Della Rosemary Ould (3 Oct 1946 - 15 Oct 2023)
In loving memory of Della Rosemary Ould who sadly passed away on 15th October 2023
Eulogy Della Ould
Della Rosemary Ullah was born a year after we won the second world war 1946, she was born to Kathleen King and Don Ullah, she often said she was born in one the worst storms that year. Her father was Indian, he and Kathleen had another son “Richard” who was a few years older than Della. When Don and her mother divorced Della’s mother asked her own mother “Nanny King” to look after Della, this was a regular occurrence with many families back in the 40’s post war London. Unfortunately, Don (this was his British name) she believes went back to India.
Della adored Nanny king who in turn loved her unconditionally. Nanny King originally came over from Ireland with her mother at the turn of the century. When she took on Della she already had had 13 children of her own who she brought up in two roomed house in Cherry Garden Street in Bermondsey, she was a wonderful lady and went through the hardest of times in pre and post-war London. Even through immense poverty she looked after all her children alone as her husband Richard died after coming back from the First World War where he was injured after fighting for his country, and after bringing up all her own children she still took Della in as her own child. Della was born on Nanny King’s Birthday and Nanny King would often say jokingly to Della “Fine birthday present you were” as she looked adoringly at Della, it was ironic that she was born on her birthday.
Della was brought up in Cherry Garden with Alan, Johnny, Billy and Brenda who were by the time Della was born all still at home living with Nanny King as the other older siblings had left to live their own lives. When Brenda had left home and had her own child Georgie Della often looked after him and loved him as if he were her own baby.
Alan, Johnny and Billy were hardworking proper kind down to earth cockney gentleman, they loved a gamble on the horses and when they had a win they would always treat Della. She had a happy childhood with many childhood friends in Cherry Garden street such as the Duffing’s who lived next door, her best friend was Teresa and her sister Juney who looked after Della as if she was their own sister. Nanny King was Della’s whole world and Della adored her. There were many cousins and Della was close to Little Mary and her sisters as a child and at one point in her life, as an adult went to live for a while with her cousin Mary and her husband Stan for a while at Millpond Estate, she has many good memories of living with them.
Della loved Uncle Alan’s wife Patty, she was so very kind to Della as a child and would often take her under her wing. Della also loved Pat’s children, Sandra “sandwich” as she nicknamed her and Richard, they spent a lot of their childhood with Della after the death of their lovely dad Alan.
Della also worked for Ginny (one of Nanny King’s daughters). Della loved Ginny a lot and was very close to her. Ginny’s husband was also Indian, his name was Danny and he had one of the first Indian Restaurants in London, Brixton, this was where Della learnt to make a very good curry. Ginny had two sons, Peter and David to whom Della was extremely close as a child, they were also mixed race (half Indian) and unfortunately back in the 50’s there was lot of prejudice and Della was often teased for having the surname of “Ullah”.
She spent a lot of time in Devon as a child with her Aunty Joy. Aunty Joy taught her to ride and care for horses and oil paint. Aunty Joy’s daughter Stephanie and Della were very close just like sisters. She adored Devon and had many lovely summers there, she always wanted to go back to the “Rock House” which was in Dunsford near Exeter and live one day. She did once go for a long period of time when Mandy was a baby.
Della had herself baptized as a Catholic when she was about seven or eight years’ old. She felt this gave her some sort of belonging, although, she soon found out that some of the Nuns at her Catholic primary school were very spiteful and she became a bit disillusioned at being a Catholic in the end, she never had her own children baptized due to this.
She went on to secondary school at St Michaels at Dockhead where she once again made many friends such as Cathy Downing, Jeanie Barber, Christine Murfit, Joanne Phillpot, Jackie Perkins and Carol Brooker with whom she was close to all her life, Carol and Della were not the best behaved at school and often got into trouble and had many laughs, the Headmistress said they were well naughty. Carol was still in touch with Della and often went up to Lockwood to see her and they were always in touch by the telephone if not. Della would ring Carol and play Elvis and Carol said that straight away she knew who it was telephoning her, Carol would say Dell is that you….and would start singing an Elvis song with her.
Della left school early and went to work in various factories in Bermondsey such as various wine factories of which there was many and also in East Street Market in a curtain shop for a Jewish family, she remembers them with great fondness as they were extremely nice and kind to her.
She met her husband Bill through her sister Brenda who introduced her to him in the Foresters pub in Southwark Park Road. They married in about five inches of snow in 1965, they lived for a while with Nanny King when Amanda was born where Della was extremely happy. Bill worked on the River Thames as a Lighterman which was a highly skilled profession, Della remembers seeing him maneuver a large barge with one oar and was amazed and how skilled he was doing this. They had two children Amanda first in 1965 and then Michelle in 1970. They eventually moved from Nanny King’s to Cherry Garden Street in the flats in front of the Two Brewers Public House, this pub was a significant place where Bill and his brothers would often having a drink. There was also a pub called the “chicks” in Jamaica Road where they would often go, this was the nickname of the Queen Charlotte.
Della was always working even when pregnant with Mandy and was working in the wine factory up until she had her, she remembers with fondness that all the girls she worked with brought her lovely gifts when she gave birth. The night she gave birth to Mandy, Bill was at work but luckily her best friend Patsy Griffiths was with her and helped her, Patsy was the first one to see Mandy. Della and Pat were close right up until Pat’s untimely death.
Della eventually became a hairdresser, she worked in many hairdressers in London and Bermondsey, one in particular was Theo and Micks in Spa Road where she also got her niece Siobhan a job when she was young. She loved working for them and had many happy times. When she left Theo’s she then went to work for Val and Sand in Fanny Adams, all the girls in there were eventually like a family to her and she was especially close to Veronica who never ever forgot Della and always sent her letters and cards and would telephone her often, Della never ever forgot how kind Vernoica was to her and never will. She would never have a word said against anyone in that shop and even her last conversation with Mandy said the girls in that shop were all lovely. The social side of the shop was fantastic, and we all had many brilliant nights out where Della would often break out into song, obviously it would nearly always be an Elvis song.
Della and Brenda went on many nice holidays to Spain, they often went to Majorca which Della loved. They had some very funny stories and one in particular that comes to mind was when they arrived in the Canary islands in the middle of the night, they found the room was running alive with bugs, could not find anyone to help so they had to spend the first night in the bathroom and slept in the bath. She loved Brenda and was with her throughout her life, they had such laughs on their trips and have many happy memories they were like Shirley Valentines!!
Della was especially close to Aunt Rose her sister-in-law and loved her like a real sister, they went through a lot together and Aunt Rose was always there through thick and thin. They also had a lot of good times and spent a lot of time together when young, there was a little gang of Billy, Della, Dave and Rose and Betty and Albie, Betty and Albie were lifelong friends of them all and Albie was like a comedian and made them all cry with laughter, he was such good company, they spent every weekend together all of them in the Two Brewers with Arthur and Liz who owned the pub who were also friends of theirs. All the kids would be left up in Cherry Garden until they came home and then they would then have Chinese for their Sunday night supper and the kids then almost never went to school on Monday’s which they found good fun.
Della always loved it when her clients in the hairdressers said how are your three girls, as they always thought Siobhan was her daughter. Siobhan was always up with us in Bermondsey most of her young life and had a special bond with Della throughout her life.
Della was extremely proud when she first became a Grandmother to Colette and then later on to Sophia, she was a loving and protective Grandmother and would buy the children lovely Birthday and Christmas presents when they were younger and made Christmas day very nice for everyone.
We have many fond memories of Lockwood with Margaret and Georgie, with many parties with them and a lot of laughs. Eithel and Bill were very good and kind neighbors as well. Cathy Girling, Alfire, Lorraine and Debbie were also very good friends to Della and she has had many good memories with Cathy in her house. She loved her dog Peggy who was a little black and white jack Russell.
Since Bill’s passing 11 years ago Della has managed to live fairly well in what she called “Della land” with Elvis although she missed Bill for the rest of her life. She had lots of Elvis memorabilia and loved his voice and songs and obviously his good looks. She always wanted to go to Graceland but never got there. I am hoping she has seen him now at the Gates of Heaven where I am sure he is waiting for her.
She would often say to her children and grandchildren “none of you would be here without me” which is so very true…….Della at least got to meet her Great Grandson Archie whom she loved very much, when she saw him she would sing to him “What’s it all about Archie”!! and Archie boy.
There is one thing she was always like to say, she saw this on a gravestone so would often recite this:-
“As you are now so once was I so don’t pity me as you pass by, as I am now so you must be so stand a while and think of me”.
I would like to thank everyone for attending today to celebrate the life of Della, she was an amazing lady who would help anyone in need, she was very caring loving kind and generous. I hope you remember the laughs you had with her and celebrate the good times you had with her.
Della’s wish was for Ted, David, Michael, Steve and John all to wear Elvis wigs at her funeral but for one last laugh, luckily for you all Mandy did not purchase these.