Truly inspirational lady.
Mum, mummy, grandma, G.G., Irene Victoria Maud Barton born July 1914 in North London. She always joked that she was the cause of the outbreak of the 1st world war. The only child of our dear grandma Lily Francome mum had an eventful childhood with frequent house moves and a 2 year stay in India which she loved.
Mum met dad when she was 18 and they married the following year in 1933. They were happily married for 65 years during which time they had 5 children, 8 grandchildren and 8 great grandchildren and like Ma and Pa Walton rarely had a cross word, well not in front of us. This I attribute mainly to mumâ€™s amazingly calm, accepting yet confident and patient devotion to us all. No push over tho our mum, and at the age of 45 as I started school, she decided to learn to drive. A very determined mum terrorised the motorists of Potters Bar for some time and on the 5th attempt managed to pass her driving test. She went on to gain 2 garden walls (her own) and the side of a coach as trophies. In her 40â€™s mum drew on that same determination and learnt to horse ride. She was terrified of the water but learnt to swim in her 50â€™s and together mum and dad took ballroom dancing lessons, it was always such a treat to watch them gracefully waltz around a ballroom, she loved it.
In more recent years through some fairly turbulent times mum would often chant a favourite saying where theres a will theres a way, drawing on that strength of character which no doubt helped her to reach 98.
Mum was always good for a laugh and as children we had great fun. Picture if you can, itâ€™s bedtime for three 8 to 9 year olds. My sister Pat, Lou (our best friend) and me. Having been dragged out of the garden, way later than we should have been for if we were playing bucking broncos and having great fun mum would pretend sheâ€™d forgotten the time. Still full of mischief we would race upstairs and hide in our bedroom. One in the wardrobe and 2 behind the curtains. On hearing mum enter the room weâ€™d jump out on her, frightening her half to death (we thought) and wrestle a giggling helpless mum to the floor where upon Pat would grab her arms and Lou and I a leg each and proceed to give her the bumps. It was only in adulthood that mum confided she knew what we were up to because she could hear our whispering and giggling downstairs in the kitchen.
Such was mumâ€™s character that even her daughters and sons in law could not understand the corny mother-inâ€“law jokes.
Mum could turn her hand to anything, self-taught she produced some beautifully knitted and crocheted garments and her cooking was to die for. We all had our favourites, Chicken Maryland, Chicken Hawaii and Chocolate steamed pudding with mandarin oranges to name a few. In our old caravan mum could rustle up 36 scones for tea and produce the yummiest Sunday dinner for family and friends out of the smallest oven.
Pitch black and blinding blizzards mum would help us carry hay bales to the ponies in winter and look after our rabbits and guinea pigs when we were away.
Once we had all grown out of tearing round and round the lawn on our bikes and me out of making mud pies in the flower beds, mum was able to enjoy her garden. Teaching me many of the latin names for various shrubs and trees.
An avid reader she taught us all by example the huge enjoyment to be had from a good book.
Mum loved having friends and family around her and my older brothers and sisters riotous parties at home in the sixties and seventies demonstrates mumâ€™s enjoyment (and a degree of patience and understanding) of young people, a passion she was still enjoying at 98 when young friends would call to see her, more recently with their own babies, she would be delighted that you are all here today.
Comforting when we were frightened or poorly
Sensible and guiding when we were troubled
A caring and supportive grandma and great grandma offering sound advice and encouragement when our babies didnâ€™t quite behave as the books said they would.
Always so smart and elegant our mum reads like superwoman, well to us she was. You gave us all so much, no words can express our gratitude mum, an inspiration to us all. Now itâ€™s your chance to grab dad and take a spin round that heavenly dance floor, forever in our hearts, Thank you mum.