Recently I attended the funeral of an old friend and WI colleague. Pat became County Chairman after me and was very popular with the members. I worked alongside her on the Executive Committee but had known her a lot longer. She was a fun person, someone who knew the WI inside out. She knew all the rules and could always be relied on to give sound advice. Whilst serving as County Chairman she became very ill with throat cancer, something she coped with extremely well considering she could no longer speak. She didn’t deserve that. Not our Pat. Not the woman who could pour oil on troubled waters or boost the confidence of hesitant members. Pat, who could maintain a sense of humour no matter what, who was the first elected Chairman to be heartily cheered into the role by members. Literally! When the announcement was made at the ACM that Pat was to be County Chairman the entire audience cheered and clapped. That’s how popular she was. It was never done before or since.
Two weeks before she died I received a letter from her because she had only just heard about my Joe. They got on well, he would greet her with ‘Ah, it’s my lady with the hat’ and she would respond with some remark about his smile. Sad that they have both gone.
Yes, Pat was well known for her hats, and always fashionable ones. Wherever she was, whatever event she attended, she always wore a hat. I don’t think she ever went out without one. Because of this her close friend and colleague at WI arranged for flowers to be placed on Pat’s coffin, the flowers were white and the arrangement was ... yes, you guessed right ... it was a hat. I would have liked to get a photograph of it but it didn’t seem right doing that at a funeral.
The service was at a different crematorium to our local one and not as practically designed. Probably because the local one is newer and lessons had been learned. It was a shame because the congregation sat in one large middle section which prevented those sitting middle to back from seeing or indeed hearing the service. From my position I couldn’t even see Pat’s coffin so my farewell thoughts had to fly over heads. I’m sure it didn’t matter to Pat but it did to me. I suppose I just wanted her to know that without her WI would never be the same again.
Well, that's me and funerals done.... hopefully future posts will be of a lighter nature. Thank you for your patience.