26 Jan 1931 - 22 Sep 2017
Date added: 15 Nov 2017
My Mum was born Constance Ellen Fielder on 26th January 1931 at 3 Medlake Road, Egham, to Irene Maud and William Alfred Fielder. A few years later, her brother David William was born and Mum admitted to being jealous of the new arrival! During their childhood he caused Mum various injuries. The ones that come to mind are hitting her head on the corner of the Morrison shelter and throwing a parachute with a lead weight that hit her on her head when it failed to open! Despite these early setbacks they had a very close relationship throughout their adult lives.
As a young girl Mum caught scarlet fever and I can remember her telling me about how she was taken from home in an ambulance with the bell ringing and quarantined away from her family. Even her doll had to be burned. When she could leave hospital, she convalesced with her Auntie Nellie and Uncle Tom.
Mum spent her formative years in Egham and Thorpe and went to school in Egham Hythe. Another thing I can remember her telling me is about the time the family lived on a pig farm and she had a pet pig that she pushed around in a pram and fed chocolate! Apparently, the pig disappeared one day and Mum never did find out what happened to it…
As a teenager Mum was introduced to my Dad Albert Arthur Reed, known as Ding. Her father used to bring him home and she used to complain that he always visited when she was having her dinner. However, Dad won her over and they became a couple. Mum told him they were getting engaged and, on 25th October 1952, they were married at St Paul’s Church in Egham Hythe. Shortly after that, Dad went to work in Aden so he could earn the money to buy a house. While he was swimming in the Red Sea he lost his wedding ring, which they never replaced.
When Dad returned from Aden, they bought a house in Ash Grove in Staines. Mum and Dad often went out for trips on their motorbike, enjoying scrambling meetings and motorcycle racing with friends and family. Mum enjoyed pottering in her garden while Dad had his head under the bonnet of a car. They enjoyed spending time with many nieces and nephews.
Mum worked as a seamstress making dresses, mattresses, sails, sou westers, curtains – you name it, she could sew it. I can remember her telling me about working at Heads in Egham and Timsway in Staines.
In 1975, I came along. By this time Mum and Dad had been married 23 years. Mum gave up work to look after me, planning to return when I started school. Sadly, this wasn’t to be as in 1979 Dad was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Mum became his full-time carer until he passed away in 1999. While Dad was ill Mum decided to learn to drive and passed her test at the second time of asking when she was 57.
After Dad passed away, Mum continued to live in their home at Ash Grove, firstly with me and then on her own with her beloved animals. She had cats and dogs and loved her budgies in the aviary at the end of the garden and the fish in the pond. She cared for various friends and neighbours and loved helping people. Nothing was too much trouble.
Mum was a generous person and often donated to charity, her favourites being animal charities. She enjoyed collecting ornaments for her home and garden, her favourites being poppies, pigs and cats. She loved animals, especially waifs and strays. The best example of this was when I was adopted by a stray cat that I couldn’t keep. Mum took William in without a thought and gave him a loving home for his last few months. After being asked why she didn’t have grandchildren, Mum said she would call my cat, Harry, her grandson and fail to mention that he has four legs, fur and a tail!
Mum was very happy when I married my husband David in September 2012 after nearly 15 years together. She loved David and I think it was a shock as I don’t think she thought she’d ever see us get married! The pictures of her taken on our wedding day are some of my favourites of her.
When I was growing up we had an Old English Sheepdog called Jasper and I can still remember when Mum decided to give him a haircut! He was followed by Cindy and, after her, Blaze. As well as the dogs there was Tiddlywinks, Lucky, Sooty and Rosie the cats, all completely spoiled! Mum’s constant companion in recent years was George, a beautiful black panther of a cat. George and Mum were devoted to each other.
What else can I say about my Mum? She was kind, caring, loving, funny, generous, soft and sentimental. She cared for everyone but I don’t think she realised how many people cared for her. She was the best Mum I could have asked for and I miss her more than words can say.
Sleep well Mum, I’ll love you forever and I’m proud to be your daughter.