Eulogy for Molly Tabramby Nick Tabram

Molly Tabram sitting on a fallen tree circa 2006

Thank you all for coming today to celebrate the life of Molly Tabram. Today is a difficult and emotional day but it is a comfort to see such a big turn out, a timely reminder of how well regarded Molly Tabram was amongst her family and friends.

Molly Tabram’s character was defined by a number of sterling qualities which endeared her to many. She was loyal, compassionate, resolute, always straightforward and direct in her motives. She also made a mean Apple Crumble and had an uncanny ability to win at Monopoly whilst apologising profusely.

A devoted wife, Molly Tabram was married to Dad for just shy of 45 years.

Molly Tabram was never happier than when they were out for a walk together, appreciating the countryside, pointing out its abundant wildlife and visiting many historical buildings along the way to soak up the atmosphere.

It’s true that they had more than their fair share of difficult times but it never seemed to dampen their love for one another.

Molly Tabram was a fantastic mother to Pete and I; nurturing, kind, always putting our needs above her own. True, she could be strict at times but that swung both ways. She had our backs and would always fight our corner whatever the circumstances. She was completely dependable and always there to pick up the pieces.

For many years I took this for granted but more recently I came to appreciate it a great deal. Particularly since becoming a father myself. I came to realise that consistently being there, in body and in mind, no matter what, is no easy task and I feel so lucky and so grateful to have had a mother who was capable, devoted and committed to us as children and adults.

Molly Tabram loved being a grandmother a great deal, and Leo and Teddy loved their granny right back. Her visits over to Buckinghamshire to spend the week with Leo were always one of the highlight of any given year. Teddy had a beaming smile and a wave reserved especially for his granny.

Molly Tabram was a great friend to many over the years. During our time living in Clare she made a great deal of friends throughout the community and in particular surrounding the church.

Once we moved to Chedburgh Molly Tabram became an active member of the Chevington WI and made many new friends there over the years. Being an avid walker Molly Tabram formed part of a group of friends who met regularly for hikes and they spent many happy hours trudging up and down muddy byways, filling the fields with laughter and having exhaustive conversations about everything and nothing.

Molly Tabram was also a regular member of the U3A and for a time lead their Churches and Villages Group. She enjoyed a great many trips out to the age-old buildings of East Anglia, alongside the good friends she met along the way.

Molly Tabram was enthralled by history and found the trips to these ancient halls of spirituality totally absorbing. She loved exploring the architecture, learning about how they were built and finding out about the many people who had crossed their thresholds. She had a vivid imagination inspired through years as a prolific reader and she used to love imagining the lives of the many people who visited these buildings for worship, counsel and going about their daily business. Foremost I believe she was interested in people and trips to these historic places enabled her to explore their lives and bring them to life more colourfully.

When thinking of ways to illustrate Molly Tabram’s character, one of the things which immediately sprang to mind was that she loved to drive. Not necessarily something you might associate with her. She clearly took a great deal of pleasure in the freedom afforded by the open road. She would often undertake the lion’s share of driving on any given journey. She was also an excellent navigator, her routes always meticulously planned to take in the maximum number of garden centre coffee shops.

She was also not adverse to a bit of heavy footed overtaking action. Sticking behind a slower moving vehicle just wasn’t Molly Tabram’s style. I can see her now, eyeing a clear section of road ahead, knocking it down a couple of gears and flooring it, executing a perfectly timed over-taking manoeuvre. She would then slow to the speed she wanted to travel at, and carry on merrily with the conversation.

Her assertive nature also extended to her conduct in the face of perceived road-based injustice. All forms of bad driving by other road-users was invariably met with swift retribution: a long and liberal blast of the car horn designed to alert the perpetrator to Molly Tabram's dissatisfaction. Pete and I would generally sink red-faced behind the dashboard and complain, ‘Oh Molly Tabram’ but undeterred, she would sit tall behind wheel, justice served, righteousness without question.

Out from behind the wheel, Molly Tabram could be quite direct in other walks of life. As a former employee of the Regional District Council her telephone manner could be described as verging on the austere, particularly if interrupted in the middle of preparing a meal. Many a cold caller received short shrift for their interruption and this lead her to garnering something of a reputation amongst my school friends.

They were all terrified of phoning, hoping I would pick up the phone instead. Generally though Molly Tabram would answer and continue to exhaustively question them about their exact reasoning for calling during meal time.

On another occasion she secured this reputation, I believe somewhat knowingly, during an introduction to a friend of mine who’d come to visit for the day. We’d been out on our motorbikes, got caught in a rain shower and soaked through. Upon returning home I lent the friend some clothes whilst his dried off and we sat down to watch some TV. Molly Tabram returned home with Dad after an afternoon out. She came into the living room, pointed directly at my friend and said ‘Who are you? And why are you wearing my son’s trousers?’ And thus a legend was born.

Over the period of Molly Tabram’s illness she received a great deal of love and support from her friends; visiting her, sending cards and offering words of support. This buoyed Molly Tabram's spirits a great deal. There were also a number who helped out in others ways, sending meals and the like. On behalf of the family, I’d like to say a huge thank you.

Molly Tabram’s departure is going to leave a big hole in our lives. The world is most assuredly a less interesting place without her in it.

We love you Molly Tabram.