The following tribute written by Kaye Thompson was read at the thanksgiving service for Vera Thompson on Wednesday 3rd February
‘Vera was born in Hendon in August 1929. As a child, during the war she was evacuated to Suffolk, along with her two sisters, Edith and Kath. She later returned to London, where she worked in a department store as a beautician. However, Vera had found her true love of the country during her time in Suffolk and so she left London, to work for the Land Army on a chicken farm in Sparsholt. It was here that she met my father, Eric and they married in 1953.
Vera and Eric had bought a share of the village garage in Easton in 1951 and in 1958 bought the remaining shares from Mr Mould and renamed their business Mould and Thompson. They bought North View, the house next to the garage, in 1963 and moved into the village with my brother Keith and me.
Later, they purchased the land on the other side of the garage and they designed and built their dream house. They did a lot of the labouring themselves and much to our annoyance, Keith and I became builder’s labourers after school and on weekends, helping them stack bricks and other very dull jobs in the eyes of a couple of teenagers. How I thank them for all their hard work now! Mum and Dad named the house Vekk House which may have sounded a little strange but was formed from the initials of the family, Vera, Eric, Kaye and Keith.
Many of you will remember my father Eric as the face of the business; however, it was my Mother’s dedication and support that helped the business grow into the success it was. She worked tirelessly behind the scenes, taking care of the book keeping and supporting my father and she was certainly the steadying influence on his often, strong personality! But however busy she was, she always made time for Keith and me and was the most wonderful mother.
After the old garage burnt down, it “knocked Dad for six” and behind the scenes Mum quietly supported dad to help him rebuild the garage and continue the business which he later passed on to Keith and Pat.
Vera loved to help others. She ran a toddler group in the village, as well as helping with the “Over 60’s” club and being an active member of the W.I. She was famous for her wonderful chocolate éclairs.
Vera loved to keep fit and she enjoyed regular sessions of swimming and yoga; in addition to walking the dogs. She used to worry about me riding my pony alone, so at a mature age, learnt to ride and bought a horse so that she could ride out with me. She continued to ride for many years and had a lovely grey mare called Tosca, with whom she spent many happy hours plodding around the village lanes.
On the very rare occasion my mother did feel strongly about something, you knew it had to be important and she would eventually win the day. So when a property on the edge of the village came onto the market, she told dad in no uncertain terms that this was where they were going to retire to.
They bought “The Holding” and enjoyed their retirement, with dogs, horses and chickens. Mum was a very private person who never sought the spotlight. She enjoyed her own company and also, especially she enjoyed the company of her family and her pets.
However, their peaceful retirement was short lived. When I asked them if I could expand our business on their property, both mum and dad were 100% behind David and me. Mum helped me when I very first started my catering company, she was my first waitress and I’ve lost track of the number of hours she would help me with the washing up, or cooking, quite often very early in the morning or late into the night. Despite being nervous about driving in London, on numerous occasions, she would load up her estate car full of equipment to help me with jobs in the city, before we had the luxury of vans and lorries.
She was also our full-time nanny; looking after her grandchildren Tilly and Charlie, whilst David and I were working and building our business. We could not have asked for a better person to help with our childcare.
When Keith tragically died, despite being truly heartbroken herself, it was with her usual selflessness that she thought of others first. She found inner strength to support Dad, Pat and me. She was a true “rock” to us all during that very sad time.
After Dad died in 2012, Mum continued to live at The Holding with her dog Roxy and cat Tommy, who she adored. Her health was affected by Parkisons and in the last two years her mobility became limited. However, in this time, with wonderful care from Suzanne and Lydia, she was looked after extremely well. We were fortunate to see her every day; until she slipped quietly away whilst sleeping at home.
From very humble beginnings, Mum worked hard all her life. I am so proud of what she achieved and for the wonderful childhood which she ensured that Keith and I enjoyed. I know Keith would have joined me in saying that we were so very lucky to have been blessed with Vera as our Mother.