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Lois Battersbee-Ward (1926-2018)

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Keen designer: Lois Battersbee-Ward made costumes (Photograph supplied)

One of Bermuda’s first majorettes has been remembered as a trailblazing dancer and talented fashion designer.

Family and friends paid tribute to Lois Battersbee-Ward, who died last week in Los Angeles, California, at the age of 91.

Keith Battersbee, her brother, said: “She was a trailblazer. She liked to dance and she was instrumental in anything in the liberal arts.”

Ms Battersbee-Ward was one of the first majorettes in the Bermuda Easter Parade and performed in hotels across the country with her dance troupe.

She also sang in island nightclubs and performed in the play Bottle in the Boat at the Colonial Opera House.

Mr Battersbee said: “Lois was a very outgoing person. She was very jokey and she enjoyed a good time.

“She also loved fashion and she liked things to look nice. She did a lot of dressmaking for herself and her friends.”

Mr Battersbee said the seamstress, who was a devoted mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, worked for former department store Trimingham’s.

He added his sister was instrumental in making many of the wedding dresses for Bermuda’s “rich and famous”, while she also designed the outfits for her fellow majorettes, including boots.

He added: “My brother told me it was amazing because they made most of the shoes out of cardboard.”

Ms Battersbee-Ward also spent time in Paris to further her career as a fashion designer.

She also belonged to a variety of social clubs in Bermuda.

Born in Bermuda to parents Basil and Amelia Battersbee in 1926, Ms Battersbee-Ward attended Northlands Primary School, Central School and the Berkeley Institute, where she cultivated her love of fashion.

She married American Donald Lee Ward, who served in the US Air Force, and in November 1952 the couple moved to Washington DC before later settling in California.

Mr Battersbee said his sister, a mother of three, continued to work as a seamstress after she left Bermuda and worked for Harrods for more than 20 years.

Ms Battersbee-Ward also loved her church and made sure her children and grandchildren attended.

She joined the Church of Advent in 1957 and was a member for more than 50 years.

She served on the Hospitality Committee, Altar Guild, Women of Advent and was a lay Eucharistic minster.

At the end of her life, she was a member of St John’s Cathedral in Los Angeles.

Time in France: fashion lover furthered career in France (Photograph supplied)