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It is with great sadness that we, at the Bata Heritage Centre, have to announce that our dear friend May passed away peacefully during the afternoon of Friday 28 July in Basildon Hospital.  She was aware that her husband, Terry, and close friends Veronica and Michelle were with her and stayed until she passed away.

May was a member of the Bata Heritage Centre committee from its early days and became its Secretary in early 2012 until earlier this year.  She was an invaluable member and will be sorely missed by all of us. 

A comment just received by email said She was always such a kind and generous person to deal with and was always very grateful of the relationship between the Heritage Centre and the Thames Industrial Estate (the former Bata factory site), she was a pleasure to deal with and I will miss her.  Please send our sincere and heartfelt condolences to May’s family, what a lovely lady, gone but never forgotten.

Our featured photo above shows May (in the foreground) enjoying one of our Open Days, working with another volunteer, Rhys.  She loved to help organise these events and relished the opportunity to meet everyone who came along.  She would make sure they felt welcome and would always try to answer any questions our visitors might have had.

In September (2016), May voluntarily opened her home for the Essex Architecture Heritage weekend (see photo below) to allow visitors to see what a Bata manager’s home was like.  The house was designed in the modernist fashion and features a balcony and garage – not something the standard houses for employees had.  

May had grown up in this house and returned later in life to live there again.


May Rippingale (née Vaclavik)

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