A Poem read at Mary's Funeral
T ell me not, in mournful numbers,
Life is real! Life is
Not enjoyment, and not
Art is long, and Time is
In the world's broad field of battle,
Trust no Future, howe'er
Lives of great men all
Footprints, that perhaps
Let us, then, be up and
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
A description of Mary Arnold's Funeral
Mary Arnold was cremated on Friday July 18th in accordance with her requests.
The funeral cortege left her Flat at Starley Road for the memorial service at St Barbera's Church Earsldon. It consisted of a Rolls Royce Hearse, followed by her own Ford Limousine (which she had expected would one day serve for this purpose) A second old fashioned Rolls Royce Limousine brought up the rear.
The Church was full with friends and colleagues, including the Lord Mayor and several councillors and officers, wishing to pay their respects. There were also Members of Parliament and ex Members of Parliament present not to mention many disabled people who had known her. It was a good job the church was accessible or she would have risen up and given us all a lecture about it otherwise.
The service was taken by the rev. Tim Brooke, who had known Mary through her work for Arthritis Care having been president of the association.
There were two hymns. The 23rd Psalm and "Now thank we all our God" to give thanks for Mary's life and work. Her eldest son Laurence read a poem, selected by her youngest Marcus entitled a "Psalm of life" by Longfellow, which was extraordinarily appropriate.
The reading was taken from the Beatitudes which was very appropriate as she had never asked for any reward or recognition for her work while she was alive.
The reading was given by Norma Jardine, secretary of Coventry Council of Disabled People. She had lost her own mother a year ago, and inspite of all had bravely accompanied Mary into hospital.
After the service Mary was cremated privately at the Canley Crematorium, which ajoins the road where she had grown up. Her ashes were scattered over the same rosebed as her own mothers as she wished and Laurence played a phrase from "There is a Green Hill far away" as he had promised, years before, but not expected to have to do so soon.
During the committal two tapes were
played, which were requests she had asked to be played
whenever she was in hospital. "Memories" from
the musical cats and "Dem Dry Bones", which
added a sense of humour. Anyone who has seen Dennis
Potter's Singing Detective will remember the scene where
the doctors and nurses burst into song at the bedside.
Mary is commemorated on her husbands headstone and by a plantation of trees at Barbour Wood, Gloucestershire. the epitaph is the same, chosen by a friend "In memory of Mary Arnold A Champion who fought for others"
|Copyright © 1998 Laurence
This page was created on, Sunday October 25th 1998,
Revised Saturday April 28th 2001