Saturday, 23 February 2013


It was mum's funeral yesterday; nearly three weeks after she passed away. The day went as well as we could have hoped and below is the text of the eulogy I delivered in church:

Firstly I would like to thank everyone for coming today to the church. I think the last time I was here was around 30 years ago and it’s great to see the church well kept and still going strong at the heart of the local community. Mum used to clean the brasses here a long time ago and I bet she would be equally pleased to see the church full of parishioners and visitors 

My mother Gwenneth Margaret was a remarkable woman; kind and generous with her time and affection. Mum lived her life with a well developed sense of fairness, especially regarding the treatment of her three boys.  Mum had a lively sense of humour and, as we can see today, a large number of friends. For anyone thinking who was Gwenneth Margaret, or ‘we only knew her as Margaret’, my mum was named after her Auntie Gwen, an academic and probably the first person from the family to go to university. Mum was a bright woman in addition to the characteristics I’ve already outlined.  She was well named, even if her first name was little known and used infrequently

Mum’s character can be explained with a few examples of how we, her three sons, were brought up:

Mum was a great believer in ‘giving it your best shot’. No football manager cliché‘110 %’ nonsense, just an encouragement (maybe echoing the scout motto) to always do your best, whether in academic study, at sport, or in your chosen career. This was not to the detriment of whether you enjoyed it, or how successful you were, but just a constant plea to try hard. ‘Did you do your best?’ Mum would ask, ‘if you did that’s all you can do’

When my twin brother Michael and I were little we were allowed to have a Mars bar as a treat, presumably to allow us to work rest, and play. Now, everyone will know that when you are small a Mars bar is quite a large treat so mum used to get one of us to cut the bar into two halves with a knife. The important bit that underlined mum’s sense of fairness (and her intelligence) was that the twin cutting the bar had second choice as to which ‘half’ he got. Mum didn’t need to oversee the operation. A chocolate bar could not have been cut more precisely into two if it had been done in a laboratory with a laser beam

I hadn’t heard the story until the days leading up to mum’s passing but while we were sat quietly with mum one morning David told me that mum bought him his first bass guitar and amplifier for his 18th birthday. This helped nurture a love of performing live music that has lasted nearly twenty years for my ‘kid brother’. I say ‘kid brother’ but David is now closing in on 40, a married man himself, and the father of a beautiful daughter of his own

Mum’s passing was incredibly sad and all the more poignant for how quickly she declined towards the end. However I think we can all take comfort in the fact mum died in her own home surrounded by her loved ones. During mum’s final days my partner Stef’s mother Vicki called to ask how things were. Vicki trained as a nurse as a young woman, so knows a thing or two about caring. She asked me several simple but important questions regarding mum’s welfare:

Is your mum at home? She asked. Yes, she hasn’t had to leave the house 
Is mum upstairs in her own room? Yes, she’s sleeping in her own bed
Is mum in pain? No, her pain is being managed very well by competent and caring nurses
Is mum alone? No, mum is with her family and several old friends have been to see her regularly

The answers I gave Vicki should give us all comfort and a degree of solace regarding mum’s final days

Mum died on Sunday 3rd of February barely two weeks after anyone, including her own consultant, really understood how unwell she had become. She said one day to Michael that she wasn’t ready to go, but faded away with her usual serene good grace and still displaying a wonderful sense of humour. There is a light that never goes out. Mum will surely be missed by a great number of people


  1. Lovely words DT. It sounds like you mum was a fantastic and inspirational woman. I hope yesterday went ok.

  2. Firstly, very well said DT and secondly, well done for delivering that eulogy. You have made her very proud. Best Wishes