25th January 2018
Patricia Gillian Thomson, affectionately known as Jill,
was born on the 5th August 1936 in the Nursing Home in Mansfield and in to a family who all had a lot of time for each other.
Rea was the eldest, then Jill followed by Clive then Peter who all lived with their parents in the Corner House in Mansfield.
During the war they relocated to a house on the banks of Lake Grassmere.
In 1946 the family moved in to 'The Academy' in Winthorpe, Nottinghamshire
She met her future husband, when, at 16 years old she and her mother attended a ball at the local Fleet Air arm base. I'm not sure if it was love at first sight, but later that night, whilst drinking a cup of tea, she felt that it must be, as she had this burning sensation in her chest and assumed that it was heart ache for Michael. It turned out to be the tea which poured down the front of her blouse!
This tea spilling ability is something she passed on to Mary a few years later and from Mary, to Emily.
Jill went to France as a nanny then to Spain. Her surname then was Hole, much to excitement and thrill of the local Spaniards who do not pronounce the H so she became known as Senorita Ole.
While she was in Spain, at the age of 20, Michael, on board a Royal Naval ship pulled in to Gibraltar and contacted mum. It had been many years since they first met and Michael wanted to know when she was going to commit. She agreed there and then to meet him on Gibraltar where they got engaged.
They were married in 1957 when Jill was 20 years old at The Church of All Saints and the Blessed Virgin Mary, in Winthorpe with all the family and friends gathered round.
In 1958, whilst back in Winthorpe and just 2 weeks before moving to Malta, I was born.
Whilst in Malta, Salvena was employed as my nanny so that Mum could take on a delivery job, she loved Mum like a sister,
One of her many stories included the time when she was speeding through the streets of Valletta with a package, a policeman flagged her down, she stuck her head out of the window and shouted as she passed, "Sorry, I can't stop I'm late" She lived for days in dread of the police finding out where she lived.
She had another boy in Malta, David, who died at three days old, in hospital. Later, after their return to the UK this was followed by two more still births. She fell pregnant again with Mary, but before the birth, Dad had a huge accident on his motorbike and with severe head injuries, was in a coma for many months. Mary was born during his absence and Mum was left to look after me at three years old and new born Mary.
This mantle was then added to when Dad was released from hospital.
Nothing seemed to phase her.
When money became really tight and Dad was having trouble holding down a job, they knelt down one evening and prayed for help.
Their prayers were answered the next day when her Mother rang and asked if she could help by taking us off her hands, so Mary and I were packed off to Granny and Grandpa's in Guernsey.
Shortly afterwards in 1964 Dad was offered the Vergers position in this church, which had a house attached to the position and so the family moved in to School House, next to the old school.
This is when Mum finally spread her wings, and the started the next chapter of her life.
Now, here is where I get stuck, do I keep you here for the rest of the day listing in detail the wondrous work she achieved over the next 53 years or shall I do a quick rundown and we can all expand on the many stories and recollections afterwards?
I think that afterwards would be better.
Jill, Mum, Granny lived a life of giving. This included:
- She was head Girl at School
- She Fostered 36 children
- She was Chairperson and Treasurer for the local branch of The Children Society for over 40 years.
- She was also Treasurer, Jump judge and general helper of the Axe Vale Pony Club for over 40 years.
- She was a guider and held one of the few camping badges in the area, which meant she had to lead the camps. She only stopped doing this when some of the children who were “Her young Guides” started sending their children to her to be guides. She said it made her feel old!
- She then became a Ranger Guider.
- She volunteered in the local Oxfam Shop
- She volunteered at the Slade Centre up at the Donkey Sanctuary working with the severely disabled children and the Donkeys. She used to walk up with a carrier bag and de-litter the hedgerows on her way.
- She always had one or two elderly people who she spent a lot of time caring for.
- She was in charge of the local Badminton Club,
- She was one of a group of ladies who met regularly to play cards.
- She survived Cancer with hardly a flutter of an eyelid.
- She loved the church and especially enjoyed the Country Fair.
- She was Captain of the Bells.
- She was in the Choir and loved to sing. She lost a crown during one service, while Singing "Tell out my soul[/quot] and chased it across the church to retrieve it.
- She was, after dad died, Verger of this church.
- She was a qualified LGV driver, passing her medical only a few weeks ago for another year of driving the huge lorries Mary and Emily transport their horses around Europe in. She loved driving but held a healthy respect for the horses, which to start with she hated almost as much as spiders, which she hated above all else.
- She was so very proud of all her grandchildren, and I assume her children as well.
- She loved family, friends and the church
- She volunteered at Messy Church in Sidmouth.
- She recorded for Talking Newspapers for the blind.
- She loved a good storm... she would go out in torrential rain and clear the drains, building channels for the water to run down to stop any flooding, or walk down to the beach to see what the storm had washed up and high seas.
- She kept a day by day account of rainfall and the maximum and minimum temperatures for over 30 years.
Last summer she said to me that she felt as young as ever and couldn't believe the wasn't 26 any more!
She has been described by so many people, as an Angel, a Saint, a Selfless, tireless and Incredible person and, every one of us here will have extraordinary memories of the things she gave to the community and the people she met both here and throughout the horse world. She has been a Granny and a friend to so many, a mother to 39 of us and a sister to Rea, Clive and Peter.
There is one last thing I would like to say, and that is that she would never, EVER, forget a birthday, so with that in mind, with Julia and my son, Andy's birthday today and Mary and David's Emily's birthday tomorrow, let's all sing Happy Birthday to them on her behalf.
Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday dear Andy and Emily
Happy birthday to you