FRANCES BACON was a philanthropist, hostess and fund-raiser with a rare gift for activating and befriending others, including writers, actors and scholars.
She was born Frances Bluestone, and was a milliner of 20 when she married David Bacon, a chartered accountant who later became a prominent businessman. She had already caught rheumatic fever which had weakened her health and she later had a pacemaker attached to her heart. But she was naturally sunny and outgoing, and her selflessness was fortified by reading Marcus Aurelius, whose philosophy of stoicism and self-sufficiency much influenced her. She threw all her energy and warmth into bringing up her two sons and embracing a wide circle of friends. 'I may not always like you' she once told her elder son, Stephen, 'but I always love you.'
After her younger son, Nicholas, developed a brain tumour she became more interested in charities, particularly Guy's Hospital, in London, where her own heart specialist, Edgar Sowton, was conducting research. Her interests extended to other charities including Barnardo's the Child Psychotherapy Unit, the National Children's Home, and particularly the Chicken Shed Theatre Company at Enfield.
After Nicholas died at the age of 16 she and her husband organised annual lectures in his memory, delivered by prominent speakers including Sir Claus Moser, Judge Stephen Tumim and (this November) Sir Percy Cradock.
She maintained immense energy and activity, telephoning, organising and bringing people together with natural enthusiasm. She believed in immediate action, to connect ideas with execution and her enthusiasm gave a momentum and purpose to many others, as well as to her devoted family, which will long outlive her.
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