Celebrating Mum's life

Zandra's funeral was held at noon on Friday 5th January 2024.


Sadly she passed away at home on Friday 17th November 2023 and was taken into the care of the coroner.  They concluded she had a stroke and we hope her end was quick and she didn't suffer.


The family felt that by the time the coroner had released her to the care of Pearce Funeral Services there was insufficient time to arrange her funeral before Christmas.  Therefore we chose the first available date afterwards.


This page contains the highlights of the service and the link to the livestream recorded during the service.  We are conscious the quality of the livestream is not brilliant and hope you enjoy the highlights collated on this page.


We have a few copies of the Order of Service left and if you'd like a copy please email chris@chriskent.com and we'll be happy to send you a one.

The Service


Arrival & Welcome

Zandra arrives to Jerusalem

sung by Katherine Jenkins

Introduction

& Opening Prayer



We do not have the transcript of Rev Ashby's address so please refer to the livestream

Hymn

Lord of all Hopefulness


Tributes

James' Tribute

Mum not “Mother”, that would get a frown!

Let me share a few stories and adventures she had.

As a Milk lady, she delivered in the town Centre up some VERY steep streets.

One delivery she remembered all her life. It was to the very top of Morse Street to an American family that received a crate of milk daily.

Upon taking the crate to the door on this frosty morning, she turned to see her milk float slipping gracefully down the hill backwards. As she gave chase, she also ended up on her bum sliding down the hill a few meters behind.

Alas with the lack of cars nothing got hit as the milk float came to rest on a curb, but what a funny sight that must have been, as she got up to a round of applause.

As children, we enjoyed clubs away from school. Cubs, scouts, swimming, and music amongst others.

I always remember the night I had Scouts and proudly she had sewn my new badges on. The only problem was she had sewn the shirt together!

Sewing was not Mums strongest gift.

However, wherever we went, we were starched and crease free!

We always enjoyed family holidays to Devon and Cornwall with Dad generally having done a job on a customer’s car for use of their caravan.

The Vanden Plas would be loaded with 4 children, Mum, Dad, Nan, Danny our Boxer dog and Fee-Fee, Nans Blind Poodle.

It was a squeeze, often with luggage on our laps, no seat belts were used, and we all survived to tell the tales.

One of Mums jobs for many years was a minibus driver doing school runs for special needs children requiring an escort to travel along side.

Mum, you know said kids were “good for you” but couldn’t ever tell you this, but whenever I was behind you, you were on two wheels doing 50 in a 30, that’s why kids were good, they were holding on tight for dear life and I think your Escorts tried wearing two seatbelts!

On the driving subject, I really think you scared James Junior taking him from Sainsburys to the M4 on the A419 dual carriageway, ON THE WRONG SIDE OF THE ROAD!

So glad you got to meet Kieran, your latest Grandchild. It’s comforting to know I’ve managed to get lots of smiles and laughter on camera from a happy, proud Nan!

Lots of tales and fond memories, some very sad times but on balance lots of laughter, set by a strong willed, very short, much-loved Mum.

Peace at last, returning to amongst others Dad and Dawn.

Until we are reunited,


James

Caroline's Tribute

Tribute to my Mum

Thank you for being here today with us to celebrate the wonderful life of Zandra - who I was honoured to be able to call my mum.

We are all feeling the void of her passing where life for so many years has been filled with her in it. For some you will have known Zandra for many of those decades and it is a testimony today of the friendship and love that she shared. The encouragement and support to others she gave.

Mum - you have been my constant champion, encouraging me never to limit my dreams and to embrace life fully. 

You did that continually with your wise direction and kindness.

And you did that through example, showing such resilience and determination.

I’d like to share a story which really highlights this. Back in May, when Mum’s mobility had reached a point where she was no longer able to manoeuvre to lift her leg over the bath she reluctantly agreed to a walk in shower. With builders in, it was an ideal opportunity for us to go on holiday to Weymouth.

Whilst we were there, one afternoon we headed along a short distance to see the harbour, with mum shuffling along slowly pushing her wheelie walker. Her eyes lit up when she saw people waiting for a trip on one of the boats.

It had been years since she had the chance to do something like that and the inkling of adventure sparked a determination to get on too. She pushed her walker a fraction faster in that direction.

I looked around daunted by the fact that we were several meters above the jetty, with steep steps descending. Mum was already heading determinedly towards the steps. I asked her how she thought she might get down and she replied she didn’t know but she was getting on that boat.

Thankfully a local redirected her to a steep ramp which was still a precarious obstacle for her to negotiate. 

Every shuffle descending down I worried about how we would make it back up again, even before we considered how to get on the boat in the first place, especially if getting into a bath was already too much.

I tried to point this out along the way, but Mum didn’t want to know, she kept heading in the direction she had determined and we inched forward with me stopping her slipping forward to quickly. 

When we arrived at the side of the boat, the waves lapping around, I still had no idea how we were going to get her in. She quickly commissioned several men to assist and between them they lifted her and the walker over the side into the boat.

The next hour mum had a wonderful time, the wind in her hair and a smile on her face of achievement, excitement and utter enjoyment. There were times when  the thought of how on earth we would be able to get her off the boat and then back up the steep ramp crossed my mind, but mum’s determination to enjoy the moment was infectious.

I’ve thought of that afternoon many times since and it has inspired. The determination she showed to enjoy that moment of life, to have the wind in her hair as we sped across the sea, the spray of waves making us laugh.

That afternoon summed up so much of mum’s personality.

Her utter defiance to have anything hold her back from experiencing all that life had to offer, despite any apparent obstacles.

It’s that legacy that she empowered us with as her children over the years.

Mum, you showed Dawn and I how to be courageous women, to widen our sphere of influence through compassion and love and you truly were the best example to us of how to be a mum. 

The fragrance of your life will continue to inspire me, mum. 

The undilating belief and confidence you gave me will continue to direct my steps as I walk into the future, with you forever in my heart.

I know your presence in my thoughts will continue to bring me comfort and strength, as they have the past few weeks as we come to say goodbye.


Caroline

10,000 Reasons by Matt Redman

Chris' Tribute

What do you say when you get up to share a few words about a life that spanned eight decades? 

How can you sum up a person in just a few poignant words?

The famous comedian and actor Spike Milligan allegedly had “I told you I was Ill” engraved on his headstone.  A true reflection of his humorous character.

As I pondered a suitable epitaph for mum, just two words kept coming to mind – “Always There”.

And that for me – and I’m sure for James and Caroline, and all her grand and great grand children – this also bodes true…

Always There on the end of the phone whenever we wanted to call.

Always There to celebrate birthdays, Christmases, New Year and other family events.

Always There in a time of need.


Born in London in 1940 just before The Blitz mum’s early life was traumatic.  She was soon evacuated to Swindon where she spent her childhood with her foster family.

Her father, Tim Cave, was a noted musician and had his own band.  He often toured during and after the war, and even had his own weekly radio show which mum would listen to with enthusiasm.

During the show Tim would dedicate a tune to his daughter and she was Always There to listen to her Dad.

Sadly, he died suddenly of a heart attack when she was just eleven.

Post war London posed its challenges, and especially so for a young widow and her daughter.

Mum’s family valued education very highly.  Nanny Cave was determined to provide mum with the best education she could despite the hardships faced in post war Britain.

Mum stayed in Swindon attending a private school in Old Town before going to college to learn secretarial skills which later served her so well in life.

She was very fond of her school colours of purple and green – hence the invitation to wear purple today!

After leaving college she had several jobs – often concurrently.  From the milk round in the morning, to a day job at Vickers Aircraft Factory which led to her meeting Dad.  Plus tending to her pony at either end of the day.

All jobs and responsibilities where she needed to be reliable – and Always There.


In my early years I did not always enjoy the best of health and was often off school with asthma and bronchitis.  Mum wanted to ensure I didn’t fall behind in my schoolwork and took to home tutoring.

Education was as important to her as ever, and she was most certainly Always There making sure I read my books, did my sums, and knew about things I sometimes wondered whether even my teachers were aware of!

I often looked forward to getting better and going back to school for a rest!

But it didn’t stop there, during school holidays she would set us tasks to help us develop, for example, our numerical skills.  I recall the summer of the “Times Tables”.  She was Always There every morning coaching and testing Dawn and I before we were allowed out to play in the summer sun.

And I know she was Always There to encourage James and Caroline develop their educational skills too.

Returning from school each day was another ritual.  Mum was Always There to greet us and keen to hear about our day.  

Dinner was Always There on the table before we went swimming, to band and orchestra practice, and other clubs such as Boys Brigade and Brownies.

The seasonal concerts we played in saw a familiar face in the audience – mum was, again Always There offering an encouraging smile.


Just before Dad retired at 65, he was diagnosed with cancer.  The prognosis was not good, and he sadly died shortly after – actually on the morning of their 40th Wedding Anniversary. 

Again, mum was Always There for her husband, children, and family.  Loyalty without limits…

After her eldest daughter, Dawn, died 8 years later life again changed.  Especially for her two eldest grandsons James and Marcus.

Mum soon adopted a new role, first caring for James, and latterly Marcus – being Always There for both of them, as she had been for us in our formative years.

Although there were times when I know young James felt his ‘Street Credibility’ was – shall we say – “Somewhat Compromised” by his grandmother’s presence. 

Particularly when he got himself into a bit of bother with some ‘interesting characters’ he befriended who enjoyed sharing ‘Alternative Medication’.

I recall her telling me of one occasion when she escorted James to his friends den to settle an account. 

“My pension does not stretch that far” she sternly informed a certain young man who, she mused, “would not look out of place in a Zombie movie”

Taking the opportunity to share her extensive knowledge of life, the universe, and the benefits of supplies purchased from Holland & Barrett, she encouraged Zombie Zak to seek a more mainstream lifestyle.

She must have had an effect because he subsequently escorted her to her car and opened the door as she concluded her lecture.    Super Gran strikes again!

And I think young James was quite relieved she was Actually There on that occasion!

One talent mum did have was that she could – and would – speak to anyone from any and every walk of life.

An admirable talent she drew upon as she travelled the world – with dad and on her own.

Trips to China, India, Greece, and Israel they shared together.

Kenya, Canada, Peru, Egypt and a trip down the Amazon she ventured solo but part of a larger group.

Every story that came back with her was about the people she met that made each trip so memorable.


Her talent to talk was a real asset in several of the part-time jobs she enjoyed, including:

  • as a door step cash collector for Shop-A-Check,
  • delivering lunchtime meals to several schools throughout the town,
  • or the 26 years she spent driving a minibus on the school run.

Always There to collect the weekly payments and have a chat.

Always There to ensure the pupils were fed.

Always There to collect and return an array of mentally and physically handicapped youngsters to their special needs school from all around the town.


After Dad died, she fulfilled a long-held ambition to own rental property.  She attacked this new venture with the same gusto as teaching us our Times Tables.

Her flair for experimenting with interior design and an occasional overzealous compassion for her tenants, meant she did not always get her just financial rewards. 

But that didn’t matter because she wanted to ‘provide a home not just rent a house’.

We recently discovered several letters from grateful tenants spanning two decades.  She viewed them almost as family, and when problems arose or someone needed a helping hand, again, she was Always There.

90% of the time it worked, but the other 10% presented new stresses and challenges. 

These became sources for new stories, along with the stories of her travels, to be shared over a cup of tea.

An experience I know some of you will have also enjoyed.


Mum moved in to 3 Church Street in 1962.  She spent the rest of her life there, and was always pragmatic that one day it would come to an end.

She often joked that when the time came, we’d find a few surprises. 

During the many many business related discussions we had about the houses, especially over the last 5-6 years, she would take notes scribbling in shorthand – a skill she learnt at college and practiced until the end. 

In fact, I recall my entire life seeing squiggles of shorthand on the calendar and various post it notes dotted around the house.  Something else that was Always There!

She often told me - with some glee I might add - that when the time came, I would not have a clue what she’d written – She was right!

Mum was keen on keeping paperwork - On many envelopes I found a squiggle of shorthand in the top left-hand corner. 

I noticed that these hieroglyphics bore a striking resemblance to one another.

But what was the secret code?

Google Translate seemed a good place to start.  With phone camera in hand, I set on Google its task to dutifully return a translation which reflected the guarded contents.

Its reply?

“Paperwork”

Now either Google AI is in its infancy when it comes to translating shorthand, or mum was having a laugh – I suspect the latter!

Mum was always pragmatic, and we had many ‘end of life’ discussions. It was her desperate wish that she should pass away in the home she loved for so many decades.

Despite our loss, it is comforting to know we helped her achieve that goal. 

Sadly, she passed away in the dining room of number 3 just 3 feet away from where dad died 21 years ago.

Perhaps this was a fitting end – and certainly the end she prayed for.

Her prayers were answered.

Today her final journey down Church Street started at number 3 and will conclude as we lay her to rest with Dad and Dawn in family plot number 3.

A place of peace. A place to rest. A place to reflect and remember – and mum, like Dad and Dawn – will be Always There.


Readings & Prayers

Bible Reading - 1 Corinthians 13 (verses 1-8)
Rev’d Ludo Kadayer


If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love,

I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.

If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge,

and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.

If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,

but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast,

it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, 

it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails.


Address

Rev’d Phil Ashby

Prayers

Rev’d Phil Ashby

We do not have the transcript of Rev Ashby's address so please refer to the livestream


Lord’s Prayer

[Feel free to say the words together]

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.

Your Kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. 

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.

Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours.

Now and for ever.

Amen.


Mum's Final Journey


Order of Service