Many of you will have read, in the last Villager, Nonie’s poignant note of thanks for her 20 happy years in the Village which was, sadly, to prove so true. I should like to write about the things I particularly remember about her.
She was born in Kuala Lumpur as her parents were working in Malaya. Her Father was British and her Mother Swedish and although Nonie had a great affection for Sweden, she was proud of her British nationality. When her older brothers were sent home to school in England in the early 1930’s her parents thought it best that she should stay with her Aunt in Sweden When someone as busy in the Village as Nonie was, leaves us, we are all affected in some way. Firstly, remembering her work on The Villager itself, for she typed and set out the proofs for the magazine, coping with everyone’s difficult handwriting. She also mastered the computer, after only having used a typewriter. Even to the last she was concerned as to how The Villager was going to be typed
Secondly, Nonie was deeply involved with Wallingford U3A. She had a great interest in their music group, but, perhaps, with even more dedication, looked after their outings and holidays. Basil and I were extremely fortunate in joining her on a trip to Sweden. We called briefly at the house where she spent her formative years which she was thrilled to show us. She also organised a most lovely holiday last September in Tuscany and Umbria taking in Ravenna and Urbino, two places we particularly wanted to visit. This was her strength, she was so good at arranging the things people wanted to do, rather than just picking out a standard holiday.
Nonie was keenly interested in Politics. She often urged me to look at Parliament on TV. She served as Secretary to Brightwell-cum-Sotwell Conservatives for many years and was a stalwart helper at all their functions.
We worked together on the Lunch Club committee for sometime. The meetings were great fun, sorting out menus for the coming months and working out who could help when. There always seemed to be a lot of crossings out and alterations at the end of the meeting but the outcome was a beautifully typed sheet from Nonie telling us all what had been arranged. I did suggest to her a little while ago that now some of us had reached a certain age we should retire. Nonie was reluctant to agree, while we were still able and people were enjoying the meal, we shouldn’t give up was her attitude. But Nonie’s life was not all work. She loved her bridge and played regularly in the Wallingford Club whilst still keeping her interest in the little group in Brightwell, where again she helped with the organisation. I was quite surprised when she told me she had joined a square dancing group in Sutton Courtenay which she really enjoyed. She was a regular Church goer and again a worker. Always ready to help was the message I was given when asking whether she had any specific duties. She was, incidentally, both a sidesperson and a member of the Community Committee.
Her attitude to her illness was unusual. I remember her saying to me “ I’m a perfectly healthy woman, and now I’ve got this cancer”. But going into the Sue Ryder Hospice changed this angry mood into one of peace and tranquillity. She really loved it there and could not speak too highly of the marvellous care she received from all the staff. She loved her room looking over the garden and looked so pretty surrounded by flowers from her many visitors and that’s how I and many others will remember her. A much loved friend and wonderful neighbour.