Britain Burma Society
Farewell to Mavis Edwards


Mavis Edwards, a former Council member of the Britain-Burma Society, died on 18th January 2009 at the age of 93, in Portugal. She was a kindly and generous individual who took an interest in the lives and well-being of everyone she knew. She will be greatly missed.

Mavis was born in India in 1915. When she was a year old, her family moved to Rangoon, where her father worked for the Post and Telegraph organization. She trained as a teacher, and then taught at the Diocesan Boys High School. On Christmas Day 1941 her family's house took a direct hit from a Japanese bombing raid, and the family were evacuated to India. In 1943 she married Robert Edwards in Bombay and they moved to Lucknow for the rest of the war. On their return to Burma, she and Robert went up to Myitkyina for four years, where he was Chief Medical Officer. She gave an account of the 'wonderful, rewarding' time they had in the very primitive conditions of postwar Myitkyina, in Lines from a Shining Land (P 30).

Robert was later to become the first WHO-sponsored leprosy specialist and ran a very active clinic in Rangoon. Mavis taught piano and Upper Kindergarten at the Methodist English High School in Rangoon and played the organ at Rangoon Cathedral.

In 1962 Mavis left for England with her youngest child, the other three having already been sent to school in England. Robert joined them in 1964. Mavis became a member of the Britain Burma Society in that year and in 1979 she was invited to join the Council after being officially thanked for 'helping with meetings'. She continued to be active on the Council until the mid 1990s, and was always there to welcome members to meetings and collect the money. When ill health finally forced her to withdraw from the Council, she was voted an honorary member. Since then she continued to take an interest in the Society while living with her daughter Jennifer in the Algarve. Her four children - Jennifer, Jill, Robin and Sandy - were all there to say goodbye to her. They plan to hold a service to celebrate her life in London later this year (2009).