When Doll first moved to Castor, she was concerned about how she , a London Cockney, would find village life. But with her open-hearted and open minded approach to life, she need not have worried.,,And despite the sadness she had know in life, she always relished life. She relished the view from the house across the fields She relished and grew to love this place and the people.
And we grew to llove her and her approach to life and people. She was broadminded, and forgiving; non-judgemental, taking people as she found them, direct yet thoughtful; she did not suffer fools gladly on occassions, yet also gentle. And caring.
Caring was something she learnt to do early in life. Her mother died when she was young, and as the only girl in a family of three brothers, she was left to look after her father and brothers. And this concern for the well-being and welfare of others stayed with her. While living in London she was a voluntary worker at the Mildmay Mission Hospital in Shoreditch, and then the St Joseph Hospice for the terminally ill in Hackney. And once she moved to Peterborough, she worked at the hospital and the cathedral again as a volunteer.
Doll was also realistic and courageous in the face of life’s difficulties, determined not to let things get her down, whether it was during the blitz in London, or personal sadness. She was some-one who had to come to terms with loss. Her first husband, Bill Ellison died when he was 47- she was devastated for it was a real love match. She later married John Hogg who died in 1990, but was always grateful and thankful that she had been given the chance to meet a second wonderful companion. Because of her openess, she made close friends easily. Friends like Stella Cawood in this village, and she was always close to her sisters-in-law, Alice, and another Doll. She and her daughter Carol, and her two granddaughters, Keeley and Jo, would be close friends and companions for each other as well as family .
She was adventurous. Much as she loved the things of home; cooking and home-making she also loved to travel, she went to Canada, Kenya and the far East in her , on her own., always ready to have a go- para-sailing in Penang at the age of 70. Some-one else called her a feisty woman- I looked it up in the dictionary to be sure whether it was appropriate. It said exuberant, spirited, not put down easily- I thought, that will do, for she was that too, as we were to find out at the end. She saw life as it was. Not long before she died she asked to have communion at home, and to be annointed. The next day she wrote a letter to Carol saying what she would like at her funeral. She was ready to go, and preparing for the next stage of the journey
As some-one who had cared for others, she did not find it easy towards the end, to be looked after. That has now changed. She who looked after others is now to be cared for herself. She who prepared a place for others, is now in a place prepared for her, a place in the house of our heavenly father. Her faith reflected her personality; it was direct , honest and straightforwrd, loving and giving, centred on the Beatitudes form the Sermon on the Mount which we heard earlier. She has mourned, now she will be comforted; she was merciful, she will find mercy, As a child of God she will be blessed, as shall we all when we, in our turn look on the face of our heavenly father. We let her go with sadness, accompanied by our prayers, symbolised by the incense, but with confidence in the faith that was hers and is ours. May she rest in peace. Amen.