A Big Fat Thanet Funeral

My mother died recently at the age of 86 after a brief illness and I haven’t even begun to understand how much I will miss her companionship. While we haven’t been gadding about the Mediterranean together for a couple of years now, we have still been able to enjoy Summers on the East Kent coast and to the last she remained a loyal audience for my stories from across the globe. It was lovely to have someone who was always keen to hear about yet another remote set of ruins and I especially valued her insights on the social and economic conditions that I encountered in some of the further flung destinations.

Here are a few pictures of her lovely funeral which, with the help of so many local people, we were able to make into the type of occasion that we know she would have enjoyed. There were one or two tense moments such as when I realised that I could not afford a floral tribute from each of the great grandchildren and resolved to make my own. Mum would have laughed to see me getting tangled up in blooms and florist’s wire at nearly midnight but I was much relieved to find that my sister had also laboured long into the evening to produce her gorgeous (and delicious) decorated cup cakes.

The English, Scottish and Irish theme was chosen in honour of Mum’s Celtic ancestry but when I decided to leave her Irish bouquet in Rochester Cathedral on the way home (and sneak a visit to the travel section of Baggins Bookshop) I fell foul of the seasonal shopping maelstrom. Finding a parking place was no joke but then I discovered I had no change for the machine and, complaining loudly, had to negotiate the crowds to get to a cash point. Somewhat flustered, I returned after ten minutes to find that Rochester City Coucil had granted a special free parking day for the Christmas shoppers and I didn’t need to feed the machine after all. Mum would have loved that story far more than any soppy gesture involving a bunch of flowers.

Both my parents loved Kent and enjoyed a happy and fulfilled retirement in Thanet. Special thanks are due to:

St Michael’s Nursing Home, Westgate-on-Sea

Blackburns Funeral Directors, Broadstairs

Our Lady Star of the Sea Roman Catholic Church, Broadstairs

Thanet Big Sing Community Choir, Margate

The Swan Public House, Westgate-on-Sea

Categories: Britain, East of England


  • Sandy says:

    What a beautiful ceremony and with that magnificent carriage! I am so sorry for the loss, but you certainly sent her off in grand style. She would have loved it!

  • Blackburns Funeral Service says:

    Hello Nicola,

    Thank you so much for forwarding this to us; it was lovely to read and to look at the photographs from the day.

    Your trip sounds incredibly exciting and we all wish you a wonderful and safe journey.

    With very best wishes for a peaceful Christmas and New Year,

    Jackie & Colin at Blackburns

  • Maria L Poburan says:


    Although I never met your mother I would think she would be proud of the beautiful words and ceremony dedicated to her. My condolences to you and your family.


  • Chris says:

    It was a lovely service, I’m so glad the people of Thanet did you all proud.

  • nicola ainsworth says:

    Yes, everyone in Thanet was so kind and helpful. RAMSGATE deserves to come into the picture as well because, when Miranda & I missed our appointment due to the Christmas shopping crowds, the Registrar gave up her tea break for us so that we could get everything completed in one day.

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