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THE SHIRWELL MISSION COMMUNITY

A Mission Community in the Diocese of Exeter

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Daphne Dallyn

A tribute from son, Andrew:

To everyone in the room and those watching online, whether live or on-demand, we thank you all for attending.  I know that Mum wouldn’t want a big fuss but she would be pleased that so many of you could join from the safety of your own homes, especially the folks spread across the globe.


To those of you who do not know me, my name is Andrew and I am the youngest of Daphne’s children.  When I think of Mum, a few words immediately come to mind.  


Generous – Even when she had little, Mum gave a lot. She spent a vast amount of her life caregiving and helping others.  Whether that was volunteering at playgroups; as a Welfare Lady at my primary & middle school; being involved with the Cub Scouts; working for many years as a Librarian, a job I’m convinced she chose for two main reasons – one to be able to read more and two, simply to talk to people; or through her duties with the church, all were centred around the wellbeing of others rather than herself.


Resilient – She had a single-mindedness, some might say stubbornness, about those things which she held dear.  Whether that was family, friends, her faith, or her love of all things Cliff Richard.  When Mum had made her mind up about something it was incredibly hard, nay impossible, to alter her from that course.  This helped her in the mid-90s when she chose to leave almost everything she knew and move down to North Devon, making Bratton Fleming her new home.  The decision clearly paid off as she built a second life that brought her a lot of joy, happiness and of course, Norman.


Adventurous – Mum loved to travel and spent time living abroad in both Sudan and Egypt when my brother and sister were young.  She also travelled numerous times to Nigeria with all three of us in tow.  The desire to see new places never abated and I’m pleased that she was able to get a few more stamps in Norman’s passport in the last few years with trips to the USA (to see her sister, Ann and family), regular trips to Greece (picking, and I’m sure, eating olives with Chris & David), and also their trip to India back in 2017.  I think her one regret would be never having made the journey to New Zealand to see all the family and friends there.


She wasn’t afraid of trying new things and, quite literally, mucking in – something that became evident when she started helping Norman at Buscombe.  Family trips down to Devon invariably involved visits to see the lamb, sheep and cattle, and for a woman who was born and raised in a city, she certainly revelled in the countryside lifestyle.  She had a number of hobbies and pastimes like Yoga, Pilates, and even swimming – although it is worth pointing out she is the only person I know who could spend an hour in a pool without getting her face wet.


Sociable – Mum loved to talk and I am not sure anyone ever had a “quick” chat or phone call with her.  Working in the shop or spending time at the Farmer’s Market in recent years gave her further cause to have a good natter and Mum never seemed to forget a birthday or anniversary, sending out cards and messages to people far and wide.


A couple of other things will never leave me.  Mum never took herself too seriously – her love of crazy earrings never dampened and she didn’t waste time feeling sorry for herself, even when things weren’t going her way.  Perhaps the other thing is that she never felt the cold – something that certainly came in useful in the periods between sunny days in North Devon.


I could go on and on but in these strange times, I have to keep it short so I will just leave you with fond and happy memories of a lady who lived a good life, was loved by many and will be missed by all who knew her.


 





Funeral address from Rosie Austin:


You might not have heard the first words to the Cliff Richard song we listened to on the way in:

When the world in which you live in, gets a bit too much to bear,
And you need someone to lean on, when you look, there's no one there

You're gonna find me, out in the country,...


For many, myself very much included, Daphne was that person that we leaned on. She was for many the person who welcomed them to the village – or to the church, to the farmers market, to the Monday lunches, or to pilates, or the craft group, (etc etc)... or any of the various things she was involved with. 

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She had a particular concern for children – with involvement especially in the cubs and scouts, our Monday at 2 group, Messy Church - but was also a driving force behind the Open the Book team which tells Bible stories in the school. One of my abiding memories of Daphne was from last March (which feels another world away) with a tea towel on her head, a big white costume, script in hand... standing in a large cardboard boat alongside her friends – acting out for the Bishop and other guests the story of Peter the disciple, stepping out of the boat in a storm. 


We weren’t very aware at that time, of the severity of the storm we were about to face – or the storm being faced by Daphne as her illness gradually began to affect her and – so frustratingly for her - slow her down. In that Bible passage, when the disciples cry out in fear, Jesus says to them, “Take courage, it is I. Don’t be afraid.” We learn from that passage, that we can place our hand into that of the one who loves us, keep our eyes on him and take hold of his hand when we feel the waves are beginning to overwhelm us. In the Bible passage chosen for us by Ann, Daphne’s sister, we hear Jesus tell us, “do not let your hearts be troubled.” We can trust him.


We are going to miss Daphne – her humour, her cheeky smile, all those practical things she did to keep everything running (including a lot of time in the kitchen baking or washing up...) and those chats with her which meant so much to us all. She was a shoulder to lean on.


But we also see in her life a faith in God – whose shoulder she leant on. She held out her hand to God who asked her to step out of the boat and to come to him. This is a God who we can rely on too – we know more of what his love looks like because we have known Daphne. In her patience, kindness, humility, respect for others, trust, perseverance (and other words in that beautiful passage about love that we find in the Bible) we discover the love of God.

May this love surround you on this day and in the days to come. As you face the storm, may you put your hand into the hand of the God who loves you – brings you peace, and calms the storm. Amen. 


A prayer:

Dear God, we thank you for Daphne and all that she meant to us. Help us to know that you are there holding all our hopes, holding all those we love, and holding each one of us on this day too. Be close to Daphne’s family and each person who mourns, fill us with your peace and hope. Amen. 


Travel on Daphne from this world, in the name of God the Father, who created you in love; in the name of Jesus Christ who sets you free from sin; in the name of the Holy Spirit who brings us all into new life. Rest in peace, in God’s love, now and forever. Amen.