On 31st May 1965 Betty was invited or rather commanded as the invitation card reads, to attend a Garden Party at Buckingham Palace to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of the W.I. She went on the train to London with several other members from the area and stayed overnight in a hotel. Her outfit for the grand occasion was a cream two piece suit, shoes and parasol with a cerise gloves and a big picture hat which was her pride and joy.
A much loved member of the community she was a founder member of many of the clubs like the Over 60’s Club which later became the Good Companions Club and she was on the Village Hall Fundraising Committee organizing raffles, whist drives, dances, jumble sales etc. and even went on a 10 mile midnight walk to raise money to build the new village hall in 1980. The village hall was always her pet fundraiser long after it was built. She was a weekly visitor to the Five Bells Nursing Home to support and take part in their activities and loved her bingo evenings at the surrounding villages.
Betty and Gus celebrated their Diamond wedding anniversary on June 4th 2009 followed by a party for close friends and relatives in the village hall two days later. A table displayed their cards and in the centre was one from the queen!
Both Betty and Gus spent weeks in hospital on several occasions during the next two years. Sadly Gus passed away in Grantham Hospital on April 29th 2011 and two days later Betty was rushed into Lincoln Hospital. She was back home in a couple of days helping Tim to arrange the funeral. The amazing lady she is Betty was soon back on her feet. I have memories of many happy village outings to Stately homes and gardens or just on shopping trips. One which I will never forget was the outing to York in 2012. We passed the travelling ‘big wheel’ on the way to the bus park. Betty turned to me with a twinkle in her eyes. She so wanted to go on it but knew that I didn’t like heights. “We’ll never get another chance,” she said. How could I refuse? It was a fine day and we could see for miles across the city. We even had our picture taken to prove that we had been on. That was Betty! She grabbed at life with both hands and lived it to the full.
Early in the new year of 2013 the big ‘C’ returned yet again for the 8th time! Poor Betty had to endure yet another operation in Lincoln Hospital followed by chemotherapy. In May 2014 it was even worse with the cancer spreading to her oesophagus. Back in Lincoln Hospital she had a stent fitted and given just 3 months but they didn’t know Betty. She refused to go into a Hospice and went home with carers three times a day and eventually a Marie Curie night nurse. Nothing could dampen her spirit and on warm days she sat in the conservatory, walked down the garden path and went out around the village in a wheelchair. Son Tim visited daily travelling all the way from Scunthorpe. She had a very loving and caring family and friends. Her aim was to reach her 84th birthday on September 28th and almost every day she would ask “How many more days to my birthday?” She reached her goal and went to the New Inn for a celebration glass of wine with her family. The fight had taken its toll and she lost her long battle a week later on Monday October 6th. Only for the last two days could she not get out of bed and be downstairs and dressed to receive her many visitors.
The funeral didn’t take place until November 3rd in order for distant family to attend. The cremation was in the morning at Grantham followed by a lovely memorial service in the afternoon. The church was packed and the hymns jolly. Tim read the eulogy which was very humorous at times and Barbara and Michaela read out poems. A little bird flew into the church which was very appropriate as Betty loved watching the birds on her many filled bird feeders in the garden. Afterwards there was gathering of family and friends at the New Inn. A happy occasion and Betty would have been so pleased.
Betty’s ashes were laid to rest with Gus in February 2015. Fundraising for a memorial bench made £575 with donations from clubs and individuals. The seat for Betty with inscribed plaque was delivered at the end of March and put in place outside the entrance to the Village Hall. A church kneeler was also worked in her memory.
God Bless you Betty Kate. We will always remember your happy smiling face and hear the tuneful whistling. (From Eileen Dorr)