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written by Rosi Todd

Ibiza has lost another of its colourful characters, with Ann Melrose, the second oldest of our English-speaking church’s family, but possibly the youngest at heart (!), making her final voyage, to be with our Lord, on August 10th, the day after her 95th birthday.

Ann was the widow of Dr Dennis Melrose, who developed, amongst other things, the heart-lung machine and the intensive care unit, and they set up home here in Ibiza in the mid-eighties, having lived previously in Hong Kong and England.

War Years

During the Second World War, after initially becoming a Land Girl and then working at Blenheim Palace, an offshoot of Bletchley, her love of adventure and challenge and her great courage were availed upon, when she was asked, by the Director General, if she would like to undertake training for “The Service”.

According to anecdote, her active service was terminated when her cover was blown, and she ended up working at a desk in the corridor outside Churchill’s office in the War Bunker at Admiralty Arch. Ann then became a news writer for the Allied Press Service.


After the war, she became a successful freelance scriptwriter, mainly for ITV, and then set up her own import/export business, trading mainly with countries behind the Iron Curtain, where she travelled extensively in her bright red Alfa Romeo sports car.

Ann was an accomplished and intrepid yachtswoman and, always up for a challenge, in her 60s she sailed across the Atlantic, from the UK to the US, with just one other crew member. In her 80s she drove on her own from Ibiza to the UK. Her life was certainly the stuff films are made of!


On the Wednesday after her death, her two sons, Simon and Angus, her carers and several other good friends gathered at the crematorium to say goodbye to her and, the next day, a service of thanksgiving for her life was held, followed by lunch, at Sarah Milburn’s home.

At both the cremation and the thanksgiving service, I read out “The Ship”, which fits Ann better than anyone else I know. It’s so sad that we are no longer able to enjoy her company here, but wonderful to know that we WILL get to see her smiling face again, in that “safe harbour” where she is now “moored”.


Annabelle Purnell

Ann was such a lovely lady and I really loved being with her and listening to her speak. There was a wonderful eloquence, an innate intelligence and her speaking voice was so clear; one could tell she was a wordsmith. She had such an amazing life, from the very beginning & all of her memories were just so rich, varied, and exciting. Always full of vitality, Anne was a very kind and friendly woman. She knew so many people and had so many connections, and I loved the way that nothing seemed to get in her way. She was really full of vigour and life and kindness, and, during the precious time we spent together, I really loved listening to her stories and hearing about what she’d been up to, the places that she’d been, her life as a child, her time in Africa and what happened to her family, and how she wanted to help others who might have had similar family situations; and that’s what she said about writing her book. Her love of sailing and how she started sailing was, as ever, an adventure.

I was very honoured to have spent time with Ann and I’m sending my deepest sympathies to the family and all who knew her.

Bob “the ex-vicar” & Clare Short

Ann was one of that generation which can be described as “they no longer make them like that”! She was valiant and courageous and I would have loved to have known more about her work during World War II but she was unable to tell us.

She was a loyal member of the Ibiza church over the years and she especially liked taking part on Remembrance Day. She had an uncomplicated and straight forward faith and trust in the Lord which she developed over her life. She had a tremendous sense of adventure and, when she was no longer able to contemplate crossing the Atlantic in a yacht, then she took up the challenge of driving to the UK from Ibiza in her 80s and on her own. Nothing daunted her.

She was a very interesting lady to talk to, sometimes feisty in things she said but not in a gossipy way (at least not with us)! We had many a meal with her on Sundays after church in Santa Eulalia where she insisted on treating us to Sunday lunch in one of the local “pubs” or Spanish bars. We were so sorry not to be able to pay our last respects, but we drank a cup of tea in her memory from two little porcelain tea-cups with saucers which she gave to us!

The Ship

by Charles Henry Brent

What is dying?

I am standing on the seashore.

A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze

and starts for the blue ocean.

She is an object of beauty and strength and I stand and watch her

until at length she hangs like a speck of white cloud

just where the sea and sky come down to mingle

with each other.

Then someone at my side says: ‘There! She’s gone.’

Gone where? Gone from my sight that is all.

She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as she

was when she left my side,

and just as able to bear her load of living

freight to the place of destination.

Her diminished size is in me, not in her;

and just at the moment when someone at my side says:

‘There! She’s gone,’

there are others watching her coming,

and voices ready to take up the glad shout

‘There she comes!’

And that is dying.


Ann Melrose

09.08.1922 to 10.08.2017

Rest in Peace



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