I'm sorry to say that My Mum passed away early this morning in Salisbury District Hospital from pneumonia. She'd been there for some weeks after having had a fall in early November and had been recovering well until yesterday. Her end was peaceful and pain free, yet that knowledge makes our loss no less devastating.
Isabel King was born in 1929, the third child and second daughter of a farming family in a small village where Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Essex meet. Although the family never had much money her childhood was idyllic, helping her father look after his heavy horses and working with him in the fields. Her background made her a true countrywoman, atune with nature and the seasons. She shared this knowledge and love of the countryside with me and made my childhood as idyllic as hers had been.
Mum worked as a children's nanny before moving to work for the Eastern Electricity Board in their local showroom. She met my Dad at a motorbike scramble on Royston Heath when he let her stand in front of him better to see the race.
Their courtship saw them riding through the Hertfordshire countryside on my Dad's Triumph motorbike. The episode of their running over a neighbouring farmer's cockrel became infamous in our family's folklore.
They married in 1953 and began a partnership that endured for over 56 years. My parents adoration for one another has always been clear for all to see and I can say quite honestly that I never heard them argue.
They shared the same work ethic and together built three different businesses in Hertfordshire, Devon and finally Wiltshire. Her dedication and sense of duty extended beyond our family businesses to charitable and community work. She collected for the NSPCC, loved amateur dramatics and in latter years was active in the Towns Women's Guild, WI and Conservatives.
After waiting almost 13 years for a child I was born in 1965. It goes without saying I was the apple of her eye. She made my childhood and indeed my whole life special. From our long country walks, through our shared love of reading to helping her with her charity collections, Mum instilled in me the many qualities that shone from her and which I can only attempt to emulate: kindness, gentleness, honesty, honour and duty.
Mum could be remarkably stubborn, wonderfully loving and was generous to all with her time, her knowledge and her affection. Her fantastic sense of humour made everyone around her smile, often self depricating she had a superb sense of the ridiculous never better attuned than when scrutinising my Dad and I.
Mum fought hard and long against her incapacity. Her passing has left my dad utterly bereft and yet he has faced the challenges today brought bravely and with enormous dignity. He makes me proud as I am also proud to be my mother's son.