Mabel Glover – a resident at Ingersley Court flats – celebrated her 100th Birthday on 29 July 2011 and had therefore just turned 3 when the War started in 1914. One recollection she had was of walking to Macclesfield Parish Church holding her father’s hand on one Sunday, around the time he probably went off to war. Being only three then, her memories were not detailed but she was fortunately able to remember the happy times when her father came home on leave, and the joy of his final homecoming when the war came to an end.
Mabel Knight married Garnet Glover at Macclesfield on 28 December 1935. They began their married life in Old Hall Street in Macclesfield and they moved into a house on Windsor Close, Bollington in the early 1950’s. Garnet died in 2001 and Mabel was persuaded to take up residence in Ingersley Court, where her sister May and her husband had moved to in 1974 as the first tenants when it opened.
Mabel was a faithful and active member of St Oswald’s Church when she lived in Windsor Close, with both her boys going to Sunday School and serving at the altar in their youth. Once she had moved into Ingersley Court, she invariably was pleased to share in our monthly Thursday morning services of BCP Holy Communion, singing the hymns and knowing all the prayers and responses by heart. Also while there she made her small contribution to our St Oswald mosaic
May God bless you Mabel, and may you rest in peace and rise in glory!
It was with much sadness that we learnt of the recent death of Edith Mary Oldfield (nee Nolan), a lifelong member of Bollington Parish who was a regular worshipper with friends and family here, principally at Holy Trinity Church, Kerridge.
Mary was born on 9 February 1917 at Wellington Road in Bollington. Following her wedding at St Oswald’s Church on 22 July 1940, her early married life was spent at Redway in Kerridge before moving 33 years ago to South West Avenue. Thanks to the dedicated care of her daughter Hilary, Mary was able to remain living independently at home until her death on 10 March 2018, having reached the great age of 101 years old. It seemed that seven was a lucky number for Mary: both she and her late husband Jack (from Jackson Lane, Kerridge) coincidentally grew up as one of seven children in each of their families, and just before WW2 their romance began to blossom when with a group of young friends they used to walk down Seven Sisters (now Flash Lane) to socialise in Prestbury.
Mary was a person of great faith, willing to serve others in the most humble and practical ways – she regularly baked delicious scones and almond slices for church fetes and took pride in scrubbing the stonework at the entrance of Holy Trinity Church, which consequently had the cleanest doorsteps in the whole parish! She took part in the final celebration service in September 2009 at Holy Trinity when balloons were let go of, symbolising our positive faith for the future. Mary admired the subsequent conversion of Kerridge Church into a splendid dwelling and along with over 800 other local people in 2014 here at St Oswald’s she placed a tile in the community mosaic which adorns the much needed new extension that was funded by the proceeds from the sale of Holy Trinity.
Mary was one of the kindest people you could meet, who was always genuinely interested in others rather than dwelling on any of the increasing infirmities that came upon her in later years. Her family was very important to her and she was a delight to visit, invariably having a twinkle in her eye and a whispered blessing for every welcome guest. May she rest in peace and rise in glory.
Many of us here in Macclesfield Deanery were deeply shocked and saddened by the sudden death on New Year’s Day of Revd David Wightman, Macclesfield Town Centre Minister, based at St Michael’s Church on the Marketplace. Here are some of the words given by David’s former colleague, Revd Dr Graham Turner, the previous Rector of Macclesfield, at David’s funeral on 26 January. We continue to pray for David’s wife Chris and all the family and for all who mourn the passing of a dedicated priest, who prompted us to care for those on the margins of society in so many practical ways, through such HOPE initiatives as Street Angels, Winter Hope Night Shelter Accommodation, and Refugees Welcome.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who have died, so that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have died. For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will by no means precede those who have died. For the Lord himself, with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call and with the sound of God’s trumpet, will descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will be with the Lord for ever. Therefore, encourage one another with these words.
I am sure that David has not preached on every single passage of the Bible during the many years of being a Reader and then as a ‘vicar’, but I am fairly confident that David would have spoken about this passage on numerous occasions. Why? Because it crops up regularly in the list of Sunday readings in the Church of England, and because David firmly and clearly believed in the resurrection. He did not simply believe we come back to life to live happily ever after with Jesus in a heaven somewhere ‘way beyond the blue’. His was the Biblical view that one day all creation will be transformed (to become what it was always meant to be) and that the patterns of violence, injustice and disease will one day be finally overrun. More than that, he believed that he himself would be transformed from the patterns of violence, injustice and disease to something far beyond his/our wildest imaginings. He believed that he would become what he has always meant to be, but had only made it part of the way in his almost 74 years with us.
Our Bible reading starts with the encouragement: “not to grieve as others do who have no hope”. But note, it does not say that we must not grieve – oh yes, we must grieve. We will (and do) suffer those intense feelings of: sorrow, sadness and anguish; loneliness, heartache and heartbreak; desolation, dejection and despair. This (as I am sure you all well know) is now the backdrop to the journey we must travel in order to discover our healing – a journey that must be travelled.
You have suffered a terrible disruption to your lives. When did you realise? When did you hear? When did you get the phone call? When did you read the Facebook postings? None of us saw this coming. To mourn and to grieve is to be human and to live in this (our full humanity) is what God wants for us. However, we must “not grieve as others do, who have no hope”. For them, the future is annihilation. For them, their loved ones no longer exist. For them, the future makes little or no sense. For them, “It is all over!” No, when you grieve, weep and struggle and feel all these intense emotions, do it “as people who have hope.’”
David and I spoke about hope on numerous occasions as we chatted about many things. Some people think hope means to be generally optimistic about the future, which may be okay if you are usually in control of your life – which David wasn’t when he collapsed on that path in the Lakes on New Year’s Day. Some think it means ‘having faith’, and I wonder if they mean ‘hoping for the best’. Bible hope is much more than having a sunny disposition and an optimistic outlook on life. Bible hope is the belief that God has still got something to do. God has still got something to do with David: a job of recreation, restoration, and transformation which we call resurrection. So, because of this hope, we travel with, into and through our grief, but without despair or fear. David, I think, would point out that Jesus says, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted”.
When Jesus died, he did not know for certain that he would rise, but he hoped he would – as he believed that God had still got something to do. As David has died, we also have the same belief, that God will do something. As Jesus was resurrected, so David will be resurrected. The passage ends with the phrase: “Therefore encourage one another with these words.” Because of this hope we have together today to grieve. We have come to let go and we have come to ‘give each other courage’ (note: encourage literally means ‘to give courage’) and to stand alongside all David’s family at this time.
This is not the end for David, this is not the end for you who grieve (even though sometimes grief does feel like the end) and this is not the end for David’s ministry either. David knew that he was ‘a chip off the old block’ (a rather large sized chip though!). The language of the book of Genesis puts this way: ‘made in the image of God’ (Gen. 1:27). The Apostle John says that all people are enlightened by the presence of the light of Christ (John. 1:9) and St Paul affirms that Christ “is in all”, even “is all” (Col. 3:11). David was (and still is) made of the stuff of God. His deepest “DNA” is the love that is God. David was most ‘David’ when he lived from this inner core. As he deepened his faith he did not become super-spiritual, aloof or pretentious, he simply became more human, more David. (We think to be human is to be fallible, but to be truly human is to be like Christ.) The more this happened to him, the more he enjoyed it – it made him smile. It motivated him to do what he did. David was not driven in his ministry, he was called.
What made David ‘David’ (what made him so wonderfully human) cannot be broken or contaminated or destroyed, because love is eternal and impregnable. This is why David is eternal and will one day be resurrected. Thankfully David is not sat on a cloud in a bed sheet playing a harp – a terrifying image to have in one’s head! David has simply returned to the Great Love that conceived the idea of him in the first place, we call that Great Love “God”. As Jesus puts it: “I in you, and you in me” – this is our destiny. David is now more ‘David’ than he has ever been!
And for those of you whose lives have been turned upside down by his death, it is not the end for you either, even though your grief may sometimes overwhelm you. Because you are made of the same stuff; at your core is nothing but the love of God, and this should give you hope. David is no longer here, but he lives on in us and with us: physically in the family likenesses (Simon, Jenny, Joseph, Thomas, Jenny & Sam’s baby); in the legacy of his work that goes on – it is “David shaped”; and in the ties and bonds of friendship where his spirit touched our spirits. And now he is part of the ‘great cloud of witnesses’ with all the saints who have gone on before us. Today is not the end of David, so beware!
Finally, I believe David would have us say, that our journey through life must to be laced with: gratitude; and thanksgiving; and celebration; and joy; and wonder; and laughter, as our ultimate destination will be populated with all these things. We have lost David: Chris has lost her soul-mate, friend and partner; Simon and Jenny have lost their father (together with Sukfan and Sam); Joseph, Thomas (and the child yet to be born) have lost their grandfather; Tim has lost his brother; you have lost a friend and a colleague; and I have lost my companion on the road of the journey of life.
BUT WE DID KNOW HIM! And for this we are thankful. Your lives and my life are all the better for having known him. David enhanced our lives. We are not, of course, to worship him as a hero, but he has been a thoroughly decent human being who we should honour; because he sought to do his best in life for God and for others. Our lives, and the world, are all the better for his almost 74 years among us, and for this we must be most thankful and celebrate this gift of life who we have known and loved.
So, if we are sad, let us be proud that we will miss him; if we are grateful, let us ensure that we continue the works he has started; and if we saw the light of Christ in David, let us also live that others may see the light of Christ in us. Let us then walk on from today, with hope.
Extracts from the Tribute paid by Fr Simon Marsh at a Thanksgiving Service for his late wife Jilly (23 February 1960 – 13 January 2018).
…Our humanly spoken, or heard, or read, or written words may not speak of all that there is to be said – of any human soul that ever dwelt upon the face of the earth. What is needed that we might reflect inwardly upon any life is some personal experience – even second-hand experience – of what St John, writing about Jesus, spoke of as Logos in Him, and in anyone. Not words, but The Word; the life of God shining at the centre of the being of every incarnate – in-the-flesh – person. St Irenaeus is reputed to have said that ‘the glory of God is in a person fully alive.’ I saw the glory of God in the full and vibrant aliveness of Jilly Mary Tovey. And so, I think, in many different ways and times and places, did many of you. I saw Logos, I saw The Word, in Jilly. She made sense, for me, of the notion of the Body of Christ alive and at work in the world now…
Jilly was never much given to drawing attention to herself. She lived joyfully, simply, thankfully, quietly, and unobtrusively. When asked her profession, from time to time, I can recall no occasion when she replied with more than a smiling ‘oh, just office work’ – but as many letters and cards have testified in these past weeks – and I have been so profoundly comforted by them – she also lived luminously. I’ve been fascinated by the number of family members, colleagues, friends and acquaintances who have spoken or written of a light that shone in and through Jilly.
From the happy days when she read Engineering at Cambridge, revelling in a spell as Captain of the Boat Club and in the hard grind of the discipline and training required of a Cambridge Boat Crew, and on through training to become a Chartered Accountant, and the years of happy labours for ICI, Zeneca and latterly Astra Zeneca – in all of these years the people who lived and worked with Jilly remember her with the deepest admiration and affection.
Jilly never expected in a million years to become a Vicar’s wife! – though she’d have made a fine pastor. Indeed, in countless ways that many of you here recall, Jilly was a fine pastor. I’ve known of few people who would get out of bed at 6am in order to prepare cooked breakfasts that she would deliver around 7am to elderly parishioners en route for her office at Alderley Park. Jilly did not wear her considerable Christian faith on her sleeve; she believed herself called to more practical ‘incarnate’ or in-the-flesh expressions of the Love of God. Time and again, in my presence, I have been privileged to witness people unashamedly tell my wife ‘I love you Jilly!’…. There was a sense of urgency in our house before Christmas this year as, already very poorly, Jilly set her face to ensuring Christmas presents were made ready – some of them knitted by her – and Christmas cakes and puddings were made and distributed – personally, wherever and whenever that was possible, sometimes involving our driving round trips of a couple of hundred miles a time.
Accomplished and delighted walker of Lakeland fells, dearly loved by many, Jilly Mary Tovey whispers to me now: ‘Enough, my love. You’ve said enough. They’ll all be freezing cold!’ …I know that I will never have said enough about her, but I must draw this little tribute to a close, leaving you with your own treasured memories and with this poem, entitled “Roads” by Ruth Bidgood:
No need to wonder what heron-haunted lake
lay in the other valley,
or regret the songs in the forest
I chose not to traverse.
No need to ask where other roads might have led,
since they led elsewhere;
for nowhere but this here and now
is my true destination.
The river is gentle in the soft evening,
and all the steps of my life have brought me home.
I was saddened to hear from his daughter Anne that John passed away on the 30th July 2017.
John and his family left Que Que in Southern Rhodesia and came to live (in John’s words) “a sleepy village called Bollington”, I think he would have been very surprised with the changes now!!
He was very much involved with the planning and building of St. John’s School and was thrilled, along with my dad Albert Clayton and Geoff Newcombe who were the churchwardens at the time to be introduced to Princess Margaret who officially opened the new school. They even had afternoon tea with her along with the headmaster Gwilym Humphries and other dignitaries.
He loved his music and you would often hear him playing the organ at St. John’s along with his son John James. They were both accomplished musicians.
He was always organising Parish Trips which he took charge of with his clipboard in hand, making sure he didn’t lose anyone and everyone was accounted for.
His sense of humour was second to none, always seen with a smile on his face.
He left Bollington early in 1969, but I was lucky enough that his successor the Rev Peter Hunt allowed John to return so he could take part in my marriage service, in fact I had three vicars taking part !!! and the Rev. John Williams who was the curate taking a black and white cine film of the day.
On his retirement he moved to be nearer his family in Cambridge where he was made a Fellow of St. Catharine’s College and just before he died he had a visit from St Catharine’s choral scholars which according to Anne he enjoyed very much.
Our lives can change in a flash, and as we get older one thing which quite rapidly change things for the worst is a FALL. A moment’s inattention or distraction is all it takes – as it did for this loved one and dear friend Jean. For her it meant long weeks in hospital then a spell at home and then back into hospital again. No wonder she came to be weary of it all and so Jean passed from this life to the next. Albert and Jamie you will obviously miss her warm presence as we all do.
Macclesfield Bus Station is not the most cheerful place but it was always good to see Jean there and Albert and Jamie, and we miss her presence on the No 11 bus – good to talk to and always with a keen interest in other people. Not for her or us the anonymous life of cities where nobody speaks to their neighbours. The great hymn writer George Herbert (the Vicar of a village near to Salisbury) in a poem about Prayer, speaks of us seeing heaven in the ordinary things of life, as I believe we do. We see it most of all in human love like the love of Jean and Albert and Jamie, with a whole host of friends and neighbours; and we see it in this the season of springtime when things come back to life after the winter.
And we are truly blessed with our skies around Kerridge and Bollington, and the Trafford household particularly blessed with the view from their kitchen window and garden – the view out towards Alderley Edge. And in early evening the sky brightened with pinks and gold and blues and green – easy surely to believe in heaven at such a view and in our bright hope of Eastertide, and the heaven were Jean rests, free from pain and sadness, and safe in the love of the God in which Jean had such trust.
Mary’s Funeral Service was held at St Oswald’s Church on 17 October 2016.
Mary was born on 6 December 1927 at her family home: a two-up, two-down cottage in Courier Row, Bollington. Her mother Annie’s first husband had been killed in the First World War and Annie subsequently married Jack Williamson. They had four children: Margaret was the eldest, born in 1923; her brother John was born in 1925, then Mary came along in 1927 followed by Brian in 1934. Little red-headed Mary was the last of her siblings to survive. In these later years Mary had become the acknowledged matriarch (“Mother Mary”) and the keeper of family memories (which is why in these very recent weeks she shared with me how she had become a little troubled as symptoms began to show the early stages of losing her memory, her mind otherwise remained sharp enough though). Mary (like her siblings) was baptised here at St Oswald’s, and later on became a pupil next door at Bollington Cross School: in fact I gather that Mary started school at the tender age of three-and-a-half, because she was so anxious to follow in her older sister Margaret’s footsteps and to be like her!
Their father Jack worked for the Co-op, mainly delivering coal, and he used on occasion to send his children round to collect the money due from his customers. After Brian was born, around the time Mary was six or seven, the family moved to No.6 Princess Street, near the Waggon & Horses: they still had no bathroom even in the new home, but despite this, their mother made sure the whole family was always clean and tidy. Annie was a good home-maker and both daughters inherited their mother’s talent and love of knitting and embroidery. Mary also remembered joining her brothers and sister as schoolchildren, mostly at weekends but sometimes of a weekday evening, when they helped Bill Berry and his horse Molly to deliver milk from their neighbour Hannah Barlow’s place, Bollington Hall Farm. (In those days of course people would come out from their houses with a jug, to collect milk from the churn on the milk-float.) As they got older, Mary also recalled going with her sister to the local Empire Picture House, sitting in the “one and nines” or perhaps even the “two and threes”! The children would also help with haymaking when harvest-time came round each year.. It all added up to a real old-fashioned country childhood, and it left Mary with enduring memories of perhaps less sophisticated (but arguably happier) days…
On leaving school, Mary was employed at Miss Froggatt’s shop on Sunderland Street, Macclesfield, a ladies’ outfitters, and she struck up a lifelong friendship with Nora, another member of staff there. (A young Hylda Brogden remembers being hauled up over the steep front doorstep of that same shop and being fitted for that special dress which was a must-have for all self-respecting Bollington girls in readiness for Sermons Sunday at the beginning of May each year!) When Margaret married Tom Cumberbirch on 28 July 1945 here in St Oswald’s Church, on the Saturday of Bollington Wakes, naturally her younger sister Mary was a bridesmaid. Romance soon blossomed for Mary herself too! On her daily bus ride to and from Macclesfield going to work at Miss Frogratt’s shop, Mary soon caught the eye of a young bus conductor called Arthur Houghton! They too were married here in St Oswald’s Church, on 29 January 1949, the happy couple initially moving to live in Macclesfield, but soon returning to Bollington to what became their family home on Grimshaw Lane for about 50 years…
Mary and Arthur’s family began with the arrival of their eldest son David in 1950, followed by their daughter Anne in 1952, and the family seemed complete when Alan was born about a year later. Then after a gap of about 13 years, Mary and Arthur surprised everyone by welcoming their second daughter Jane into the world, followed a couple of years later by the arrival of their youngest son, Simon! This meant that Jane was about five and Simon just two years old when they were bridesmaid and pageboy respectively at their sister Anne’s wedding!
The children all have fond memories of their Mum: for instance, David recalls his Mum sternly telling him that he’d get his name in the Macclesfield Times for drinking under age!
Anne remembers when they were little and going over on errands to Barrows the butchers for their Mum! Mary would say: “Ask them if they have an Ox tail? When they say yes, tell them to turn round so you can have look!” Or she’d say “When you go past the chip shop, ask them “Have you got any chips left?” When they say yes, tell them it serves them right for cooking too many!” I’m not sure parents should really encourage their children to be so cheeky, but Mary was always fun and smiling! Anne also recalls Mary often baking cakes with pride, then teasing the children saying they weren’t for eating – they were for putting in a glass case!
One of Jane’s vivid memories is of her Mum singing “Scarlet Ribbons”… then there was the way of passing the time which Mary encouraged by making up words out of car number plates! On New Year’s Eve, she’d tell the children to “go the bus stop and look for a man with as many noses as there are days left in the year”!
As the youngest, Simon’s memories include Friday washing nights, with the twin tub going from 7.00pm, the fire stoked up by 10.00pm and about 3 maidens stacked around it – mainly with our David’s mucky overalls from the farm! Another memory would be getting Alan up on Saturday mornings when John Bennett (the milkman) was throwing stones at the window, then having to go round to the back and knock on Mum’s bedroom with a prop. One special treat that stands out for Simon is of his Mum making him his favourite dessert (lemon meringue) and then of her making oatcakes ready for Sunday morning and having bacon and sausage wrapped in oatcakes – delicious! Simon also now treasures the memory from just last year of taking his Mum to their caravan – she absolutely loved it: she sat out in the sun, did her puzzles and then visited some places in North Wales that brought a lot of happy memories back for her.
Other memories of their Mum was her always having a smile, always being there, and trying to keep the peace in times of disagreement. She was a great knitter and sewer – producing lots of dresses and jumpers over the years. She was great at cooking, and made super celebration cakes and had real sugar craft skills. Mary enjoyed preparing food for family gatherings – one speciality being Boxing Day turkey soup! She was always very organised – everything would be labelled and boxed, clean, tidy and well presented – she never went to bed without making sure the house was tidy and that everything was put away. One of her last little notes Jane found was to say: “I hope I have left the house in order, I’ve been doing it for a long time and things may have piled up – sorry!”
Over these many years Mary has not only cared for her own five children, but also I understand she looked after the children of the Beech family for a while. She also worked in Bollington Cross School as a dinner lady and playground supervisor. She worked with a fantastic team of good friends there: Jane remembers her Mum and all the ladies from the school kitchen once performing a song-and-dance routine, in leotards and tutus, at a Church Talent Show – they really enjoyed themselves and certainly entertained everyone else! And then of course, who could forget that Mary was well-known in the whole village as the Lollipop Lady! She loved this role and carried it out faithfully, rain or shine, for almost 20 years! She would sometimes give out proper lollipops to the children too, and then when her two grandchildren Catherine and Elizabeth were born, she even attached pink balloons to her lollipop sign in celebration!
Sadly her husband Arthur suffered a stroke in 1990 and she dedicated herself to nursing back to health as far as possible. They joined Macclesfield Stroke Club and were grateful for their support. Arthur began to get quite frail and in 2002 he died at Mount Hall Care Home aged 81. Nothing daunted, Mary in her characteristic way got on with life and made the most of things. She had volunteered for many years in the Age Concern Charity Shop in Macclesfield – eventually retiring from this in 2006 – she used to say that at least they hadn’t put a ticket on her yet! She made some very good friends there, especially Jan Burton who supported her each week in the later years. Mary really appreciated all that Jan was able to do for her and in turn Jan said Mary was like a second Mum to her.
Mary was also a member of Macclesfield Carers until it disbanded. She has been a member of the W.I. since 1963, and at one time was their president. She was a patron of Bollington Light Opera group and Bollington Brass Band – she loved to attend the concerts and events and to support them, often with her great friend the late Peggy Wakefield. She and Peggy used to love going on coach trips all around the UK. She belonged to “CHUB” (the Church and Pub group) – she loved to go out and see all the different places and enjoyed the friendship and fellowship, as well as a good meal. She never let her health problems stop her from joining in, although latterly she had to be more cautious about only having foods that wouldn’t upset her digestive system. I was full of admiration about how she coped with her medical condition in recent years and the way she quietly just got on with it.
Mary loved to go out on day trips and away on holidays. These trips were mostly in the UK; however she did visit the South of France with Jane, Russell, Joel and Lydia; and twice travelled out to California to visit her niece Kathleen and her family – spending a month there in 1993 with Arthur, and then visiting again in 2006 – apparently she had a wonderful time! She also went up to Lerwick for her granddaughter Joanna’s wedding to Dave – “quite an experience” she wrote in her diary!
Mary moved to Crossfield Road in August 2007. That was when (as the relatively new Vicar) I was summoned to come and collect a Teddy Bear that she had just won on a raffle. Incidentally Mary was incredibly lucky in winning raffles – her numbers always seemed to come up, didn’t they?! Anyway Mary thought this particular prize was a bit big for her new home and she was sure the new Children’s Corner at church would be a better place for it… I duly arrived at her bungalow, and after a cup of tea I collected the Bear from the top of Mary’s wardrobe and drove him down to St Oswald’s, strapped in to the front seat of my car!? I had been somewhat apprehensive that small toddlers would be overawed by this huge creature, but I was proved wrong and he was soon christened “Oswald Bear” by the local pre-school children next door and was an honoured guest at their annual Teddy Bears’ Picnic! In case you’re wondering, it was Mary’s express wish that Oswald Bear should be placed for today’s service in the particular seat she herself usually occupied!
Mary told everyone that all her neighbours in and around Crossfield Road were super, especially Jim and Sue who lived next door. She felt so fortunate to be in the bungalow and to be surrounded by such good friends and neighbours. She loved being able to wave at passers-by as well as to enjoy the view of her garden. She was a great one for socialising – she belonged to the weekly Faith Hour group here at church – enjoying good discussions about variety of things on a Wednesday afternoon over a cup of tea, made just as she liked it. She discovered a latent talent for writing verse and contributed to an Autumnal anthology produced after an entertaining evening of poetry and music held here in September 2012. She was a great supporter of all our church fundraising and social events, including Songs of Praise and Posh Teas, and notably dressing up in Edwardian costume for our Grand Centenary Dinner in October 2008. She also valued the fellowship and support she received from Ovenhouse Lane Community Centre- including their Knit and Natter group – though she used to say she no longer joins in with the knitting – she just natters! She went every week to the Centre for lunch – even right up until the day she died.
Mary will be much missed as a faithful member of this congregation and as a personality within our local community. However, she left this significant note amongst her things: she insists that we are not to be morbid, but to have a good get-together after the funeral! She wished us simply to think of the good times – as she said, there have been many.
Gene was born in Shildon, County Durham in 1921, a mining community. As a result of the great depression, Gene’s father, who worked underground, was out of work for 7 years. In desperation the family moved south to a village Near Harlow in Essex to work on a large family estate. In this totally rural environment Gene, now 7 years old, had the freedom of running around in over 100 acres.
The local children did not understand her Geordie accent and use to ask her to say something, finding this amusing – needless to say Gene soon acquired an Essex accent!
When Gene left school at 14, her parents moved to North London as domestic service was expected of her by the “big house” and her parents did not want this for their daughter. Following the move, Gene trained as a cashier at Sainsbury’s headquarters in High Holborn London.
Come the war she became a radar operator with various anti-aircraft batteries serving in South Wales, Northern Ireland and lastly Coventry, where she met Peter. They married a year later and went on to have two daughters Lesley and Linda.
Gene became an “army wife” living in various parts of the UK, and for long periods of time found herself alone with two small children to care for and love.
When Peter retired from the army, they eventually settled down in Bollington the “Happy Valley”. She enjoyed her time as town Mayoress and later that of being Mayoress of Macclesfield borough. Gene joined the Women’s Institute and was an active member, eventually attaining the position of group chairman.
Gene has met many members of the Royal Family, and has dined in the Mansion House, the Guildhall and St. James Palace.
As a guest of the army, she stood along with Peter on the parade ground of Wellington Barracks in London where, prior to marching off to change the guard at Buckingham Palace, to her surprise the band of the Irish Guards played the Anniversary Waltz (it was her wedding anniversary that day)!
On one occasion, Gene sat at the same table and conversed with the Queen Mother and her Private Secretary, who were on a visit to Cheshire. So much so that she hardly ate any of her meal. Eventually when the queen mother was leaving she said goodbye to the Lord Lieutenant as protocol demands. She then half got into the car, stopped, got out and came back to Gene, shook her hand and said “It’s been a pleasure to meet you”. This was the only time Gene was stuck for words!
Though she has departed this mortal coil, she will always be remembered for her love of the garden which she designed, dug and planted for many years, creating a stunning display.
She had a long and interesting life and was a much-loved, caring, loyal wife, mother, grandma and great grandma.
(Wife of Revd John Mullett – Vicar of Bollington 1961-69 middle row, second from right – Keep Fit Class, 3 Aug 1961 )
I have very fond memories of both Joyce and John Mullett, so was very saddened to hear of the death of Joyce through her daughter Annie.
I remember her running Keep Fit Classes with the help of Janet Haynes (the curate’s wife) for the ladies of St. John’s; and what fun they had with Joyce being very enthusiastic.
She also loved singing and was a member of the Festival Choir; one of her favourite performances was Handel’s Messiah.
She was very involved with the Mother’s Union up to a few months ago and felt very passionate about this.
Her son John James was a chorister at Lichfield Cathedral and Joyce, along with John, took my parents to attend evensong one winter’s day. On their way home over the Cat & Fiddle their car got stuck in a snow drift, and according to Joyce, fun was had digging the car out, but also worrying that they could be stuck there all night.
Another memory is of a trip to London which Joyce organised for St. John’s Mother’s Union, which would have been very exciting as not many people had ever been to London before. On arrival Joyce told everyone not to be late for the return coach journey home, and if they were the coach would leave without them. A few months later the ladies still laughed, as it was Joyce and a couple of other ladies that ended up being late, and were seen running across Hyde Park in their stockinged feet with the Vicar shouting to them that the coach was about to leave.
Joyce would always tell John off when riding through Bollington on his push bike with his cassock tied around his waist – Joyce thought that this was not what the Vicar of Bollington should be doing.
Joyce will be sadly missed by John, Annie and John James and family and everyone who knew her.
A trip to St Paul’s Cathedral organised by Joyce, date unknown
Following the tragic death of Tytherington School science teacher Guy Wharton in a traffic accident on Tuesday, St Oswald’s will be open during the day for the next ten days (provisionally 8.45am to 6.45pm) as a place of sanctuary for all those who are mourning his loss within the community of Bollington and beyond.
A book of condolence will be available in the church from this afternoon.
The family have a close connection with both Bollington Cross School and our young people’s after-school group RiCH.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Guy’s family, friends and colleagues.