On Friday August 20th 2021 – The 100th birthday of a very special lady, Gladys Ottewell.
Daughter and president of the Church Averil Parsons has written a special tribute ……
Gladys is no stranger to the SAGB, having helped out on the healing reception desk during the time her husband Keith was a healer at Belgrave Square. Keith was an outstanding healer, as is Gladys, and they spent many years together devoted to the healing movement and to the Hythe Christian Spiritualist Church which they founded in 1965.
Gladys’ mother had years before sat with Helen Duncan and witnessed the materialisation of her sister-in-law and they had been able to talk to each other. The evidence of survival from the sitting was irrefutable and this encouraged Keith and Gladys to delve deeper into Spiritualism and Spiritual Healing. Before this Keith had been sceptical. The wonderful medium Doris Collins told him he would open a Spiritualist church one day and become a healer and a medium himself. He said no to her that would not happen. A few years later he wrote a letter of apology. Everything she had said came true!
Later as secretary of the Kent Healers Association Keith, with the help of Gladys, organised many successful healing demonstrations in halls and churches around the county. These places would be packed with folk keen to watch famous healers such as Harry Edwards and Gordon Turner at work. Miraculous healings plus notable improvements were indeed seen on these occasions!
Gordon Turner loved coming down to Hythe at weekends and became a close friend of the family. Gladys and Keith continued their quest to advance their adventure into Spiritualism meeting with many of the great mediums of the time including David Young, who often came to stay, Gordon Higginson and Glyn Edwards and Leslie Flint. Both Gladys and Keith became devoted to the philosophy of Spiritualism and sought to learn as much as possible of the wonderful teachings. Both Keith and Gladys became Samaritans and did much charity work for numerous causes.
Other interesting connections with the SAGB – Keith and Gladys encouraged a young Yorkshire medium, who had come to live in Kent, to apply to work at the SAGB, this was Terry Tasker!
Also through playing bridge they became friends with Betty, whose late husband David Bedbrook, had been a stalwart of the SAGB, and were great friends of Spiritualists Lord and Lady Dowding. Betty was an amazing character who had helped Lady Dowding set up the Beauty Without Cruelty organisation and she later worked in Keith and Gladys’s boutique for many years.
Gladys now widowed is a very spiritual lady who still enjoys being involved with the church and shop activities and often listens to the church services and SAGB services on Zoom. She will always have a soft spot for the very special SAGB and of course for the wonderful church she and Keith founded which has brought so much hope, healing and joy to countless thousands of people over the years.