A final farewell to Grandma
After what seems like an age since Grandma passed away, it was finally time to say goodbye to her today.
Around 90 people joined us for a wonderful thanksgiving service for her long life, at our church, Parkside Christian Fellowship, in Maidenhead.
Before the service, a number of pieces of classical music were played, including work from Elgar, Delius and Fauré as well as work from Karl Jenkins’ Gloria and The Armed Man.
Grandma’s coffin arrived borne aloft on the shoulders of several of her grandsons in a tribute to how they regarded her.
A number of her Grandchildren took part in various ways during the service which was taken by Victor Michael and opened with the hymn ‘Great is Thy Faithfulness’. This was followed by an opening prayer from Grandma’s oldest grandson, Adrian.
Two readings followed, the first taken from Psalm 121 and read by another grandson, Timothy.
Nick, a third grandson, read the second reading, from John 14.
Two of Grandma’s grand-daughters, Georgie and Katy read the moving poem ‘You can shed tears that she is gone’, by David Harkins.
The second hymn, was one chosen by Grandma, ‘Oh love that will not let me go’.
The first tribute was from Grandma’s son, John. He began by putting Grandma’s life into context. She was born in 1914, at the same time as Monet was painting and Elgar was composing, in a far off world where England’s Empire circled the world and houses were lit with gas and oil lamps, where the life expectancy was just 47 years.
She lost her mother to TB at the age of 3½ and was looked after by her aunt. She left school at 14, went to college and learned shorthand at 140 words per minute. She started work at 15¾ and was promoted to Office Manager at 16 and worked for eight years commuting up to London.
She married in 1938 and gave her husband a watch as a wedding present – he gave her a vacuum cleaner!
He finished with numerous personal anecdotes and reminiscences of his mother’s life, many of which caused amusement.
The second tribute was from Grandma’s daughter Eileen, who lives in Winnipeg, and was particularly centred on the Canadian side of the family. Grandma visited Canada five times altogether and the Canadians also came over to England several times.
She singled out Grandma’s hospitality – both for the family and for others who visited. Grandma sent out many parcels to the Canadian children and grandchildren each Christmas which were always warmly welcomed by the family.
Grandma was always active and busy – cooking, gardening, washing, ironing, knitting, making rugs. She would rarely just sit still. Her handmade dolls clothes have been passed down through the generations.
Grandma loved children and babies and always loved to hear stories about the family in Canada. She was very decisive with an opinion on everything. She enjoyed shopping and bought most of her acquisitions on the spur of the moment. Her favourite colour was mauve.
I delivered the third and final tribute to Grandma and I simply read these words.
The final reading was from Revelation 21 and was read by another grandson, Jason.
Victor gave an interesting and amusing address that centred around Grandma’s work both at Climping Camp as well as the children’s Club that they held in their home. He punctuated his talk with various additional memories that other people had sent him, of their time spent with Grandma.
Climping is a Christian camp that was founded by Grandma and Grandad, among others, over 50 years ago. It is still held every summer and regularly attracts around 100 people each year. It began at Climping in West Sussex and is now held in Romsey.
Grandma had a great fondness for children and the Club that they held in their home for so many years was attended by many youngsters who would enjoy all kinds of fun and games, inevitably finishing with refreshments including the infamous homemade ginger-beer, and an epilogue.
Victor reminded us of Grandma’s faithful service for her Lord and that we shouldn’t be sad as she is now at peace and with her Lord. As Christians, we should be challenged by how she lived her life for her Lord and take her example through into our own lives.
Her work was described by others as displaying ‘unwavering commitment’, ‘great example’, ‘selfless devotion’, ‘faithfulness’, ‘showed us God’s love’, ‘a dedicated, quiet worker for the Lord’.
The final hymn from the service was again chosen by Grandma – ‘The King of Love my Shepherd is’ before Adrian closed the service with prayer.
Grandma would have loved the service – particularly with so many of her grandchildren able to be there and to take part.
We then adjourned to brave the bitter wind at Braywick cemetery for a short service, led by David Angell, before laying Grandma to rest.
It was a fitting finale for a wonderful and much-loved lady whose life spanned almost a century. She had such a full life and will be missed by so many in numerous ways.
I am proud to have had her as my Grandma.
You can listen to the service, and I’d recommend it, by clicking on the arrow below.
Iris was a lovely woman who I met at Climping Camp, My Grandparents Frank and Pat Johnson used to be cooks with her there for many years.
Thanks for the comment, Maria. I know both Iris and her husband Cecil were involved with Climping Camp from it’s earliest days.
Interesting to hear about your Grandparents also being involved in the kitchen as well.
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