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Giving thanks for the life of Olwen Grey 1917 – 2015


Within our church and village we give thanks for the life of Olwen Gray, the oldest member of our church, who died on 28 December 2015 aged 98. A Service of Celebration was held at the Church on Monday 11 January 2016, led by Rev. Colin Mark, at which Colin gave this tribute to Olwen:

Olwen was born in Liverpool on 27th December 1917 and attended Arnott Street School.  After leaving school she worked at Jacobs Bakery as a wedding cake decorator.  She met Fred at Southport and moved to Middlesex shortly before they were married at Hendon in 1939.  Olwen remained a lifelong supporter of the Toffees – Everton Football Club, and even lived at one time on Everton Drive in Queensbury, Middlesex.

Fred worked for the De Haviland aero engine division in Middlesex for over 25 years, and Olwen was office manager for Rotoprint in Queensbury.  During this time Olwen and Fred spent many happy holidays with Olwen’s only brother Ken and his wife Norma, on the Adriatic coast.  Val was born in 1940 and Ken five years later.

In 1977 Olwen and Fred, with Ken, moved to Derbyshire and Olwen continued to put her cake decorating skills to good use at Homebake in Firs Parade, specialising in wedding and celebration cakes.  During her life Olwen made many wedding cakes for friends and family, and the one that gave her most pleasure was for her granddaughter’s wedding in 2009.  Sadly Fred died five years after the move in 1982.

Olwen was a founder member of Tansley Tuesday Club and had a wide circle of friends with who she spent many happy holidays.  She enjoyed attending ‘Cuppa Call-in’ at Holy Trinity Church on a Wednesday, was a regular passenger on the Community Bus’ into Matlock on a Thursday, and was often to be found on the ‘ladies table’ at ‘Soup & Sweet’ at this church on a Friday.

Olwen celebrated her 90th birthday with a large party for family and friends in the village hall, and was in reasonable health and good spirits for sometime thereafter.  However she became increasingly frail over last year and eventually went to stay in Ivanbrook  Nursing Home at Darley Bridge.  In June last year Olwen had a visit from her grandson Andrew, who lives in Australia, and from her great grandson Jamie while in Ivanbrook.  She celebrated her 98th birthday on the 27th of December, but was taken ill the following evening and after paramedics were called she was taken to Chesterfield Royal Hospital, where she died the same evening. 

Apart from the last few months Olwen led an active life involved in many things.  When I retired and began attending Tansley Chapel there was a row of four ladies in their later years, and Olwen was the last of them.  She was a lovely lady with a ready smile, but she didn’t suffer fools gladly, and if she disapproved of something you had said or done, she would tell you in no uncertain times.  Ken said that when she called him Kenneth he knew he was in trouble!  But for all of that not only will she be missed by the family, but by all who knew her.

We continue to pray for the family at this time.