Life Tributes

When we pass, we are not forgotten. Those left behind often ‘write form the heart’ lending us some insight into their loved one’s life. Celebrate here with their touching, true stories.

Speech of praise (Eulogy) Paul’s mum

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When Paul  sat down at the time to write something for his mum, he found that he didn’t need to think of anything.

The words just came out,  they were written from the heart. A loving tribute of praise for his mum.

“I was sitting drinking tea with Mum in her kitchen a few weeks back when the conversation turned to ‘the old days’. We were talking about life during the war when she lived and worked in London and she told me an amusing story.

She was sixteen at the time and was hurrying home from work during the blackout in WWII. As well as the lack of lights it was a cloudy night so she couldn’t see very well. She cut down a narrow side road between buildings in the dark when suddenly she felt a bang and was sent sprawling. She opened her eyes and dimly saw a long and rather bemused face peering down at her. It turned out that she had run straight into a horse coming the other way!

We had a laugh about it but it just shows that despite all the hardships and dangers that she went through at the time it was an amusing incident that she chose to tell me about. Never one to harp on about troubles she always preferred to think of brighter things.

Mum must have gone through some pretty tough times back then and in the years that followed. Despite or maybe because of all that she grew into the sort of person who wished only the best in happiness and comfort for those she knew and loved. I think back to the sacrifices that she and Dad made in order to give us a good home.

Deep down she was tough, but was one of the kindest ladies you could wish to meet.

As it says in the book of Judges (and on the Lyles Golden Syrup tin):-

“Out of the strong came forth sweetness”.

I think that pretty much sums her up.

I looked at her in her chair last week and it was hard to visualise all she had been through in her life. A life for which she will be remembered fondly by many people. It was a long life and very busy life, but she was tired and it was time to sleep.

Rest in peace Mum, you deserve it…

Speech of Praise (Eulogies)

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A Tribute

Joan Violet Roberts

Born 06.11.1928 – Passed 01.05.2005

Aged 76 years old

Dearly loved never forgotten
Joan was born in London. She met her husband to be, Robb, when she went to
the pictures with some friends. The cinema manager, a sharp-suited young
man, caught her eye. ‘See that man,’ she told her friends. ‘I’m going to
marry him.’ And she did.

Robb was a ‘gentle giant’, according to his family. Six foot two, smart and
clean, with bryl-creamed hair, a quiet man, like the hero of the John Wayne
film Joan enjoyed. Another favourite was ‘Singing in the Rain’, because Gene
Kelly reminded her of her dad, but neither John nor Gene could hold a candle
to Joan’s real hero – Mickey Mouse. She loved Mickey, and William says she’d
have loved to be in a cartoon herself. I wonder what Minnie would have said
about that. Joan and Mickey were the same age. He made his debut in Disney’s
cartoon ‘Plane Crazy’ in May 1928. She went to Disneyland five times,
(becoming ‘notorious’, the family says, among the staff there) and even made the transatlantic journey twice on her own so she could join the Brewers for another Mickey Holiday – a dream come true.
In 1962, Joan and Robb took their family of four – Ann, Zena, Janet and Karen
– to Australia as ‘£10 Pommies’. It was brave thing to do. They didn’t know
anyone down there, but were prepared to make a fresh start. After only four
years they returned, having been sent the fare by the family, when Joan’s Grandfather was dying. Robb had been made redundant so they didn’t go back. Instead, they came to Felixstowe, where Joan’s family had settled, and she’s been here in Suffolk ever since.

Joan was a magpie. She loved jumble sales and auctions, and generally
brought something home whenever she went to one. When her collection of
bric-a-brac got too big for comfort, she started selling it. She especially
liked beads and jewellery, and was quite astute about the value of everything. She
went around all the antiques fairs with her stall, and thoroughly enjoyed
herself. If anyone in the family needed anything from an auction, Joan would
be delighted to go and bid for them.

Robb died in 1988. Joan had a letter of condolence from John Gummer, her MP,
who’d known Robb and described him as ‘a good, kind man.’ Soon afterwards,
Sophie was born, weighing no more than a bag of sugar. Like everyone else,
Joan worried that the tiny scrap wouldn’t make it. In a little while, we’ll
hear the song by Phil Collins, ‘Two Hearts’. It had special significance for
Joan because she felt that Robb was willing his little granddaughter to live,
that his heart was helping hers to beat more strongly. Sophie was very
special to her grandmother. Joan called Sophie ‘Soppy Lugs’, ‘Bugger Lugs’,
and ‘Half Pint’.

She took William into Ipswich when he was young, after his granddad died,
and they’d go to McDonalds. They went to the Suffolk Show when it was
raining hard, and she queued so that he could have a fireman’s hat. Then
there was the nappy incident – having so much fun that she forgot to change
it. He remembers her saying, ‘Oi! Frank, can you hear me?’, calling for a taxi on the phone,

and spending Christmas with her, and visiting ‘the USA lot’. He remembers that he and
Sophie would stay over, playing I-Spy before they went to sleep.

Joan took William and Sophie to the Regal in the summer holidays and they’d
have fish and chips afterwards. When he was home from university for the weekend,
William enjoyed going to see his grandmother with Sophie and having a
Chinese. The Saturday take-away ritual with Sophie involved sending a taxi
driver to collect the meal Joan had ordered. It usually included some spare
ribs. All the local taxi drivers knew her.

Then there were the school fêtes and the lucky dips – she made hundreds so
that she could contribute to the school funds. Joan was always keen to
support good causes, which included Cancer Research, Childline and the
Multiple Sclerosis Society. She gave a proportion of her income from the
bric-a-brac stall to charity.

Late in life, Joan learnt to swim at Felixstowe Leisure Centre in classes
for those with restricted mobility. It had great therapeutic value but, just
as importantly, it was fun. It was also another opportunity to fund-raise;
she took her time across the pool, but every stroke meant money. The family,
the Kings and the Brewers , joined her in the pool, and she loved it.

William says that Joan always looked forward and never back – just look at
the wheelchair scratches on the walls! She could swear like a trooper, but
it was funny and made you laugh, and was always bright and cheerful. She was
never really old, but her body let her down. Arthritis and osteoporosis
gradually restricted her movement. She felt liberated when she moved out of
Waveney Road into Margery Girling House, where she soon became established
as a well-loved character. Joan moved in January 2001, and met the
Duchess of Gloucester at the official opening ceremony in June that same
year. They had their photograph taken together. Joan enjoyed the best of
both worlds at Margery Girling House; she had all the support she needed,
when she needed it, she was surrounded by friends, but she also had the
option of closing her front door and enjoying her privacy, which meant a lot
to her. She appreciated all her carers, but Sarah and Sonia were closest to
her. All the carers knew that when they needed a break late at night after
visiting one of her neighbours they’d be welcome at Joan’s place. She kept a
bowl of sweeties for them to dip into.

The last time Joan and her family was all together was on her seventieth
birthday. They planned a secret get-together at the Shepherd & Dog. She was
thrilled to discover they were all there, including her grandchildren. Joan
was very proud of all her grandchildren.

Janet wrote a poem for her mum.

(Read by Janet’s poem)

Mothers Day

I remember I painted your picture once

With a bright pink face and blue dress

and you said you loved it

I remember you made my costume for the school play

It was glittery and had a net skirt

and you said I was very good

I remember we went to see the Osmond’s together

We went by train to London

and you said you wouldn’t have missed it for the world

I remember how you’ve held my babies in your arms

Both big and small … and how you’ve helped look after them

and you said, you don’t mind one little bit

and I remember, I may not always say thank you’s and I love you’s

but don’t you ever, ever, forget

On this mother’s day, HAPPY MOTHERS DAYS

I send my love

A life lost. A tragedy for those she leaves behind. But happy memories do

live on and her sweet natured spirit is within us all.