A tribute to our beloved Sharon as wife of John and mother to Mike and loved by all her family and friends in London and Bristol. Still missed every day
A copy of the Eulogy at Sharon's funeral service
I thought I would use a book theme for this Tribute as Sharon had a voracious appetite for reading and if anyone wants a few hundred used and well thumbed books we have shelves full of them
Sharons mum and dad came across from Jamaica separately in the 1950's to provide a better life for themselves. As part of Sharons degree course she sat with dad to understand their background and upbringing. He summarised it as tough, hard, poor and disciplined but loving. They both came across to the UK with no money settled in the East End of London, moved to Paddington met and soon married. Dad worked a night shift in an East End factory and they moved to Chiswick buying cheap property with sitting tenants and struggling to get a mortgage being "non white" in the 1950's Britain.
Then were born Ray, Lorna, Carlton and Sharon within 4 years of each other.
Chapter 1 – The Early Days
You will hear from Lorna later that Sharon "was the spoilt one" of the family but all I heard of her early days were the fun and enjoyment she had first at Strand on the Green Primary and then Brentford Girls School (where she became Deputy Head Girl). She told me that for the journeys to both schools were memorable for having to walk a few steps behind her big sister Lorna for being the embarrassing younger sister. Other memories she told me of were of the tenants in the house never paying their rent and her mum being "rent collector in chief" ; dad working nights and coming home as they all went to school and sometimes finding live crabs in the bath that he had brought home after stopping off at Billingsgate market; fighting with her older brothers and sister and especially Carlton's Chinese burns!!; knicker-bocker glories in Wimpy on a Sunday and lots and lots of food – West Indian of course and mum and dad's speciality Goat Curry, Rice and Peas and chapattis the love of which passed along the line to the grandchildren
Chapter 2 – Working Days
She worked in Chiswick M&S as a Saturday supervisor then her first real job was with Guinness where I first came on the scene ( I'm delighted that Marie is here today as she was our mutual friend and so introduced us. Then she worked KPG in IT recruitment in Richmond and then helped to set up her own business SMD in Ealing. Here she met Lynn, her best friend. On the night of Sharon's death Lorna, Carlton, Linda, Lynn and Roy were chatting over our 20th pot of tea and Lynn and I told just a few of the stories from these days of being young, carefree and working with recruitment sales people. It is fair to say that Carlton and Lorna were shocked with what their "prim and proper well behaved" younger sister got up to and that they never knew any of this. Needless to say she blamed Lynn for it all and I know that blame was reciprocated. Perhaps Lynn and Roy can tell a few of these stories later in the evening and the Bristol friends can probably add a few of their own in a similar vein.
We also spent lots of time with Andrew and Debra and Maria and Roger and of course Ray, Lorna and Carlton as we all lived in the same house. There are many memories from these carefree days
Chapter 3 – Motherhood
We being mature and needing to be seen as yuppies in the late 80's we moved from Chiswick to Teddington and bought our first homes and soon (to follow the trend amongst our friends) along came Michael. Sharon gave up work – never to return and devoted her life and efforts to looking after her two boys. Mike it is fair to say was a lot easier to cope with than the older one. Again memories are of carefree days with laughter with cousins and friends in each others houses and gardens, in Sharon's mum and dad's house in Chiswick, journeys to Wales to my parents and again hours spent in their garden, walks and picnics in Bushey Park and along the river. There are also many fond memories of family holidays in North Wales and Centre Parks with the Rees's, in Spain with the Kernahans and Williams's and in the Cotswolds and Derby with the Rees's and Barretts.
Chapter 4 – Bristol Days
Thirteen years ago we uprooted from West London to Bristol due to my work. Mike went to Elmlea and met many really good friends and its good to see so many faces from those days here today. Sharon joined the JSA and she spent many happy hours in committee meetings and then more productive times around other peoples houses making the real decisions. I remember the many hours preparing for the Summer and Christmas fetes especially my dad's car coming up from Wales each year chock full of plants and flowers for the stalls and the hours we spent making the Christmas table decorations for the sale!!!!
2002 and 2003 were exciting. Having moved the family from London to Bristol I promptly got a job back in London, Sharon started her degree course at Bristol University and Mike went to Colston's. Sharon of course took it all in her stride – she sailed through the degree course with the help of her friends Nadia, Maria and Claire – settled Mike into his new school and ironed my shirts on a Sunday night whilst I got ready for my 5 am start on Monday. She managed all of this through the support of all her friends in Bristol especially Sheena and Anne whereas I only had Ray and Carlton to fall back on for our Wednesday evening pub visits.
Then there were of course the hours stood on the touchlines of both Clifton and Colston's watching rugby. I especially remember the many times spent with Paul, Brad, the two Andys, Des and myself watching and analysing every nuance of every move and option chosen by the boys and Karen, Verity, Kath, Jen and Sharon sheltering from the wind and rain discussing recipes and the boys schooling – I do though exempt Theresa from this category as she analysed the matches in far more detail than the men.
Chapter 5 – Travelling
We loved travelling and seeing the world. Sharon and I travelled to Canada and the USA and most of Europe as well as honeymooning in China, Hong Kong and Bali.
With Michael we went to Paris, Barcelona, Rome (for Sharon's first ever rugby match Wales vs Italy), Spain, Majorca, Minorca, Crete, New England for the Fall, New York, Mexico, Morocco, Dubai ( a few times even though Sharon hated it), Hong Kong and Bali. Each of these trips were brilliant in their own ways and the photos from them all invariably have Sharon smiling and looking lovely – in my thoughts she was happiest and most relaxed on those trips although that may sound a trifle selfish.
Chapter 6 – The Final Chapter
As you all know Sharon had been poorly for the past year and I'd like to mention all the excellent treatment she had from the NHS both at the BRI and the Oncology Centre. I have to mention her GP, (Mike Cohen who I am delighted is here today). Sharon was on the Elmlea JSA with Mikes wife Michaela but in truth we didn't know Mike all that well. As well as all the medical advice and treatment at all hours of the day he dispensed he also visited Sharon at any time including the evenings and weekends and gave wise counsel and advice to us both at all times. I also want to thank all the staff at St Peter's Hospice who were all wonderful to Sharon, Mike and myself over the past month when Sharon became weaker.
Epilogue – Michael
As I have mentioned I worked away in London a lot and so Sharon and Michael as well as being mother and son were also very close due to the support they gave to each other – even though that did mean they ganged up on me when I got home on the Thursday evenings and for the rest of the weekend. She couldn't have been prouder of the way he has grown and developed and now become a man. The only time she became melancholic through her illness was when she thought of the future and that she wouldn't be there to see his milestones in life although she never once worried about what he would achieve in life – she was always confident that he would be happy and successful .
Every one of all the cards of sympathy that Mike and I have received over the past week mention Sharon's smile and all we would ask is that when you think of Sharon in the future it is that smile and her generosity of spirit that instantly come to mind. I will miss all the discussions and chats plus her innate good sense and wisdom – she was always more intelligent than me - but also the laughs, friendship her beauty and especially that smile.
In lieu of Christmas cards this year - a far better use of the money All our love always John and Mikey xx
To Sharon on your birthday and forever xx
Well done Paul on running the 10k. Always happy to support St Peter's Hospice, and particularly in memory of Sharon.
Sponsoring Paul Rendell in the Bristol Race