My mother was born in London within the sound of the Bow bells on July 10th 1937.
The Second World War made a deep impression on her early years and she had a treasury of stories from those days.
Her mother Inge was German but she received no prejudice and was embraced by the close knit community of neighbours during those dark days of the blitz while her Father Peter was away in the RAF.
After leaving school she worked in London with her Father for a time and then got a job at Leaveston Hospital in Abbots Langley.
Around that time she helped to found a charity which ran events to raise money to help support children’s education in poorer communities in Zimbabwe Africa. She was in regular correspondence with the children and their families and teachers for many years. She loved to knit, sew and crochet and would make clothes and toys for them. She even began to learn the Shona language native to the region.
In time, the family moved to small village in West Sussex with their beloved boxer dogs. The garden needed a lot of work and she took on the challenge of landscaping it herself. She enjoyed this so much she decided to apply for a job at a local plant nursery ‘Goachers’. Much to her surprise and delight, they took her on and this is where she met her future husband John, in the potting shed. The moment she laid eyes on him, she would tell us, she said in her heart, ‘please God, if it be your will, that is the man I will marry.’
My Dad said to her one day, with his usual humour, I’ll take you to a dinner dance for three bags of apples from your orchard if you like. She said yes. They were married two years later.
Tragically, their first little son whom they named Joseph but called Joe, was stillborn. They were in their forties and assumed they would never have children but not long after I came along and we became of family of four including Christa the boxer dog.
My mother was older than most in years but young in heart. She used to do so many lovely things with me when I was little; baking fairy cakes, cutting up pictures in magazines to make collages and reading Enid Blyton story books to me at bedtime, but my favourite as a little child was packing up a picnic and going down to the stream by the woods where I would play imaginary games for hours by her side.
She loved simply sitting in her favourite place, the garden with a cigarette and a coffee and maybe some chocolate too. She also loved going out for tea and cake. The photo of her on the back of the booklet is from Wiston post office and tea rooms in West Sussex, a place she would spend many happy Sunday afternoons. My mother loved simple things best.
She helped care for her parents who lived round the corner from us for a number of years after they became ill and infirm. She also cared for my Father when he was ill and me through some difficult times during my teenage years. I will never forget her strength and love during these times.
When I was 18 I unexpectedly became pregnant. She was the first to hold my baby daughter and helped me immensely during that time.
Emmy will remember her baking hedgehog bread with her and playing with all Gypsy and Tinkerbell’s puppies and kittens.
We moved to Lincolnshire in 2000. I met Tani and we married in 2003.
Soon she became a Granny to 5 girls and two great grandsons.The children were her delight and joy. Although her health became frail she loved to watch them play around her and encourage their latest plays and music pieces.
My mother was gentle spirited but strong. During her illness, she rarely showed any discomfort or distress, and in fact, often made us and her carers laugh with her mischievous sense of humour.
My mother had a quietly devout and childlike faith in Jesus. He was her friend throughout her life and He was her strength in times of hardship.
The last three years of her life were spent mainly in bed due to her health but her faith gave her a peace beyond all understanding and a peace the world cannot give. During this time she would pray for people she new who were struggling and suffering in any way and even people on the news such as the earthquake victims in Turkey and the children in Ukraine. This gave her a deep sense of meaning and purpose.
The evening before she died the girls sang her favourite songs and hymns around her bedside. On July 13th, three days after her 86th birthday, her soul passed peacefully from this world to the next, her Emmy holding one hand, me holding the other and the heavenly angels guiding her steps just as they did throughout her life.