Daughter’s moving tribute to mum

A DAUGHTER paid moving tribute to her beloved mother at her funeral yesterday (Thursday).

Speaking at the funeral for Paddy (Patricia) Beale held at Fenland’s crematorium at March, Liz Wright highlighted her mother’s strength of character and again spoke of her distress at the impending closure of Kingswood Park Care Home.

Mrs Wright has blamed the fact her mother was forced to leave the Methodist-run home, which is set to close at the end of next month, for her death.

And in the eulogy Mrs Wright again stated she believed her mother had decided to die because she had been so upset at leaving Kingswood Park.

Here in full is Mrs Wright’s tribute to her mother.

“My mother had the strongest personality I have ever encountered. It wasn’t until much later in life I dare argue with her and one look at me as a child and I stopped whatever it was doing or did whatever it was she wanted me to. As a result I have never been able to understand badly behaved children as it wasn’t in my vision not to take notice of my mother. She did not use physical force, just the strength of her will! So from this she gave me good manners and I am grateful to her for knowing how to behave in any situation (and also knowing when I am deliberately behaving badly!).

“Yet my mother was always on my side. I knew in the unlikely event I would behave badly enough to commit a crime my mother would still have loved me and stuck up for me – even though she may have had plenty to say privately.

“She was born just after the first world war to a rather gentil middle class family who took their social position quite seriously, something she continued throughout her life even though life (and the money situation) changed quite dramatically. She behaved like she was the Queen and it became a bit of a family joke between us all. That’s why I chose the opening music, Arrival of the Queen of Sheba. She was also a stickler for good grammar, which is why I took language for my degree course. She was forever correcting mine and other people’s grammar and from this I have an automatic ability to structure correct sentences which has been very useful with the editing.

“She was an avid reader and encouraged (no made me!) become one too, tho not that I needed much prompting. By the time I was 10 I was already half way through the adult section of Osterley library which was one of mine and my mother’s favourite places.

“Because she never treated me as a child. She always treated me as an adult in speech and in emotions. That was sometimes very difficult as I had to take ultimate responsibility from a very early age for everything I did, every mistake I made but I also loved not being treated like a child and she used to say to me

“Shall I be a proper mum?” And I would say “no, no”.

“I am sure because of this I am a writer and as money from that has enabled me to have the house and the ponies again I am very grateful to her. She wanted me to be an archivist but writing is much more fun!

“She took me to all the stately homes within quite a radius of London and her knowledge of history was huge. She knew all the kings and queens through history, who they married and the dynasties. She had a fondness for the Black Prince but her real love was saved for Queen Victoria and her family who I felt I knew intimately. “After her much loved mother died, she moved to Olney to the countryside. During the war she had worked in a nursery, tomato growing, and she threw herself into gardening with enthusiasm and had the most productive garden and joined the WI. She wasn’t really a joiner but she quite liked the WI and predictably, took me with her. I must have been the youngest member.

“My mother and I spent hours and hours walking on Clifton Hills which I think is arguably one of the most lovely places in Britain with the slowly meandering Ouse. We relished the history, became interested in Ley lines and watched the countryside. Even in London she was a keen on nature and pointed out the birds, flowers and insects in Osterley Park. She respected life and I knew better than to scream at a spider, “Oh stop it”, she would say, “You are much bigger than that. Don’t be so silly”

“Words I have repeated to my foster children and other people who squeak at spiders and insects. Perhaps that’s why I keep bees.

“She was a brilliant cook and worked at the local butchers making hand raised pork pies. She fearlessly tried any dish and I get my rather casual attitude to cooking from her, never thinking anything could ever go wrong so it doesn’t!

“Huh”, she would say “Why do people make such a fuss about Christmas dinner, it cooks itself!” Or perhaps her food knew better than to misbehave!

“She also helped me massively with the ponies. I wanted a pony for as long as I could remember and I wanted one so much it hurt. I finally got a pony, not quite what I had expected but again I knew better than to complain so the pony and I finally forged a relationship and I rode him everywhere. Again treating me as an adult, my mother would happily wave me off and not see me and the pony again until a meal time – no mobile of course and no idea where I was going. My pony and I roamed Clifton Reynes, Lavendon, Newton Blossomville, Harold Woods, Weston Underwood, Ravenstone, Stoke Goldington, Emberton and even further afield.

“When I grew up and went out with my friends there was no curfew but I just knew not to be too late and to always phone and tell her where I was if I was going to be late. I carried that on with my foster children too and it really worked so much better than giving times etc.

“She and my father moved to Chatteris. They enjoyed a volatile relationship but he really loved her and spent the rest of his life caring for her. She in turn took his mind off the unpleasant things he saw as an airman during the war in Burma and was such a brilliant cook that she also helped put back some of the weight he lost out there. They had more in common than they thought, they both loved animals passionately, they liked a drink or two and took a keen interest in politics (something else I have from them).

“In the later years she came to live with us which wasn’t entirely successful as her strong will met mine and she usually won. She formed a relationship with Kingswood Park going on day care and then permanently and she was as happy there as she would have been anywhere in her old age, which she very much disliked. Her sight failed and she couldn’t read and that distressed her. Her greatest comfort was radio 4 that she listened to all day, every day, yet another habit I have picked up from her and yes, she was right, you do learn so much more about everything from radio 4. I can see now why she was such a big fan and wanted a rather reluctant twenty something that I was then to listen to it. Obviously I found my way back to it, my mother’s will prevailing of course!

“The staff at Kingswood were supportive not only to my mother but also to me through what was not in the last few years, the easiest of relationships for either of us.

As my mother said again repeatedly: “You can love someone but not always like them” and again she was right. I am sure there were many times when we annoyed each other but we did always love each other.

“I was devastated when Kingswood Park closure was announced and my mother deteriorated from the time it was announced. She didn’t want to leave Kingswood Park, nor her friends among the staff. I think using her strong will power she actually decided to die and without the support of the Kingswood Park staff who knew her so well, she more or less managed it. I respect her utterly for this and I know she did not want to live any longer and for her I am happy.

For me I am grateful for all the things she passed on to me that make me the person I am and although I am pleased for her she is at peace, she was a huge part of my life and it is true to say I will miss her always.”