Viv Parsons (27 Feb 1983 - 28 Apr 2017)

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VivDogs Trust

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Kingsdown Crematorium Kingsdown Lane Swindon SN25 6SG
24th May 2017
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In loving memory of Viv Parsons who sadly passed away on 28th April 2017Entry music:
Lay Me Down by Sam Smith & John Legend​
It has been said that love does not end with dying,
Or leave in the last breath.
For someone you have loved deeply,
Love does not end with death.

Good afternoon and welcome. My name is Angus Edmonds and I am truly privileged to be your celebrant today. We are gathered here to commemorate with sorrow, respect, and thankfulness the life of Vivienne Victoria Parsons, known to us all as Viv.

Death, in a number of ways, unites us all, for it demands that each of us put aside our own concerns and commitments to unite ourselves with everyone here who share in a common bond of love and respect for Viv.

Death is also a constant reminder of the limited time we spend here in this unique life on Earth. It is the ongoing wake-up call that reminds us to be grateful and joyful, to laugh and to love, and to be understanding, forgiving, and compassionate, accepting that we all share a common humanity capable of ill and good, failure and success, weakness and strength.

We extend our sympathy to Viv’s family: to her husband, David, to her parents, John and Anita, and her brother, Jay and his partner, Kieran. We acknowledge also the many family members related to both Viv and David who are present today, including her cousin, Kevin, father of Viv’s godchild, Oscar, who together with Viv’s husband, David, her father, John, and brother, Jay, have acted as bearers today. We also welcome Viv’s many friends, including Kennah, Kevin’s wife and friend of Viv for most of her life, who together with another close friend, Steph, will be sharing their memories of Viv with us later in this service. There are many others here also, including work colleagues and Viv’s teachers, who are included in the large number of those who count Viv as a friend and as an inspiration, including Neil Griffith, her head teacher at Westlea Primary School, who has always been so supportive, her teacher, Mrs Wong, and the teaching assistant, Pauline Bothwright, who helped support Viv from when she was just 4 years of age at Freshbrook Playgroup and then throughout all Viv’s primary school years at Westlea.

In March this year, Viv was taken to the Great Western Hospital in what proved to be her last hospitalisation and a trial for Viv and for Dave and John and Anita. They have described Viv’s last 5 weeks as an emotional rollercoaster for them and a time of great difficulty for Viv who spent three weeks in the Intensive Care Unit fighting for her life – and on no less than five occasions her family was told Viv was about to die as sepsis took its toll. Finally, on Friday 28th April, Viv passed away, her suffering at an end. She had fought long and hard for life – not only in these last weeks but throughout her 34 years – but in the end not even Viv’s vitality of spirit could pull her through.
It is always very sad to say Goodbye to someone you love – and especially to someone at a young age. However, I am sure that Viv would not want you to grieve in hurt or pain, but grieve in the joy that she has given, that she has received, and that she has shared. There is no doubt that Viv would be saying, in her own inimitable way, ‘Hey, I’d rather party’ – and there will be time for that later. To reflect the fun-loving Viv, family and friends are dressed in colourful gear – and they didn’t want the celebrant dressed in dark clothes either. And we will try to make this a celebration of Viv and all that she was – and will always be for us.
Nonetheless, the reality is that we are here also to share our grief, so I hope that you will not feel ashamed or embarrassed to shed a tear, if that is a help. And perhaps you will be comforted that you took the opportunity to do some of your grieving in the presence of others who have known and loved Viv.
For it is at such times, when we are at a low ebb, that we need the love and support of our family and friends. We help and support one another, and there will come a time when those who are hurting most will be able to step out, and look back, thankful that despite their own grief and sorrow, they had others to lean on when their own strength was tested.

However, although Viv no longer lives among us, we can celebrate that we were privileged to have known her: that she was – and remains – part of our lives. And so, it is in thinking of Viv and saying ‘Goodbye’ that we can say ‘Thank You’ to her, and celebrate all that she gave, all she achieved, and all that she has been to us. And if something is said about Viv that reminds you of the vital, vibrant, and sometimes very ‘naughty’ Viv – don’t be afraid to laugh as well.
There will be further opportunity to recall memories of Viv and to celebrate her life following this service, for you are all invited to gather at what became Viv’s ‘local,’ the Harvester, West Swindon, for refreshments and a time of sharing with Viv’s family and friends. Viv always felt at home there, whether greeted by the manager and others inside, or sitting with Dave at a bench in front garden after work taking in the last of the sun at day’s end. The family also invite you to join with them in making a donation, in Viv’s memory, to The Dogs Trust in the box available in the vestibule at the close of this service.
If Viv were to speak to us now, what would she say? Her mum, Anita, has chosen a reading by Henry Scott-Holland, entitled Death is nothing at all, that might well reflect the thoughts that Viv would want to share with us. Anita, please come forward.
Reading: Death is nothing at all by Henry Scott-Holland
Death is nothing at all.
I have only slipped away to the next room.
I am I and you are you.
Whatever we were to each other,
That, we still are.

Call me by my old familiar name.
Speak to me in the easy way
which you always used.
Put no difference into your tone.
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.

Laugh as we always laughed
at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me. Pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word
that it always was.
Let it be spoken without effect.
Without the trace of a shadow on it.

Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same that it ever was.
There is absolute unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind
because I am out of sight?

I am but waiting for you.
For an interval.
Somewhere. Very near.
Just around the corner.

Thank you, Anita.

In the next few minutes it is my privilege to share something of the life, the character, and the personality of Viv.

Viv was born to John and Anita in Swindon on the 27th February, 1983. She was born with osteogenesis imperfecta, also known as brittle bone disease, and her parents were given the terrible news that their baby girl had but 10 days to live. It was the first, but certainly not the last time, that Viv’s young life was about to end. But each time Viv defied the odds: she had a will to live – and to live life to the full.
1983 was the year Michael Jackson’s song Billie Jean, from the album Thriller, became UK’s No 1 hit – the song and corresponding music video helping propel Thriller to the status of best-selling album of all time. It was also the year the £1 coin was introduced, and TV-AM’s Good Morning show broadcast for the first time. Just a year later, one-year-old Viv appeared on that program hosted by Ann Diamond and Nick Owen to promote awareness of Brittle Bone Disease.
In 1986, Viv attended Freshbrook Playgroup and her life-long association with Pauline Bothwright began, for in 1987/88, Viv started at Westlea Primary School where Pauline was to be a teacher assistant throughout Viv’s primary school days. Viv’s ability to be part of the every-day school experience was helped enormously by the support given by the head-teacher, Neil Griffith, who along with other staff, including Mrs Wong, assisted Viv during her childhood days. Viv, for her part, was fast becoming the Viv we all know. On one occasion, Mrs Wong sent Viv along to see Mr Griffith with suspected chicken pox as she was covered all over in small red spots. The cause of this outbreak? None of you will be surprised to learn that Viv had drawn dots on herself with a red pen!
Viv’s confident and outgoing personality also led to her meeting with royalty. In 1989, six-year-old Viv met Sarah, Duchess of York, also known as Fergie, both at a public engagement and later privately, and she was to receive a Christmas card from Buckingham Place for the next 3-4 years until Fergie’s separation from Prince Andrew. To tell us more of Viv’s life, two of her life-long fiends, Steph and Kennah, who were at Westlea Primary with Viv, will now share their memories of her. Steph and Kennah, please come forward.

Steph and Kennah’s tribute to Viv: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Eulogy (continued)
In 1989, Viv became big sister to a brother, John, or Jay as he is known. As youngsters, the two were to become as thick as thieves, although as a teenager with a younger brother, Viv also enjoyed being able to boss him around. Later, when Jay left home, Viv made regular visits to see him in Bristol, and that strong bond between sister and brother has been extended to Jay’s partner, Kieran.
In her pre-teen years, Viv developed a love of music – and a regular outing every Monday was to Asda to see what latest music tapes had arrived. It became a ritual that continued through her teenage years.
There were other visits to Asda too during these teen years – when Viv and her friends would ‘baby-sit’ Jay while her parents were out. As you know, Viv loved a party – and why not combine baby-sitting with partying? But the girls needed that special ingredient – so Viv would take herself off in her electric wheelchair to buy some booze at Asda – knowing that, in her wheelchair, she would never be asked for ID!
In 1994, Viv started secondary schooling at The Commonweal School and while there she joined Pathfinders, the charity group that helps young people with disabilities to gain confidence through various activities. Viv joined in abseiling, sailing and ski-ing – although in the latter her interest was definitely more in the après-ski!
In 1999, Viv entered the National Star Centre, now the National Star College, at Cheltenham, which has just celebrated its 50th anniversary, as a further education, training, personal development and residential service for people with disabilities. This gave 16-year-old Viv some independence from home until she was asked to leave the Star Centre after the Christmas party that year when she ‘mine swept’ up all the drinks of others who were on medication and unable to consume alcohol. But then, that was Viv: she always said and did what she wanted to do – it was, as many have said, ‘just Viv.’
However, as one door closed another opened, and in 2000, Viv joined Allied Dunbar, part of Zurich Financial Services, and now linked also with Capita. The following year, Viv met Dave at the Eros Nightclub and soon they moved in together. John and Anita recognised, and are so thankful, that Dave was able to give Viv so much – beyond what they were able to give and that Dave has been there for her. Dave added so much to her life, gave her so much in the 16 years they had together. Viv and David were married on 20th August 2004 at Blunsdon House Hotel. Many of you were there that happy day and will recall them coming down the aisle to Nelly with Kelly Rowland singing Dilemma, which we will hear again now:
Musical item: Dilemma by Nelly and Kelly Rowland
Following the wedding, Viv and Dave honeymooned in Scotland, a ‘road trip’ to Fort William. They intended to spend one night in Edinburgh but didn’t pre-book. As it happened Edinburgh was hosting the Comedy Festival and accommodation was scarce. However, they were able to book into the Thistle Hotel, in Edinburgh’s prestigious West End, not far from the famous Princes Street – room only for a princely £175! While having a drink in the hotel bar, one of the comedians from the festival, a New Zealander came in to record interviews. Viv obliged – no surprises there! And because the man was from the antipodes – and disregarding the rivalry between Kiwis and Ozzies, Viv proceeded to entertain with her rendition of the song, Skippy The Bush Kangeroo! Viv was having fun and declared that she’d like to stay for another night. Dave counted the cost, but thought, as it was their honeymoon after all, why not? Later, they discovered that Viv’s interview and singing of Skippy featured on the BBC Radio’s World Service. As Dave has remarked, Viv only lived for 34 years, but she packed a full life-time into those years.
Apart from that trip to Scotland, they holidayed almost each year in Cornwall, enjoying each other’s company, the beautiful scenery – and, of course, the Cornish cider.
Viv had always loved animals – anything to do with animals - and Viv had a menagerie of them at different times: rats, guinea pigs, cats (Hope and Tiggy), dogs (Fred, who she left with her parents, and who died only last October; and the little chihuahua, Roxie, the rescue dog, who continues to live with John and Anita), and then there were corn snakes, a lizard, tropical fish - and rabbits. Yes, two rabbits, both little girls, Lola and Jessica. Or at least that’s what Viv thought. But she was soon to learn the ’facts of life’ for Lola was not a ‘show girl’ he was a boy rabbit – and soon Roger Rabbit - as Lola now had to be called – and Jessica did what rabbits do – and all of Viv’s friends ended up with Roger and Jessica’s offspring.
Then in 2005, Viv and Dave took on the first of what she would call their ‘furry children’ – when a beautiful, black puppy-dog called Bella came on the scene, later to be joined by Barnie and Buster. With her love of animals, especially her dogs, the choice of a charity for donations in memory of Viv had to be her favourite charity, The Dogs Trust. Viv always said that if she won the Lottery, she’d buy kennels and look after loads of dogs.
Then in 2011, Viv was delighted to be asked by her friend, Kennah, and cousin, Kevin, to be godmother to their baby, Oscar.
In more recent years, Viv has enjoyed a variety of special outings and holidays. In 2015, she was delighted to see and hear one of her idols, Ed Sheeran, when Dave drove Viv and her Aunt Trudy to see him in concert. Last year, Viv, who loved the sun, enjoyed a holiday on the Greek island of Zante. She also attended the England v Argentina rugby international at Twickenham in late November with her Dad, again with Dave as driver, Viv and her Dad sitting at the front for the game, sharing a hip flask of brandy. Both delighted that England won convincingly despite playing with only 14 men for almost the entire game.
Viv was a big organiser. She would plan and start to organise social events, like parties and birthdays, six months in advance. On the day itself, she would be preparing herself hours ahead. She even managed to get Dave well organised, especially if she needed to be chauffeured – and in earlier years the same applied to her parents, if they were to drive her somewhere. Otherwise, if she was taking herself in her wheelchair, she would make sure she was off early – in plenty of time. She was simply never late for anything.
Viv liked to be organised and she didn’t suffer fools gladly either. She would speak her mind. If she asked someone if they were going to have a drink with her and was answered, ‘No,’ Viv’s response would inevitably be, ‘Oh God, you’re so boring!’ And, of course, she loved to party – and when it came to party time, her favourite saying with regard to eating and drinking was quite simply, ‘Eating is cheating!’ - and when it came to eating, she wasn’t that fond of vegies: she would only eat home-grown carrots from her Uncle Gordon’s garden, otherwise she called them dismissively, Snowmen’s Noses. And she wouldn’t touch peas – they were dismissed as ‘the Devil’s bogies’!
Quite simply, there will never be another Viv. She battled through life, and never let her disability get her down. She always had a smiley face; she was always positive and up-beat. So much so, that, despite everything, her death was unexpected. Viv had always said that she would like to arrange her own wake – and be there to enjoy it. That task now falls to us when we gather at the Harvester – and in our stories, in shared memories, and in our hugs and, yes, perhaps some tears too, but most of all in our laughter: and in that way, yes, Viv’s wish will come true – she will be there with us too, as indeed she will be throughout the years ahead: her plucky courage, her cheeky smile, her vital and vivacious personality remembered – a source of encouragement and inspiration for us all.

Introduction to Time of Reflection

Ladies and Gentlemen, we have come together from different places and we are at different stages on our journey through life. Our paths are varied and we look at life in different ways. But there is one thing we all have in common: at one point or another, and to some degree or other, our lives have been touched by Viv’s life, personality, and character.

As we enter this time of reflection, I invite you to join, if you wish, in saying The Lord’s Prayer as printed in the Order of Service.

Our Father, who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come.
Thy will be done in earth,
As it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
The power, and the glory,
For ever and ever. Amen.

We now come to a time for personal reflection on our memories of Viv, and what she meant – and continues to mean - to us as we listen to Charlie Puth singing See You Again.
Reflection Music: See You Again by Charlie Puth

The Committal
Ladies and Gentlemen, it has now come to the time to say Goodbye to Viv. Please, if you can, be upstanding. Before the act of committal, if you wish, please join in the responses, We Let You Go, for this farewell reading:

Into the freedom of wind and of sunshine
We let you go.
Into the dance of the stars and of planets
We let you go.
Into the wind’s breath and the hands of the star maker
We let you go.
We love you, we miss you, and we want you to be at peace.
Go safely on your way – as now
We let you go.

And now – here in this final act,
Tenderly and reverently, in sorrow but without fear,
In love and appreciation,
we commit Viv’s body to be cremated.
We are grateful for the life that has been lived,
and for all that that life has meant to us.
We cherish the memory of Viv’s words,
her deeds, and her character.
We cherish her friendship.
And most of all we cherish her love.

We now leave the memory of Viv in peace.
With enduring thoughts and respect, we bid her farewell.

And may you find richness and example
in your memories of Viv;
May you find strength and support
in your love for one another;
And may you find peace within yourselves.

David, John and Anita would like to thank you for being here today for Viv. As we take our leave to Viv’s favourite, Ed Sheeran, singing Shape of You, we wish you a safe journey home as you depart from here or later, after the gathering that follows this service at the Harvester in West Swindon Shopping Centre.
EXIT: Shape of You by Ed Sheeran


Philip Saville donated in memory of Viv

In memory of Viv. Rest in peace. With love from Lorraine, Phil, Martin and Suzanne.

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Leanne Bolton donated £20 in memory of Viv
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Paul Doyle wrote

A great loss for our family, we remember Viv for her love of life and vitality against great adversity. She was a great inspiration to her Australian cousins, Tom and especially Will and will be sorely missed.
Our thoughts and deepest sympathy to her husband John, her mother and father, and to all the Cronin and Piercy families. Will, Tom and Paul

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Charlotte Jarvis donated £10 in memory of Viv

Viv lived more in 34 years than some people do in twice that.
My thoughts are with her family at this very sad time Xx

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Emma Neale wrote

Thinking of you all and remembering a beautiful, lovely young lady.

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Susan Dowell wrote

In memory of a beautiful lady, who will be missed by so many xxx

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mandy burnham lit a candle
Susan Dowell donated £20 in memory of Viv

In memory of a beautiful lady inside and out. An amazing lady, you will be missed. Hope the sun always shines for you xxx

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Carly Phillips donated £10 in memory of Viv
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Joe Palczak donated in memory of Viv

We will all miss you.
I will especially miss your routine "Woop woop" chants before the weekend.

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Joe Palczak wrote

We will miss you but not forget you. I'll certainly miss your "Woop woop's"

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Charlotte Jarvis wrote

Viv lived more of a life in 34 years, than some people do in twice that.
My thoughts are with her family at this very sad time Xx

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Charlotte Jarvis wrote

Viv lived more of a life in 34 years, than some people do in twice that.
My thoughts are with her family at this very sad time Xx

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Charlotte Jarvis wrote

I think I'm still in shock, it's just so sad.

Viv lived more of a life in 34 years, than some people live in twice that, my thoughts are with her family at this sad time Xx

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Maxine Smith donated in memory of Viv
TE Connectivity donated £100 in memory of Viv

With our thoughts and deepest sympathy from all John's friends and colleagues at TE

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Philip Saville wrote

In memory of Viv. Rest in peace. With love from Lorraine, Phil, Martin and Suzanne.

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Jackie and Keith Richards wrote

We will remember Viv with love and for her wonderful take on life, always living it to the full. We feel privileged to have met her and she will be missed. Love and condolences to all her family. We will light a candle and raise a glass in Germany.

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Emma and Neil Jarmolinski donated £10 in memory of Viv

Such an amazing lady ! Who always made us smile. Heaven has definitely gained another star ❤️❤️Sleep tight Viv xx

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Helen Anderson (Piercy) wrote

Sleep well my lil cuz. You always managed to put a smile on my face from all those miles away.... you will be sorely missed Helen & the boys xxxxxx

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Jerry Moss wrote

Goodnight Viv, look after Jodie for us
I know you had the time of your life. Love you always.
Jo, uncle Germ and Jorge xxx

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