Vera Beven (26 Mar 1927 - 22 Jul 2014)

Donate in memory of
VeraCancer Research UK

£90.00 + Gift Aid of £22.50
In partnership with

Funeral Service

Location
Eltham Crematorium Crown Woods Way Eltham SE9 2AZ
Date
11th Aug 2014
Time
1.45pm
Funeral Director
F.A. Albin Welling

Funeral Reception

Location
St Mary the Virgin Church HallWickham StreetWellingDA16 3QU
Date
11th Aug 2014
Time
2.45pm

In loving memory of the late Vera Beven who sadly passed away on 22nd July 2014

Alan, Alexa & Arthur Lander donated £50 in memory of Vera

For Nanny Vera x

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Keith Beven wrote

Vera Remembered

Dad has asked me to say a few words about Vera on behalf of her children and grandchildren, whom he invited to send in some memories of her that I have tried to work in.

When Kim asked what Vera was like, I found it difficult to find a good description. I think that is just because she was always there when she was needed, and always happy to pitch in and help when something needed to be done, from bathing the baby, to selling raffle tickets, to cleaning her children’s various new houses in different parts of the country!! She could certainly be warm and had some very long term friendships. She could be funny and had a quick wit. She could also find plenty to complain about when things were not done as they should be.

She had an extremely good memory too. She never forgot the very wet youth hostelling holiday in the Lake District in 1963 (in fact she never went youth hostelling again), she never forgot the tools that son-in-law Colin had borrowed and that she was sure he had not returned, she never forgot that when Dad went backpacking with me he kept coming back with a beard, and I am sure that Dad has a whole list of other things that she did not forget!!!

It was important to her that things should be done just right, even if there was not much money available, as there certainly was not when she was growing up in Dartford, and in the early years of marriage in Welling. This is something I think she probably got from her Mum, my Nanny Stone and has now passed on to the next generations. There were not all that many opportunities during and after the war and I think that was perhaps one reason why she was so proud of the fact that her children had gone to university, to Cambridge in Janet’s case, and to go on to get a PhD in my case, and that all her grandchildren had also graduated. I am sure many of you will have heard her report on the latest exploits of her children and grandchildren and some of you will have seen the array of degree photographs on the wall in the flat.

Even when she was in hospital for the 2nd time earlier this year and I came down from Lancaster to visit her, she said to the nurse, this is my son – he is a University Professor. The nurse had the perfect response. Oh yes, she said, they all look like that! We had an engineering Professor in here not long ago and he looked like that too!!

Like Don she also had a strong sense of duty and service, as witnessed by her 36 years as a dinner lady at East Wickham Infant School. About half the kids of Welling for that period must have passed through her hands with a consequent improvement in both their discipline and table manners. Family duty was even more important. Janet recalls that just after Mum had passed her driving test in her mid 50s, after years of lessons, she drove herself alone to Harlow, having never done it before to look after grandson Matthew (barely a year old) when Janet and Colin had both been taken ill. To my knowledge it was the first and last time she drove any significant distance by herself!! And, of course, she also managed to patiently serve her time (nearly 70years) supporting Dad’s scout activities, even if not always uncomplainingly.

A lot of the memories from the grandchildren, Anna, Matthew, Alan and Frances, have to do with the family Christmases, and the traditions of carols on Christmas Eve, present stockings on Christmas mornings, including Nanny’s favourite chocolate oranges and chocolate brazils, Christmas day lunch (often cooked by Colin and Alan) followed by the Queen’s speech, then opening the mound of presents one by one around the family, and games and concerts in the evening.

Some of that children’s and grandchildren’s academic success comes down to a competitive streak, of course, and to those of you who saw her playing games or doing quizzes with the family, or with the Didi club, or playing bowls in recent years, it will be quite clear where those competitive genes came from, especially when it came to the bobbin winding game where she reigned supreme even after recovering from a broken arm. Then there were Mum and Dad’s contributions to the family Christmas concerts. Their regular renditions of ‘I’d Do Anything’ or ‘I Remember it Well!’ were always entertaining.

She was also well known for her cake-making prowess, especially for the fruit cakes sent to poor students away at university or sometimes served to the grandchildren from a big tin labelled stale cake, even if they’d only just been baked! Frances remembers Nanny teaching her to knit and to sew, and there was a time when knitting jumpers with complicated Faroe patterns was a passion for her. When I went travelling to Norway between school and University, I was carrying a 60lb pack – at least 20 lbs of which was hand knitted jumpers to ensure that I did not get cold. And I was never in more trouble than when she found out I had somehow forgotten one on top of a mountain there! Actually that is probably not quite correct – I was probably in more trouble when Dad came back with a beard again.

There were lots of important little memories as well, presents for the grandchildren and great-grandchildren, often thriftily scoured from the charity shops around Welling, preparing food on the fold down table of the kitchen cabinet at 114 Wickham Street, Andy Pandy stories at bed time, pink milk from the shop next door, playing UNO and Rummikub, first jewellery for Anna and Frances, Nanny Vera talking at Grandad’s home videos as if the granchildren could hear her, playing live Cluedo at Warborough (with Nanny as Mrs White the cook), and having Angel Delight at Nanny’s when it was not allowed at home.

There are now 5 great-grandchildren, and it was wonderful that Vera got to spend some time with Eve, Owen, Eilidh and Arthur and a pity she did not get to meet Lauren who only arrived to Anna and Justin on 2nd July, although she did see her. I am sure that all these memories, together with the fine collection of photos of Vera, will be passed down to the next generation so that she will live on as a strong presence in our collective memory.

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Lisa Baxter donated £20 in memory of Vera

A truly lovely lady who will be so sadly missed by her husband and family. Memories of chats with Vera will always stay with me. Don, you are in my thoughts and I'm here if you need anything.

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Mick Fenton donated £20 in memory of Vera

Very sad news, a lovely lady, our thoughts are with you Don at this very sad time

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