Peter Foley was born in 1923, baptised at SS. Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Church (built 1898-1899), Ilford High Road, and sadly passed away, after a short battle with bowel and liver cancer, on Wednesday 20 January 2010, aged 86. His funeral took place at SS. Peter and Paul’s on Friday 29 January at 11am. Peter was a quietly spoken, kind, modest, civilised man with deep religious beliefs and a wry sense of humour. I once remember him dropping into a conversation that his father was a member of the IRA. He then mischievously added, with a chuckle and a glint in his penetrating bright blue eyes, “the Ilford Ratepayers Association”. Peter was never afraid to stand up for his beliefs and his sometimes sharp letters to the local newspapers occasionally belied his sweet nature.
Peter’s father was Frederick Eugene Foley, a stock broker’s clerk, who was born in Bow, Middlesex in 1881. His mother was Roselyne E.M. Hazeldeane who was also born in Bow in 1881. Peter’s parents married in 1906. At the time of the 1911 census they were living at 44, Ripley Road, Seven Kings, with three of Peter’s older siblings, Eileen aged 3, Terence aged 2 and ten month old Brian Foley. Brian Charles Foley (25 May 1910 - 23 December 1999) entered the priesthood and became the Roman Catholic Bishop of Lancaster 1962-1985. Peter Foley, who latterly lived in Aberdour Road, Goodmayes, worked in insurance and later in decorating. He is survived by his daughter Gill and son Michael. At the requiem mass funeral service, led by parish priest Father Tom Lavin, Peter’s grandchildren Eloise, Naomi, James, Emily Niall and daughter-in-law Avril read the bidding.
In the 1980s Peter led a campaign to revive Ilford Football Club, securing it a new home and facilities. He was also a great supporter of South Park which opened in 1902. He was a founder member of the Friends of Valence House. Members of the Barking and District Historical Society probably know Peter best for his tremendous contribution to the local history of the area. He was a prolific author and poet. Many of his booklets, which he often self published, are listed in the table below. He produced the History of SS Peter and Paul’s Church for their 100 anniversary. Peter also gave regular talks on churches and the Ilford Hospital Chapel and led coach outings to the Rodings and walks around St. Margaret’s church and Abbey grounds.