A NURSE who became a prolific writer of letters to the Oxford Mail in later life has died aged 87.

Mary Stiff, of The Slade, Oxford, used to erect and dismantle iron lungs that helped patients suffering with tuberculosis.

In later life she began writing letters to this paper that covered subjects from the English language to life on a farm.

Mrs Stiff was born in Farmington, in Gloucestershire, on April 24, 1930, to parents Bertie and Gladys Rigsby.

The family moved to the Oranges farm in Sherborne where she grew up and attended the village school, before attending Westwood's Grammar School in Northleach.

At 13, as a result of a delayed nurse and under her mother's instruction, Mrs Stiff brought her sister Meg into the world.

In 1948 Mary started her nursing train at Cosham Memorial Hospital at Kingswood, Bristol, where she met her husband Ivor, who was a porter at the time.

The pair had a son, Allan, and eventually the family moved to Buckingham Street in Oxford, where Bill was born, before moving to a caravan in Drayton and then to Corunna Crescent in Cowley in 1957, after which the couple had more children: Diane, Mick and twins, Anne and Paul.

This would be home until Mrs Stiff moved to a small bungalow in Stubbs Avenue, The Slade, in 2015.

Her husband, Ivor passed away in the summer of 1988, aged 65. Allan, their eldest son, passed away in 1997, age 45, and Paul, one of the twins, accidentally drowned in 1963, age two, while on holiday.

Mrs Stiff got a job at Eastfield House a new residential home in Cowley for adults with learning disabilities in 1968. She eventually became deputy manager and retired aged 62.

She was a prolific writer to the Oxford Mail and her letters covered a wide range of topics.

The letters of Mrs Stiff covered the closure of Witney’s Post Office, Old Gloucester sayings, ‘how to use our beautiful English language’, a lack of interest in St George’s Day, workmen not being proud of their work (hedging and stone-walling), praise for readers’ photos and the ‘good old days’ of nursing.

She is survived by her children Bill, Sue, Diane, Mick and Anne, 10 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren