A close group of family and friends met today to say a sad goodbye to Beryl Walker. John Dover played the organ processional and Psalm 23 as a recessional. Given the Covid restrictions, we were limited to lip synching and humming All Things Bright and Beautiful, Amazing Grace and We Plough the Fields and Scatter.
Rosemary Bavister (Beryl’s daughter) gave the following tribute
My mum was born in Romford but grew up in Sussex and when she left school it was post war so she worked with her father at Alan West as an electrical assistant.
On 14th December 1957 mum married Fred, my dad. He was a very talented gardener and today would have been their wedding anniversary. Therefore, I feel this is the perfect day to say goodbye. They had a lovely marriage and never seemed to row.
I have lots of memories of a very happy childhood. Mum would only work if it fitted in with family life and we were never latch key kids. She wanted us to have a good childhood with lots of love. But when I wanted to go skiing with the school she took on an extra job to help with the cost.
Growing up, we lived in both Dorset and then Landford. Mum was popular and had lots of friends. Saturday nights were family nights, we would often share a family bar of chocolate and watch a show. If there was nothing on TV then it was switched off and we would play music or play musical instruments or a game. Sundays were for Sunday school, church, a Sunday roast and time in the garden. Mums younger sister and family would often visit, these would very often be unplanned visits but mum loved it and we would always have a house full people, sleeping on the floor if necessary. Mum was saddened that her little sister chose to move to New Zealand but they would regularly write to each other. Growing up, my Mum and Dad were almost eco warriors. They cared for their environment and would recycle wherever possible.
My mum would love a village fete, bazaar or jumble sale. Bringing home her treasures. She really loved the tombola stall and the raffle. One of my most treasured Christmas presents was a dolls carrycot made out of recycled items. My friends were envious and wanted one too but mine was unique. I was also bought a black doll and we were taught to be tolerant, in fact mum tended to befriend people who others might not. (Not always ideal when you are in school and your mum decides you should play with someone outside the gang). My teenage years were spent in Stoke Charity and mum made friends with the neighbour and worked inside the big house in the kitchen or cleaning etc. She loved to support the local shop and we would have most of the groceries delivered, so I guess, once again they were ahead of the times.
Once retired they moved to Martyr Worthy and mum enjoyed her weekly outings with my dad. They enjoyed the garden together and always had a little competition growing tomatoes but mum would often over water hers so my dad would win, but every year she would have another go. Again mum made a few new friends and once she was left on her own, she really enjoyed the monthly friendship club and the luncheon club in Alresford.
Mums last few days were special as we had found a lovely new care company and once again she touched the hearts of the carers. She died peacefully in bed with the sun shining on her, knowing that she was loved.
We will miss her.
The Bible reading was Ecclesiastes 3(1-2,4 8)
1 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2 A time to be born and a time to die,
A time to plant and a time to uproot,
4 A time to weep and a time to laugh,
A time to mourn and a time to dance,
8 A time to love and a time to hate,
A time for war and a time for peace.
Revd Alex Pease gave the following address:
We have just read in Ecclesiastes that there is a time for everything:
a time to be born
and a time to die
We all have to die.
I have been struck recently of how, as we lie on our death beds, we might reflect back on our lives…..
If Beryl was able to do so she could certainly look back with great joy on a wonderful family..Perhaps she would be amused to see the world finally waking up that the way that she and Fred lived their lives was a better way than so many people today. She was always recycling everthing. Nothing at all was wasted. She was frugal, but generous. She was conscious of the earth and looking after it. She was in fact, years ahead of her time.
She loved her family deeply and, speaking to Gail Mann and Karen Budgen, I have a picture of a gentle kind quiet soul who understood what it was to love.
Her love of country and family was eptiomised in family picnics which Rosemary remembers so fondly.
But I wonder how Beryl, how any of us, would look forward from that death bedto what happens next….What did she what would we…..expect?
The Christian understanding of what happens at death is that when we as Christians cross over that barrier, we won’t have a disembodied eternity: twanging a harp on a cloud.
Christians believe in a physical resurrection – like that of Jesus on a new Earth ruled by Jesus, where we can eat/drink/enjoy many of tangible joys experienced during lives in the world. I can’t promise everything that we might enjoy now but surely there would be countryside and jumble sales and the best Friendship Club ever!
What will it be like…?
CS Lewis: in the final volume of the Narnia Stories called the Final Battle imagines that new Earth as a place in which we feel that we have come home at last; as a place in which we can go… further up and further in; in a place which is just more real and more beautiful than the world as we have experienced it.
And Aslan the Lion, the Christ figure of the books, finally speaks to the children who are the heroes and heroines as they reach this incredible place, this new heaven and earth: “…all of you are – as you used to call it in the Shadowlands – dead. The term is over: the holidays have begun. The dream is ending: this is the morning.”
Lewis continues: ‘..for [the children] it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story, which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before’