Daphne was an only child. By the time she was 11, her parents
had divorced and she went to live in Birmingham with her cousins, many miles from her mother and father. She
soon got rid of her Somerset accent and quickly learned fluent Brummie. Despite the disruption, Daphne
always told us she had a happy childhood. She loved the company of her cousins after being on her own.
Some of you may be surprised to learn that when Daphne was 17, she
joined the Wrens. You will be even more surprised to know that we have a photograph of her in the hockey
team, but it's not clear whether she was actually playing or just posing. By
her early twenties, Daphne had become our Mum. When we were both at school, Mum found a job and was
soon working full-time. Even as teenagers, we were incredibly proud of her. She looked
half the age of the other mums and twice as glamorous. She was becoming our best friend as well as our
mother. But Mum wasn't perfect - as children, we were always disappointed with her lack of any kind of
sporting ability. Her idea of an active holiday was climbing onto a lilo in the hotel swimming pool.
How many people do you know who can do an Eskimo roll on a slippery lilo without getting a single hair on their head
wet? When we started our own families, Mum turned into the
perfect grandmother, known to her four grandchildren as "Banny". She was always there when we
needed her, but she was pretty unique amongst grandmothers in never trying to give advice on how to bring up our children.
Her grandchildren loved their holidays with Banny and they always
looked forward to her babysitting. As Mum entered her fifties,
it was our turn to be the concerned parents, trying to keep tabs on her as she travelled the world, enjoying life to the full
and making friends wherever she went. But Mum
enjoyed staying at home too. With Rosie her cat on her lap, Mum loved to watch Coronation Street ... and
Eastenders ... and Emmerdale .... indeed just about any soap she could. She
also liked Neighbours, and, of all the countries she travelled to, she particularly loved Australia, and her friends down
under always looked forward to her visits. At heart, she was an Aussie: laid-back, with a great
sense of fun and getting on with people from all walks of life. She was always happy when she had a holiday
planned, and in June this year, when anyone else would have been in hospital, Mum was enjoying herself in Turkey on what was
to be one last holiday in the sun. During the last few weeks
of her life, Mum allowed us to take care of her, something we had never done before, try as we might. She
had planned that friends would visit when she felt stronger, but sadly that was not to be. But at the end,
she knew how much she was loved by all of us.