Christine Spray

Christine Spray was born in Grimsby in 1924 and remembers attending Victoria Street Primitive Methodist Church as a child, where her father was the organist and choirmaster.

Her early life was filled with music – she played the violin and competed in music competitions from an early age. As she recalls here, the family were dedicated and regular churchgoers.

1.     Church and Music 1.57’

Christine got a scholarship to Wintringham School in Grimsby and was one of a handful of girls who went on to study science in the Sixth Form. She continued her education at Bedford College for Women (part of the University of London) which had been evacuated to Cambridge during the war. After graduating, her first job was with the Department of Experimental Medicine in Cambridge.  In this extract, she describes her role under Professors McCance and Widdowson.

2.     Milking Mice 1.23’

Christine met her husband Bill towards the end of the war – he had been a conscientious objector. They met through a church group and got married in Wesley Church in Cambridge. In 1948 Bill got a teaching job at Marlborough College – the couple moved there and had two sons. In 1953 the family went to Nigeria as Methodist missionaries. Even though Paul and Christopher were very young, Christine recalls taking it all in her stride.

3.     Cargo Boat to Nigeria 2.07’

The Sprays spent five years in Nigeria before returning to Marlborough to have a daughter, Rachel. In 1970 Bill became head of a Quaker School in Reading called Leighton Park and in 1981 the couple retired. In later life they moved to Oxford and started attending Wesley Memorial with their son Paul. In this extract, Christine describes how she ‘came back to Methodism eventually’.

4.     Three disciplines 0.45’

Christine passed away very peacefully in the autumn of 2019, surrounded by her family.



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