Ailie Worster obituary | Media

My mother, Ailie Worster, who has died aged 86, was briefly a BBC announcer and then a secretary in the advertising world before moving into the full-time job of bringing up her four children.

Though never professionally trained, she was also a dressmaker, an upholsterer and an interior designer; she was also skilled at knitting, needlepoint and tapestry. Creative, kind, funny and frugal, she was a believer in the William Morris theory that you should “have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful”.

As her children grew older she studied literature and art history for fun, joined the Arts Society, volunteered at the Victoria & Albert museum, rode horses, and, most importantly, spent much of her time singing, first with the Bach Choir in London and latterly with the Highgate Choral Society. She toured the world with both choirs and sang at the wedding of the Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer in 1981.

Ailie was born in Belsize Park, north London, to Jessica Finley, a 16-year-old single parent from a farming family, and was adopted by Ivor Tyler, a BBC broadcaster, who went by the professional name of Peter Watson, and his wife, Mary (nee Wands).

Ailie went to Long Dene boarding school, Kent, and then found work as a continuity announcer at the BBC, introducing children’s programmes such as Muffin the Mule. She was also on a panel of hosts for a popular radio show for families called The Younger Generation. However, when Ivor died in the early 1950s, she gave up that line of work so she could live for a time with her adoptive mother in Haslemere, Surrey.

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Later, in the swinging 60s, Ailie swapped her leafy existence in Surrey for life in London with her new advertising executive husband, Alec Worster, whom she married in 1959. She became a secretary at the Ogilvy & Mather advertising agency until she left in order to bring up their four young girls.

Alec died in 2007 and later Ailie met Don Draper by chance on the platform at Axminster station in Devon. They travelled to London together in what they jokingly called “a brief encounter”, and married in 2009.

Ailie was glamorous and always immaculately dressed, but her beauty went much deeper than that. She glowed with an energy that never left her, and had a constant thirst for learning and creativity.

She is survived by Don, her children from her first marriage, Alison, Emma, Celia and me, and 10 grandchildren.



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