements for Pat are yet to be finalised.