A beloved resident of Hermanus for more than 20 years, Pat van Schoor passed away on 11 October at the age of 83 years. Pat was a woman of many talents, but I reckon her stand-out gift was her ability to spark friendships between strangers.

Pat taught most of Hermanus to play bridge. She had bridge schools a couple of days a week and arranged annual Bridge Drives for charity. She was tireless in her efforts to lend a helping hand to her community by volunteering for several charities, including Overstrand Hospice, Hermanus Child Welfare and SANTA, which she served as chairperson for 10 years.

As a volunteer of the Hermanus Botanical Society she could often be found working in the kitchen at their annual Flower Show. She also started a woman’s club called Quest in 2003, arranging interesting speakers each month and various outings to places of interest in our beautiful region.

Described by Sue Holmes, the current chairperson of SANTA, as “a Duracell Bunny”, Pat was known as “a wonderful hostess who could get a dinner party going in no time – always with great food, wine and, above all, laughter”.

Pat was always very active and her other interests (where did she find the time and energy?) included hiking, birding and book clubs.

During her school days at Rustenburg Girls High School, Pat had excellent role models in her parents. Her father, Buck Ryan, was the Head of English at Rondebosch Boys, whilst her mother produced plays and was involved in community work.

She met John van Schoor when she was 18 years old and married him in 1959. They were married for 51 years until John’s untimely passing in 2010. He was a peacemaker with a dry sense of humour and very active in his retirement years – playing tennis twice a week and golf four times a week.

During his career with Standard Bank, John was transferred 19 times and they lived in places as diverse as London and Kokstad. Pat was a devoted mother to four children and four grandchildren.

When I once asked Pat what motivated her to live such a full, energetic life – one that has enriched the lives of so many in Hermanus – she said: “Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out and proclaiming, Wow, what a ride!”

Pat, we salute you and thank you for all the hard work you did for our community. You were truly inspirational

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