Celebrating the life of Bonnie Ellicott

Celebrating the life of Bonnie Ellicott

This is the service page celebrating the life of Bonnie Ellicott – a long time member of Turramurra Uniting Church.

A service of celebration was held at TUC on Monday 6th February, 2023 and we attempted to record the service. Unfortunately, due to some weird technical glitch much of the audio is damaged and despite all our efforts, cannot be repaired. We are so disappointed as the sharing at the service was wonderful. We have attached the video of the service below but you will struggle to understand some parts of it. So, we are also attaching the text of the reflections and eulogy. We are so sorry for the inconvenience as we really wanted to share the service with everyone. We hope that you find the written reflections insightful and a great way to celebrate Bonnie’s life and faith.

Please Note: The audio on the following video has bad glitches in it. We are not sure how it happened and apologise. The text of the reflections and eulogy are below:

The second video is the photo montage used as part of the funeral service.

Reflection from Beth (daughter)

On behalf of our family I’d like to thank you all for joining us today to celebrate Mum’s life. She would be thrilled & a little overwhelmed to see so many of you here honouring her …so thank you….

I have had the amazing privilege of spending a great deal of time with Mum over the last few years.

The covid pandemic definitely had a silver lining for me. I wasn’t working for some time & also lived within the 5 km zone – so whereas some families couldn’t see their loved ones – I had the incredible joy of being able to see Mum every day….I will be eternally grateful for this time with her & know how fortunate I have been.

Throughout this time as she was clearly declining both physically & mentally – grappling with losing Dad & the loss of her own health & independence – what stood out to me- was that her intrinsic cheerful & optimistic nature as well as her strong values & the depth of her faith – never wavered.  

She was to the end focussed on LOVE – love of her God, love of her family & friends, love of animals (particularly our family dogs) & a near fanatical love of sport…

She was funny & engaging making friends wherever she went. Even as things got tough she still charmed everyone around her & never lost her inherent good manners & courtesy towards others. She could be very competitive though – particularly in sport – playing tennis for many years & was very proud of her golf ‘hole in one’. In latter years she loved coming with me to the Australian Open Golf where we were guests in one of the marquees right on the 18th hole!

Mum got involved in everything as we were growing up – coaching my Year 6 netball team to ultimate ‘glory’, tuckshop duties, the chauffeur & head cheer leader to endless sporting events, music festivals & speech nights. I can still see her sitting at the sewing machine for hours making my gorgeous BROWN Year 12 formal dress (yes brown, it WAS the 70’s), she was always in the kitchen baking & cooking wholesome meals with veggies straight from Dad’s garden – eventually expanding her repertoire from meat & 3 veg – to the very exotic at the time – beef stroganoff & spaghetti bolognaise. We were talking the other day about her famous croquembouche – which was a design & taste masterpiece & was very carefully transported to many a dinner party.  

She was always there when we got home from school …waiting with a hot cup of tea & a sympathetic ear. This continued our whole lives – as soon as any of us walked in the door the kettle went on immediately & something home-made was produced from the cupboard.    

If she hadn’t heard from me for a while the phone would ring & she’d leave a message saying ‘hello darling …it’s just your mother calling wondering how you are ’. She never really mastered the mobile phone even though she was desperate to have one. I had to write down the steps to sending a text message for her – starting with ‘turn the phone on’ ….I would often receive  some unintentionally funny messages from her.  

Mum loved her home & being at home & often questioned my endless love of travel. ‘Haven’t you been everywhere yet?’ she would often comment. Why don’t you just stay at home….

She liked to keep her family close & my desire to travel – particularly from such an early age – often puzzled her.

She had never travelled overseas until she & Dad came to visit me in Tonga where I was teaching in the early eighties.

As with everything, she fully embraced her 2 week Tongan experience & has spent the many years since regaling everyone with stories of their visit – arriving by boat & being hoisted ‘as if she was light as a feather’ onto the dock by 2 gorgeous Tongan locals, attending church & being inspired by the incredible singing & warm embrace of the people – & a special highlight meeting with the King & Queen – of Tonga.

On their return they both worked tirelessly to raise funds & supplies for my school which was lacking in the books & equipment that Australian schools took for granted. This sense of active contribution & making a difference to people’s lives continued for the rest of their lives.  

I like to think that this first adventure turned a once reluctant traveller into someone who, though she loved her home & country – now saw the joy & excitement of travel. She & Dad certainly travelled extensively after that – with many UK & European trips – & in later life developed a love of cruising.   

Mum – you have been a constant source of strength & stability in all our lives. You have been an inspiration in so many ways. I’ve learnt so much from you – the deep comfort of a steadfast faith, the value & joy in giving & giving back, the benefits of trying to stay positive when it’s difficult, handling heartbreak with dignity, a strong values system, the importance of family & friends & how beneficial a good laugh can be!

I am so thankful that we had you with us for so long – few are so fortunate.     

Your final act of LOVE was to stay with us long enough to know that we were ready to let you go. You then you went to be with your God surrounded by those who loved you most – to be welcomed & embraced by Dad & all those you have loved & who have been waiting for you.

I love you & celebrate you today Mum – but will miss you terribly. Thank you for everything…

Reflection from Ruth (Daughter)

Mum, or Bon as she loved us to call her, had a smile for everyone!
She was a caring, fun loving, loyal, generous and reliable person with impeccable manners who brought joy to everyone she met and to everything she did. In fact, Mum was one of the most joyful people that I have ever known. She was always quick to make connections with people and others warmed to her bubbly personality and light heartedness. She found so much joy in the little and simple things; a kind word or gesture, a flower, a bird, the sweet scent of a rose, a beautiful sunset! She was one of a kind. A talker and a listener. Someone you could share a great belly laugh with, and in equal measures, share tears of joy or sadness.
Bon was there for us at all times and family came first in every situation. And, no matter how dire the circumstances were, Mum would always pick herself up, dust herself off and get on with it! This would then filter through to those around her. She was amazing in that way. Self pity was not a practice she was familiar with.
Mum seized on any opportunity to get us together as a family. Our gatherings would commence with her
announcement “how wonderful it is to all be together”. Birthdays were always celebrated with our favourite home cooked meal and dessert, and we all delighted in her culinary skills as she was a fabulous cook.
Bon loved games and as youngsters, taught us how to play cards such as cananster, patience and also numerous board games. She was happy to teach us and play a game with us, but funnily enough, she did not want to be beaten, even by her children! Her competitive nature would just engulf her and although she would win, we never felt beaten.
At every opportunity, and particularly when we were at school, Mum never failed to rattle off the latest joke she’d heard at tennis, golf, cards or on the wireless so no matter how bad a day you’d had, she made you focus on something funny and not on yourself. And sometimes it wasn’t even that funny but what was most important was that she tried to lift our spirits…always!
Mum’s Faith and the Church community were extremely important to her and brought her great joy but she never rammed it down anyone’s throat or tried to force us to continue on her path. She was just happy that we approached life with a Christian outlook and
were good people and this, at all times, came without judgement. She let us make our own mistakes and was not one to give unwanted advice.
Mum’s upbringing and religious beliefs meant that she never swore or used foul language, however, she did have a colourful and somewhat idiosyncratic turn of phrase to replace the odd swear word when required. I’m sure you’ve all heard the odd one such as:
• “Heaven’s to Betsy”
• “God save Ireland”
• “For the love of Pete” and
• “My Giddy Aunt” which caused us kids to fall about in fits of laughter because we thought she was referring to our much loved Aunty….Kidgy!
Mum had so much inner strength which was typical of women born in the 1920’s, however, conversely, and even though a Country girl, she was terrified of all things creepy crawly, particularly cockroaches, which made moving from Tamworth to Sydney after her marriage to Dad, an obvious challenge. She said she would have lived anywhere to be with Dad which shows her great love for him! They were a team of 2!
We all shared a love of music, but Mum and I, particularly shared the love for the music of John Denver and we enjoyed passing the time on long
boring road trips singing at the top of our “out of tune voices” along to him. Music brought Mum so much joy and her regular humming to tunes gave us great comfort around our home.
Mum was such a delightful character and lead such a full life. She never worked for money but she made money and made a difference, working for humanity/ for the many charities she was involved with, as she was a do- er and a giver.
Mum was born of JOY and this remained with her to the end. Our girls, Catie and Libby, gave Mum so much joy. We all had so many good times together.
She was not just my Mother or the girls Grandmother she was our Friend and we will miss her very much.

Reflection from Tom (Son) … coming soon

There was a phase that could often be heard around Dawson Place.

“What a beautiful shot!”
Now you never quite knew exactly which sport that related to as there could be one TV on golf, another on AFL, tennis or rugby, it didn’t matter. Mum loved all sport. With her it was never just a passing glance, she was fully immersed in whatever she was watching. She knew the players names, their positions and how they should be playing. She had her favourites, commenting on what they were doing wrong, what they were doing right, or how they could improve. Giving them directions through the TV. However, by far her greatest love when it came to sport was cricket. Test Match Cricket was the ultimate but she embraced all aspects of the game, whether it was World Series cricket, Sheffield Shield and more recently the Big Bash. She loved it with a passion. This was a love that began at an early age. As a young girl she would sit glued to the wireless all night listening to the broadcast from UK, noting tallying the scores and match highlights so she could give her father a comprehensive rundown over breakfast. This entrenched a lifelong love of the sport, clearly influenced by her father who played and captained the local team.

Later Mum would go to watch matches at the SCG, lining up for hours with girlfriends to get into The Ladies Stand and later still, took my friends and I to watch Lillie or Jeff Thompson demolish the South Africans, West Indies or Kiwis, happily chanting along with the crowd. Along with the church, this was her happy place. Here she was in her element.

This love for the game was so strong, that only this past Christmas Day when Mum wasn’t so good, not quite knowing what was going on, her eyes closed most of the day and not eating much, but clearly still listening. At one point I whispered in her ear “Guess what’s on tomorrow, Bon?” There was no response. “It’s the start of the Boxing Day Test,” I said.

Her eyes opened, she looked at me and said,

“Really? Whacko! Will you watch it with me?” 

Another memory I will always hold dear to my heart with mum is something Mum and I would do together whenever we got the chance – Star Gazing. Star Gazing and Moon Watching. On visits to Glanmire – Ruth, Peter and the girls’ property near Bathurst – the night sky is jam-packed full of stars. I remember many times, both mum and I lying side by side outside on the trampoline staring out into space…just the two of us. We would chat for hours and wait. “Come on, Bon…10 more minutes…we might see a shooting star.” One night in particular we saw five or six shooting stars in a row, one stretching across the entire sky. We were both gobsmacked, filled with excitement, looking out at the same sky…myself in awe of the wonder of the universe, while mum was in awe of God’s wonderful creation. And that difference didn’t matter – we were  there together, loving each other in that moment. 

Finally I’d like to say, Mum.  I know our relationship wasn’t always easy. I presented some challenges that really tested your faith in the church and God…I didn’t quite follow the life path that you had imagined for me. However, you once said, having me as your son had made you a better Christian. I can’t ask for more than that.

I want to thank you Bon for your support when it wasn’t easy, and thank you for your lifelong love. I want to also take this opportunity to thank my sisters; the three of us have worked tirelessly over the last few years to ensure Mum was comfortable and loved.

Dads last words to me were “Please look after her.” We’ve done our best…I hope we made you proud.

I’d like to finish with a quote by Stephen Colbert that I recently came across.

She knew more than her share of tragedy and hardship…But her love for her family and her faith in god gave her the strength to not only go on but to love life without bitterness. And of course, it might sound greedy to want more days with a person that lived so long but the fact that our mother lived to 94 does not diminish, it only magnifies the enormity of the room whose door has quietly shut.”

Eulogy – Rev Phil Swain

Just before Doug moves into the next era of Bonnie’s life, I just wanted to add a little about another important family that Bonnie had, her church family – and her faith in God.

As Doug shared, Bonnie’s faith journey started out in the country but the part I would love to share about is what happened after Bonnie moved to Sydney and joined the church family at what now is Turramurra Uniting Church – a church that Bonnie and Laurie called home for nearly 60 years!  A church that they loved deeply and who loved them in return.

Bonnie was one of those people who seemed to be involved in anything – a powerhouse who provided the energy for different groups and made sure that things were done.  I am not sure if I managed to catch everything but you will get a picture of just how involved she was here at the church…

The church kitchen was her domain.  She was involved in the kitchen at the Flea Market, helped out with the morning teas and Christmas Lunch at the Church’s care centre but top on the list was that she was chief organiser of the Church Catering Committee.  This catering committee would help out at weddings, funerals, anything and Bonnie was always in the middle of it all, making it work without any fuss.  We probably don’t know half of what Bonnie did but we do know that this committee raised over $100,000 which was given to church projects and charities.

Outside the kitchen, Bonnie was involved in many groups.  She was a founding member of the Women’s evening fellowship group, attended the BSF and SBY group but her main group was her neighbour bible study that she was part of for 30 years – often meeting in her home.  I have heard many stories of people who were helped, supported and encouraged through that group and particularly Bonnie’s leadership and care. 

Bonnie was also a member of the church’s pastoral visiting team, the flower roster, helped out at Sunday School and cooking for the homeless through THE Dish of St John and was on the church banner/tapestry team that made these two beautiful banners that we have in the church today.  As you can see a powerhouse who was always ready to volunteer or serve to support the church or a cause or a person. 

But the thing we are most grateful for here at the church was Bonnie’s friendship and faith.  Bonnie a regular at worship and I got to know her as a member of our traditional congregation.  It was such a joy to see Bonnie worshipping and her faith shining through.  We had some wonderful conversations when she would share with me some of the stories of her life, the ups and down, but she always felt that Jesus was there with her – and that her faith was the foundation which she built her life upon. 

As a church we have felt so blessed to have Bonnie as a member of our church family.  We are sad that she is no longer with us but we celebrate that she is being welcomed into heaven by Jesus her saviour as a good and faithful servant.  We give thanks for Bonnie’s friendship, her faithfulness, and her generosity in service.  Tom gave me this lovely image when reflecting on these beautiful banners, he said that it was like mum is literally woven into the fabric of this church.  I couldn’t say it any better.  Bonnie might have died, but she will always be a part of the fabric of this church.

Eulogy – Doug Hansell

Bonnie loved great stories, either telling them or hearing them.

So picture this.

Late 1920’s, almost 100 years ago. Country New South Wales. A large cattle station, 15 miles beyond Tamworth called Goonoo Goonoo.

The station manager is an imposing gentleman by the name of Sid Miencke. He and his wife Dorothy are bringing up two small children; a daughter, also Dorothy, and a son, Billy. Now, a station manager on a property of this size is a pretty respectable fellow, and while the Meincke’s are a family of means, they’re also well-known for their generosity by the locals.

This is the depression-era after all. And if you’re a swaggie looking for work, and find yourself sleeping rough under a bridge, needing a decent feed, you can always go and see the station master’s wife at Goonoo Goonoo. She’s soft and kind and she’ll sort you out.

Oftentimes Sid will come home in the morning after setting the stockman up for the day, looking forward to the prospect of a big cooked breakfast, only to find Dorothy’s given it to a hungry swaggie who needs it more than he does. And although famished from his lack of a morning meal, Sid still has enough in the tank to pop into town on a Saturday afternoon and buy a few rounds for whoever’s standing in the bar.

This is the family, and this is the country, into which Bonita Jean Miencke arrived in 1928. The Meincke’s were a tight knit family and Bonnie loved her sister Dorothy – known as ‘Kidgy’ – and they were close their entire lives. Kidgy had an excellent seat on a horse, which Bonnie always envied. But instead of competing with her older sister, she turned her attention to other sports and pursuits that she could excel at in her own right, such as tennis and netball, and Saturday’s were spent on the back of the truck scoring the matches for the Goonoo Goonoo cricket team that Sid captained .

And while she adored her sister Kidgy, she was absolutely besotted with her brother Billy, who by all accounts was a bit of a prankster.

It was under Billy’s roguish influence that she learnt the art of getting the chooks drunk by feeding them bread dipped in Sid’s whiskey and giggling at the ensuing melee…or hiding wooden snakes in the beds in order to terrify unsuspecting houseguests. Billy was also said to have taught his young sister to say the odd choice word that he himself had picked up down at the sheering shed, and then suggest how she might weave it into conversation next time one of the dear old Aunts paid a visit.

And while her life was, in many respects that of the quintessential country girl, Bonnie’s love of  animals – horses, and especially dogs, of which there were many over the course of her life –  meant that she never quite had the stomach for the tougher aspects of life on the land.

For her education, Kidgy had been sent to PLC Croydon in Sydney, but the war meant that Bonnie needed to stay closer to home and so from the age of 12 or 13 she boarded at PLC Armidale. And while the Miencke’s were certainly respectable, they weren’t a particularly religious family, and it was in Armidale that Bonnie fell in love with going to church. Whether it was the story-telling or the hymns or simply the fellowship, she had a yearning to connect with something beyond the physical world from an early age.

As she grew into her late teenage years, she developed a taste for adventure, and at one stage had designs on becoming a pilot, telling her mother that she desperately wanted to learn how to fly. ‘Please darling, don’t do it. For my sake,’ was the reply.
So like an obedient daughter, she gave up on the idea of wings and took to wheels instead. The day of her driving test she made her way to Nundle along a notoriously treacherous, winding road, known as The Gap. When she arrived, the testing officer recognised her as Sid Miencke’s daughter.

‘How’d you get here?’ he asked.

‘I drove,’ replied Bonnie.

‘Which road did you come along?’

‘The Gap road,’ said Bonnie.

‘Well then Miss Meincke, here’s your licence.’

Apparently something of a lead foot, she once claimed she could drive from Goonoo Goonoo to Tamworth in under 12 minutes. A few years ago that claim was put to the test and the findings proved that either Bonnie was embellishing the extent of her abilities, OR that she was in fact the first person in history to break the sound barrier.

When she was in her early 20’s, Bonnie was to have her first taste of grief when her beloved brother Billy passed away at the age of 26. And although this loss was a wound that she nursed quietly for the rest of her life, a look of love and adoration would  sweep across her face, right into her old age, whenever his name was mentioned.

As a busy working station Goonoo Goonoo was something of a small township with a corner shop, post office, a schoolhouse and a chapel and there were always new faces coming and going, with jackaroos setting down for a few months work before heading off again.
As the bosses daughter, it’s safe to say that Bonnie was probably considered to be ‘off limits.’ But one Sunday morning, sitting in the front row of the chapel during her usual, solo trip to church, she heard an enormous, booming baritone belting out one of the hymns from the back of the church. She desperately wanted to turn around and see who the noise belonged to, but her manners and propriety dictated that she rigidly maintain her front-facing discipline instead. However, when it was over, she made her way outside, searching for the owner of the mysterious voice and after a minute she spotted him. A six foot something, strapping young man, lovely and soft, with movie star good looks. After a moment they were introduced to each other by a friend. His name was Laurie Ellicott. As she walked across the paddock backed to the house, Bonnie thought to herself ‘I could marry that man!’ She was relieved to find him at church the next Sunday. 

Now Bonnie had a resourceful nature and she wasn’t afraid to muck in when it was required.

One Sunday afternoon, when the workmen were off, Syd mentioned that the lawn needed mowing, so Bonnie volunteered to do it herself. Who should ride up on his horse in the midst of her efforts, seeing her in such a bedraggled state, but Laurie Ellicott! Bonnie ran inside mortified, screaming for her sister Kidgy who assumed from the hysterical state of her that Bonnie must’ve seen a ghost.

And in spite her love of all things great and small, and much to her mothers dismay, the lino floor in the kitchen once needed to be entirely replaced when Bonnie chopped it to bits with a garden hoe, going toe to toe with an intruding black snake, who sadly, expired in the assault.

On another occasion, early in their courtship, Bonnie and Laurie were sitting by a creek innocently sharing a few bottles of ginger beer when she saw a car off in the distance. Laurie was confused when Bonnie instantly lept her feet and kicked the bottles clean into the creek to cover her tracks, lest word got around the station that she’d been seen drinking alcohol with a strange man in the middle of the day.

Now Syd, who had already lost a son, was understandably protective of his two daughters and wanted to keep them close. At one point, having a strong aptitude for maths, Bonnie had designs on university. But having made herself indispensable as Sid’s bookkeeper – and the apple of his eye – she was, not surprisingly for the time, sadly prevented from doing so. Instead, Sid envisaged that Bonnie would marry a grazier and live on the land somewhere close by. Laurie was fundamentally a city boy and of not much means. And for a while there, if Laurie walked in one door, Syd would walk out the other. But Bonnie was headstrong, and in love with Laurie, who was gifted, intelligent and handsome. And they had a secret ally in Bonnie’s mother, Dorothy who saw just how happy he made her and so their engagement was announced in Christmas 1958.

With both a wedding and a wife pending, Laurie realised that he needed to make some money quick smart and so he took up a teaching post in Sydney and for the next several months, carried on his relationship with Bonnie long-distance. One day, after the death of her beloved dog Duke, Laurie called an inconsolable Bonnie for one of their regular chats. Hearing not much on the other end of the phone aside from tears and sobbing, an exasperated Laurie, who was doing his best to lay the financial foundations for their future life together finally blurted out, ‘For goodness sake, Bonnie, will you stop crying? This is costing me a fortune!’

By early May 1959, Syd, who had now reluctantly accepted the course of events, ordered the marquee, the magnums of verve and everything was set for the big day. But still, he harboured doubts. ‘You know girl,’ he said…’It’s not too late to pull out. You can always change your mind.’  Bonnie replied, ’Dad, I’d marry Laurie if it meant living in a tin shed for the rest of my life!’ And so on the 9th May 1959, Tamworth’s society wedding of the year took place, with the reception at Goonoo Goonoo.

In 1960 Bonnie and Laurie welcomed their first child, Elizabeth Jean – known as Beth – and in 1962 they bought a plot of land in Dawson Place, Turramurra, building only the second house on the street. In 1964, Alison Ruth was born – known as Ruth – and in January 1967 the Ellicott family was complete with the arrival of Thomas Sydney – who answers to anything.

Laurie continued to work as a school master, putting his three children through private school on a single teachers salary, while Bonnie became the model homemaker. Family holidays involved packing the car at 3am and driving up to Port Macquarie with the three children asleep in the back. Initially not Bon’s idea of a good time, she came to love traipsing around the countryside in a caravan, with her husband, her children, and virtually nothing to clean. Life was good.

By the early 1990’s Beth was clearly established as an international jet-setter, Tom had just completed studies in the UK and in 1991 the family expanded when Ruth married Peter Crampton. Bonnie always adored Pete, not least because as a hardy man of the land, he reminded her of her own late father. And like her, he’s also a damn good cook.

As her three children grew and set about their own journeys, she began to itch for the next phase in her life.  ‘I’m a good grandmother, going to waste!’,  she’d complain to anybody who’d listen and numbers of jumpsuits were knitted for the grandchildren she was impatiently expecting. Eventually, her prayers were answered when Ruth and Pete gave her two miracle twins, Catie and Libby, who became the new focus of her life and who she loved with all her heart. Countless netball games, piano recitals and show jumping events…hardly any of them ever missed.

As many here can attest, Bonnie was one of the best cooks there ever was. If you never tried her lamb cutlets you missed out, and she could turn anything from Laurie’s infamous veggie garden into a culinary masterpiece. And whether it was christmas cake, biscuits or slices – or pineapple flummery for special occasions – there was always a plate of something amazing laid out in front of you as soon as you walked into the kitchen at 10 Dawson Place.

In some ways, over the course of their marriage, Laurie and Bonnie became mirror images each other. While Laurie loved Golden Age movies, English history and the royal family, Bonnie’s consuming passion was sport, with newspaper’s always to be read from the back to the front, not the other way around. But between them they built a life based on old-school manners and putting your best foot forward, with family always at the centre.

When Laurie passed away in 2020, we worried that it might hasten Bonnie’s own decline. But in fact, after a while, and despite the pandemic, she seemed to recalibrate and soldier on, sustained by the love of her children, her grandchildren, the animals in her life and her faith in god.

But of course, time marches on, and it’s no secret that the last six months have been especially difficult. But throughout, Bonnie’s unique sense of humour and optimistic appreciation for the gifts in life never faltered. That twinkle in the eye was there to the end.

Tom and I would regularly join her at dinner time at Turramurra House and they’d often serve a particular type of ice cream that Tom really liked. One time, he picked up the tub of ice cream and not being able to find a spoon, started to eat it with the end of a bread knife. Dismayed at such uncouth behaviour, Bonnie looked at me with pretend outrage, as if to say ‘see what I have to put up with’ and exclaimed, ’Dougie, why didn’t you stop him?’ Sorry Bon. My fault. Manners were entrenched in her psyche, and whether it was the nursing staff, the minister, her family or a friend, all were greeted with the phrase ‘Hello my darling,’ and farewelled with ‘Thank you thank you thank you’. And for that she was universally loved.

A few days before she died, when she was almost beyond speech, we were sitting by her bedside and at one point, Tommy leant over, kissed her on the cheek and whispered ‘I love you, Bon’. Despite what it cost her physically to do so, she summoned all her strength and softly whispered back ‘I love you too.’ These words were among her very last. And although they were heard by Tom, they were meant for all three of her children who sat with her throughout those months, in the final days, and were there with her when she finally crossed over to meet her God. They were directed towards her entire family. And they’re intended for everybody here today, either for those friends she loved in life, or for those of you she never met, but who are here today in support of the family she leaves behind. We’ll look after them for you Bon.

Thank you Bonnie. Thank you for welcoming me into your family from the very beginning. We all love you dearly and that makes today especially difficult. You have enriched and enlargened the rooms of all our lives. But, even though the door to yours has now quietly shut, you’ll continue to do so in the weeks, months and years to come, in spirit and in memory. For that  – for everything – we say, ‘Thank you, thank you, thank you.’