Today we laid mum to rest in with my Dad, in a beautiful cememtry in Sevenoaks. The sky was blue, the breeze soft and we began by listening to My Cathedral by Jim Reeves, (mum’s choice, link to youtube version below).
Well, that finished me off, before we’d even started.
Today we didn’t recall much of her life, as we all knew it anyway. There will be time enough for that at a Thanksgiving, yet to be arranged. But in case you didn’t know she did have an extraordinary life. Here is a little of her life story and some photos of today. As you can see from the photos all her grand-children were present in photo form.
Flora lived a full and extraordinary life, and her warm, caring nature enriched the lives of all she knew. Her cheerfulness and thankfulness for every little joy and kindness she experienced stayed with her right to the end.
She was born in the small village of Dalry in Ayrshire, Scotland, the youngest of three girls. Her voracious reading fuelled her love of travel and adventure, and at 24 she left Scotland to work as a telephonist in Salisbury Rhodesia (now Harare, Zimbabwe) She met and married Cedric Davies within a year, and Paul and Ruth were born in Salisbury before they moved to Indonesia where Sheila was born.
Political upheavals necessitated an evacuation from there, and the family was repatriated to Scotland before going on to live and work in Lagos, Nigeria. The family travelled extensively during this time, and she saw most of the world. Returning to the UK, she lived briefly in Cheltenham and Chester before settling in Sevenoaks, Kent for 40 years. Flora worked at Amhurst Medical Centre as a receptionist and was deeply involved in the life of the Vine Evangelical Church running various groups, being a friend to many and generally being the life and soul of that community. Widowed by Cedric’s sudden death in 1987, she travelled to India as a volunteer in an orphanage.
In 1992 she met and married Dr Bill Young and moved to his home in Underriver. They continued to travel extensively in the UK and New Zealand and East Africa. Following Bill’s death in 2013, she moved to Rugby to be nearer her children. She was a faithful member of St Georges, Hillmorton, and made many new friends, attending a different church lunch almost every day of the week. In January 2017 she moved to Dewar Close residential home where she settled very well and received loving care. For a while she attended Bilton Evangelical Church. She coped with the difficulties of advancing age with grace and humour, always delighting in the simplest things and appreciating those who cared for her. Her lifelong faith in God shone through her life and demeanour and gave her strength and courage to the end.
Flora died after a short illness on 15th April aged 90. She will be greatly missed by her children Paul, Ruth and Sheila. Grandchildren Rachael, Sarah, Alex, Chris, Paul, Emma and Matthew and seven Great Grandchildren, as well as other family and friends.
Flora and Cedric were very active members of the Gideons for many years, and Flora has requested that any donations made in her memory be given to the Gideons.
You can find a link to donate or simply make a comment on a memorial page here:
Rev Hilary Iredale took the service, thank you so much, Hilary.
The grand-children and other family members were represented.
Some of the cards I have received. Thank you so much. It has helped enormously to know that other people are thinking of us. And I’ve also been greatly blessed by those who have written emails or letters with memories of mum.
At the service today my sister read Psalm 91 and I read the poem below that Mum had requested for this moment. (When she wrote her autobiography for the family, she called it Stepping Stones). It fully expresses her life-long trust in God.
I stood at the bank of a river,
The stream flowing rapid and wide;
I felt at a loss as to how I might cross
and reach to the other side.
There were stepping stones crossing the river
and the stones were aligned to the way,
but the spaces were wide, exceeding my stride,
and I trembled, but dare not delay.
Now there was at my side an invisible guide
who had trodden the pathway before,
he had beckoned me on, and my fears were gone,
as I gazed towards the opposite shore.
So I conquered the fear, and my mind grew clear,
as I faced, not the stream but the stone;
and I stepped out strong and it was not too long
before the first foothold was won.
So on I trod, from stone to stone,
as times river flowed for and free;
at each hard stride came the voice of my guide,
“My grace is sufficient for thee”.
And now I’m alone on the farthest stone,
And the journey is almost o’er.
But I have no fear, for my Guide is near,
and will help me to step ashore.
by Arthur Lankaster
So, to the sweetest mum, thank you for your love, having you as my mum was one of the greatest privileges and blessings in my life.
Rest in peace… and rise in glory.
Here are some lovely words from one of Mum’s oldest friends from Sevenoaks days,
I was always rather amazed and amused that in the 1950s (when few travelled far) a young Scottish girl should respond to an advertisement for telephonists in Salisbury, Rhodesia, only to be swept off her feet by the first person to greet her at church on her first Sunday there. Flora had a very good memory about her time there and indeed of all her travels and time abroad, particularly in Nigeria and Indonesia So she could regale you for hours with stories of those experiences, which no doubt Paul, Ruth, you and all your children have heard many times! But it wasn’t just about life generally that she was always interesting, positive, cheerful, helpful, but it was of course her deep Christian faith that coloured her whole life and character. Some might say she could talk for Scotland! I wouldn’t disagree! But she could also talk for Christ and she had an appealing and effective way of conveying spiritual truths that resulted in her often be asked to give a message or appreciation which was always helpful.
So lovely Sheila – what an amazing woman!!! Prayers for you today Go gently
Reverend Kate Mier 3 Manor Mews, Studley B80 7PR
I met your lovely Mum at an Activate conference many years ago. Her character shone through straight away. Thinking of you Sheila and your family and sending prayers of comfort in your loss xx
I didn’t know your mum that well Sheila but knew she was a kind and faithful person when we first met. What an amazing life she has led.
May Gods strength continue to comfort you all. God bless you all. xx
What a beautiful tribute to your mum. Thinking of you all, and praying for peace and joy as you celebrate her life well lived x
I was so touched by the incredible story of your mum’s life. Mandy told me she was amazing, and it was wonderful to read just what an adventurous and faith-filled life she led! Thank you for sharing it.
It is so sad to hear the situation dictated an understated funeral but the celebration in heaven must be immense! I hope you have a jam-packed thanksgiving service when this is all over.
I would like to put this article on the website, would this be OK? I know a lot of Activate team and supporters knew Flora well, but even if they didn’t, we all need to read such a wonderful life story to inspire us to live dangerously.
From: Live Life Loved
Reply to: Live Life Loved
Date: Monday, 4 May 2020 at 17:50
To: Rachel Allcock
Subject: [New post] Farewell my lovely Mum
Sheila Bridge posted: “Today we laid mum to rest in with my Dad, in a beautiful cememtry in Sevenoaks. The sky was blue, the breeze soft and we began by listening to My Cathedral by Jim Reeves, (mum’s choice, link to youtube version below). Well, that finished me off, before w”
Dear Sheila, I have just read your special post. My thoughts were with you on Monday and I think it was a lovely service in a lovely place and a quiet, peaceful ending to your Mum’s life on God’s lovely earth.
Sent from my iPhone