Mary passed away peacefully on 4th July 2021 aged 75 years. She will be sadly missed by all her family and friends.
A tribute to my Mum
Led by Simon Attfield
I’m going to keep this short. Mum wasn’t ever comfortable with big displays of emotion, so it wasn’t a surprise a few weeks ago when mum wasn’t well and in hospital, when my sister, Sharon, went to leave she said “I love you Mum”. Mum’s terse response was to say don’t be so silly.
Even if I did want to go on, Mum made sure I couldn’t by selecting Bohemian rhapsody as the exit song.
But I can’t NOT take this opportunity to express to you the love and support that I have always felt, Mum never looked to direct us kids in our choices, she left it up to us to discover our own way, even allowing my sister to dye my hair bright red when I was 14.
But she was always there to support us in whatever we wanted to pursue, never giving an opinion if it was the right or wrong but always there to support us when we needed it.
I remember when I would worry about my kids not doing enough work at school or revising or not choosing the right subjects to take. She would tell me not to worry they were strong sensible kids and whatever they chose they would come good. I believe this is how she was with us.
Her willingness to support extends to the rest of the family and her friends, at times resulting in the adoption of new cats or having a caravan in the back garden for Moira & Les to make a home. The words in a sympathy card from Leslie an old colleague of Mum’s I think demonstrate it well, she wrote “it has been a privilege to know Mary, she inspired me to learn to drive and give up smoking, two things that have been a great benefit in my life” she also mentions my mum’s sense of humour but I’ll get to that in a second.
Therefore, it was not a surprise to me that as her COPD evolved that she would become an active member of Breath easy, a support group for those suffering with COPD, to be there for others coping with this illness and until her last months it was an important part of her life.
My Uncle Pat nicknamed my Mum “gibber” as she was always talking and throughout Mum’s working life the job’s she chose seamed to enable her to chat, while working in restaurants and bars chatting was easy. Even when she was the bookkeeper and manager of petrol stations. I always felt she spent more time out the front of petrol station chatting to customers than in the office. Mum had a great sense of humour and all conversations would include a chuckle, she even won Miss Black Label at Butlin’s I’m not sure whether it was her good looks that won it or that she picked up the compere and carried him across the stage.
Even now I believe she will be catching up and having a laugh with her Mum and dad and Auntie Noreen and Uncle Pat.
Religion played a strong part in my mum’s life, although she was not what I would call a practicing catholic, her catholic upbringing had a strong influence.
She ensured that all us kids regularly attended Sunday school in the chapel at Alfold. Over the years, Mum only ever asked one thing of me, that my daughter Elizabeth was christened, she said it wasn’t that she believed God wouldn’t except a baby into Heaven if something happened and they hadn’t been christened, but just in case.
On retirement she gained a passion for antiques, especially Radley bags. Clare, my wife, always looked forward to her Christmas present from Mum as she would always include some small antique trinket.
This passion led her to new friends and when it came to leave our family home in Loxwood, when it was beginning to be hard to live there due to her illness, Mum and dad moved towards the coast to be nearer those friends.
I always thought mum was just being a good catholic when she had all us kids at an early age, but actually what she wanted was to have her kids young so she got to watch her children grow up. Mum wasn’t so lucky, with her own parents and her brother Pat, all passing away before she was 30.
My sister, brothers and I all appreciate that decision that while she got to see us grow, see her grandchildren grow and her great grandchildren; we got to have her as a loving mother for so many years, and for that I will count myself lucky and be forever grateful , having all those years of love make it all so much harder emotionally to look to the years’ ahead.
Mum we loved you then, we love you now and will always love you.