Date added: 21 Nov 2017
Firstly, to my dad, who was tragically killed on his push bike in a road traffic accident on 26th January 2011. My dad was an amazing man. I know that most children would say “my dad’s the greatest”, but ours truly was. He was the kindest, the gentlest, the loveliest, the friendliest and definitely the cleverest of them all. He could name any bird, any animal and any tree. He would often despair of my lack of historical or general knowledge, however I could occasionally catch him out on science, and he definitely never made it into the digital age. He was a man who truly believed that knowledge was fundamental to life. No question was ever left unanswered. If you asked him anything at all, he would either know the answer straight away or if he didn’t know instantly he would go to great lengths to find out, never giving up until the problem had been solved and all of this without ever resorting to Google!
He was always there to help, whether it was mending a child’s bike or helping with the church fete or charity collections or even just listening and talking, putting the world to right over a good cup of coffee and maybe a cake? Nothing was ever too much trouble for my dad. I’ve known him carefully carry home a wild blackberry while out on a ramble, just because he knew my friend would like it or at times spend hours painstakingly proof reading my work well into the night, as yet again I had left everything to the last minute.
He was so very proud of all our achievements however great or small and we are so very proud of him. One of my closest friends told me just after his death, that she thought that my dad had found the secret of true happiness; gently and unassumingly going through life, being a friend to all, always helping and caring, taking time to talk and to listen, never really worrying about the what ifs. Just slowly and devotedly going through life with unconditional kindness and compassion.
He was many things to many people but to my mum, he was her beloved Colin, her husband and her best friend.
To me he was simply my hero.
Heartbreakingly, only four short years after losing Dad, my mum also sadly suddenly died.
Mum had lost her soul mate, just one year before their Golden Wedding Anniversary, but somehow had found the courage to carry on and her strength and determination was truly amazing. Her ability to smile despite constant physical pain and emotional loss was a true inspiration. Although losing her so suddenly was incredibly hard to bear, knowing that my mum can now walk pain free, hand-in-hand, reunited with her Colin / our Dad, is a huge comfort.
People may remember my mum as a young woman bringing up a family, or as a colleague working hard to build a home, or as a treasured friend always ready to listen over a cup of tea. But to her family she was everything, daughter, sister, wife, mother, nanna, best friend, but most of all to me, she was my little Munchkin – small, strong, independent, loyal, proud, precious and beautiful inside and out.
You couldn’t ask for a better mum. She was always there to guide you, listen to you and pick you up when your world fell apart. She had an unquestioning belief that everything would be okay and her belief in you ultimately made you believe in yourself. She was also proud of what we achieved but mostly we were so very proud of her. She never complained, she just kept going and when life was giving her challenge after challenge, she just put on that most wonderful smile and got on with it.
As a nanna, you would witness her endless love; she adored and cherished every painting, every football match, and every school play. The days in the park, at the zoo, feeding the ducks or just playing in the garden. Holidays together were always great fun thanks to her joy of life and a true sense of adventure.
She loved to visit new places and would always be happy if the visit included a beautiful garden and more importantly a well-stocked tea-shop. No Sunday was complete without a visit to a National Trust Garden and the compulsory afternoon tea! And even when the legs were less than willing, equipped with her trusty scooter, no hill, forest, beach or even cliff-side was considered off limits!
I have no doubt that it was her sheer determination and wonderful smile that made her fantastic friends and neighbours always happy to help her, as times got evermore challenging. Her engaging personality captured the hearts of everyone she met and in return for her tremendous effort she got unwavering support, kindness and friendship which she returned by the bucket load.
The world is a sadder and lonelier place without my beautiful mum, her wonderful smile, her infectious laugh and her sheer determination for life. But we carry her in our hearts forever so when we smile, she will smile with us and light up our world once more.
She will always be my beautiful little Munchkin - Forever and always.
Dad had been a fundraiser for Barnardo’s for very many years, ever since I volunteered him to deliver and collect donation envelopes in and around Burwell, the village where I grew up. Barnardo’s was my school’s chosen charity so when I took the call asking for volunteers I naturally agreed on his behalf! However, always the trooper, dad took on the role and kept going right up until his death. It was therefore the obvious choice for donations in lieu of flowers at his funeral. Little did I realise then the huge payback I would have of giving to such a fantastic charity. Barnardo’s charity holds a very special place in our family’s heart. In our saddest and darkest times, the support of the Will’s and Legacies team helped us through. By setting up a Tribute Fund, the memory of two wonderful parents lives on. We were so lucky to have had the unconditional love of two fantastic parents. The type of unconditional love that makes you do slightly crazy things for Barnardo’s, like cycling to Paris or walking the Cornish coastline!
Mum and Dad’s tribute fund lets us carry their memory forward allowing us the opportunity to thank Barnardo’s for their kindness and support. Watching the fund grow so that it can contribute to the marvellous work the charity does is the best legacy that any child can have. If Barnardo’s help to disadvantaged children, can provide a millionth of the support I had from my mum and dad, what more can we ask?
Thank you Barnardo’s for everything you do.