15 May 2016


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.


  1. What a beautiful post and heartfelt tribute. Thanks.

    Greetings from London.

  2. So sorry you lost your good friend Pat A very heartwarming tribute to a wonderful lady.

  3. Sorry to hear about your friend. I've been to 3 services in the last few months; all done differently. I'm sure she heard you loud and clear.

  4. Denise, it's sad to say things after a person dies, why couldn't I have said them when she was alive.

  5. kden, I'd like to think Pat knew what people thought of her.

  6. Oh Valerie, what a touching tribute to your dear friend, Pat. Even without knowing her I could sense how special she was through your words. This post actually brought tears to my eyes.

    I absolutely love the saying/quote you shared about "Today I looked at the sky..." OMG, how beautiful!

    I know you've been through a lot lately with the passing of Joe, and now your WI friend. Just know that my thoughts, prayers and energy are with you right now, sharing much love and support.

    ((((((((((( You )))))))))))

    Have a wonderful week, my friend!

  7. Good morning, Ron. Your prayers and energy are gratefully received. There are times when things seem easier but the sadness never goes away. It only takes a trivial thing to remind me that Joe has gone. As if I could ever forget. I'm told it will get easier and I believe that but when is 'when' I wonder. I hope you, too, have a good week.

  8. What a lovely and thoughtful tribute to your friend Val. :-)

  9. When organising funerals it can be so hard to think of everything - it's such a difficult time. But this is a lovely description of your friend, which helped me imagine what she had been like.


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