Hilda Lavinia Loveless (3 Oct 1918 - 6 Nov 2014)
In loving memory of the late Hilda Lavinia Loveless who sadly passed away on 6th November 2014, Aged 96 years.
Hilda was all these roles in her life.
But there was another important one we could easily overlook…. A loving and caring daughter.
Let’s remember the life she led……
Hilda .. Mum … Nan … was born in the last few weeks of World War 1, on the 3rd October 1918.
Though her early life was spent growing up in Barnsbury, North London, she was born an evacuee child in the village of Swallowfield in Berkshire, where her mother Annie Green retreated to avoid the threat of bombing and gas attacks over London…. Hilda always claimed to have been born in a pub….. The Bull in Swallowfield. That might be true but the record shows it was really 12 Church Cottages, the address of the pub’s landlady!
Sadly, tragedy struck within 3 months. Her father Victor fell victim to the Spanish Flu pandemic in January 1919.
Her life from this point on was first, her mother Annie caring for the young Hilda, and in later years Hilda caring for Annie as she approached old age. They lived their lives together until Annie passed away in 1975.
Although Hilda had no siblings, she more than made up with aunts, uncles and cousins: Annie was one of a family of 10 and the extended family was as close as it could be.
Until she was 21, she lived in No 9 Thornhill Crescent, Barnsbury: Annie and Hilda in the basement, with Annie’s eldest and youngest sisters above – Amelia (A. Cis) with Uncle Bert, and Charlotte (A.Dot). This was her close family as she grew up.
It was hard for Annie to bring up Hilda. She had to go out to work to support them both, so Hilda’s many Aunts stepped in to look after the little one.
Hilda was active in St Andrews Church which was located in the square where she lived. It was here that she met Gladys Cooper in Sunday School who became a lifelong friend and her sister-in-law.
Hilda did well at school. She attended Highbury Hill High School achieving her matriculation.
She was an enthusiastic gymnast, winning medals and cups. Scarily, she attained the pinnacle of her attainment by climbing to the top of the rope attached to the roof of the lofty church hall. No safety nets then.
She learned to play the piano under the watchful eye of her aunts.
During these early years she was an enthusiastic member of Brownies and Guides.
Later she moved on to Pitman’s College to learn secretarial skills for a career in commerce.
Through the church community she met and fell in love with Fred Loveless, who she was later to marry.
Just before war broke out, Annie, Hilda and the Aunts moved to Winchmore Hill. When War came, Fred was called up and Hilda found a placement in the Foreign Office. She became the Personal Assistant to the Far East Envoy. She lost many friends at this time through the blitz…. and was lucky to have survived unscathed.
Wartime secrecy meant that Hilda and Fred saw little of each other, though Fred did propose soon after he was mobilised and while on hush hush training. He sent her an engagement ring through the post from a shop in Dundee. …. So she sort of knew where he was……. After training with various units he was posted overseas, and it was four years before she would hear from him again. He could have been dead or alive….. As it happened he served much of his time in Africa.
When Fred returned, they lost no time in getting married in St Stephens Church, Bush Hill Park.
After they were married, Hilda was obliged to leave the civil service because they would not employ married women. It’s strange to think that such rules existed then.
When Hilda and Fred married, Fred moved into Hilda’s family, and Annie lived with them so that Hilda could care for her mother, who was now nearly sixty. Annie continued working, making lampshades at home.
Meanwhile Fred trained with his father in Moorfields Eye Hospital as a dispensing Optician. He obtained a job with Clement Clarke Opticians, and worked in Palmers Green much closer to home.
When Hilda and Fred moved to their own house in Chaseville Park Road in 1951, they generously took Annie with them.
Hilda concentrated on having her family, a son and daughter. ….She immersed herself fully in the life of St Peter’s, Grange Park. She was an active member of the Mother’s Union and the WI. She sang in the Choir…… and went to lots of coffee mornings!
She did all she could to encourage her children at school……. and in all their outside activities.
She continued keep a watchful eye over her two Aunts. She was very close to Fred’s family who were now living between Southgate and Cockfosters. It was in Cockfosters we again find her great friend from Sunday School, Gladys - married to Fred’s older brother Will Loveless!
There were many shared holidays at the seaside, just as there had been before the war. As many as three generations would invade the beach together!
Fred moved up within the company. In 1968 he was offered a post in Exeter covering branches in the West Country. They moved to Exmouth. It wasn’t an easy time for Hilda because it meant leaving so many of her family and friends behind. But she solved that problem….. Annie moved down with them, and her Aunts Cis and Dot moved into the same road. Later some of hers’ and Fred’s families moved west, including his sister Gerty and husband Reg who retired to Amesbury.
Hilda settled into Holy Trinity Church Exmouth, joining the Mother’s Union of course, and making many new and good friends. She played bridge, was active in the Townswomen’s Guild and the Church Flower Guild. She worked for many charitable and voluntary organisations in the town.
Sadly, in 1985, just two years after retiring, Fred passed away, having been ill for some years. It was a tremendous shock to her, but with everyone’s help she pulled through. She built a new life with her friends: - with Muriel and others she travelled far and wide on National Trust coach tours and went on “exotic” holidays to Turkey and other places. Hilda and Muriel became very close friends, sharing evenings together for company, both having lost their respective husbands.
Family and friends always got a tremendous welcome when they came to Exmouth, either to visit or stay.
Her four grandchildren gave her enormous pleasure, both on their visits to Exmouth,…. or when she visited Peterborough or Stafford. …She was thrilled to see them grow up. She loved taking them to the beach when they spent their holidays with her. She spoiled them terribly. She was always there to comfort them when things didn’t go quite right. And she was so proud of all their achievements. They learned to put 10p pieces in her Children’s Society Box every day. She supplied the 10ps!
Hilda’s health faltered when she reached 80. She moved to Peterborough so she could be closer to Margaret and Ian. In a delightfully convenient bungalow just around the corner from them, she set up her new home and joined All Saints Church – and, of course, the Mother’s Union, as well as the ‘Trefoil‘….. Guiding…. Guild.
From here, in her little red Micra, she would visit family across the country. …. Following two falls in quick succession, her mobility was severely impaired. She moved into Park House Residential and Nursing home where she lived for 10 years. She loved having visitors and getting out into Central Park- she was quite a regular at the café. She was very well taken care of, right up until she passed away, peacefully, two weeks ago, aged 96 .. with her family at her side.
Hilda will be remembered, I’m sure, for all her impetuous enthusiasm, her warmth and generosity, and for those wicked fits of giggles at situations where she really saw the funny side of things. She loved all her family and cared for them. She never gave up caring and looking after her mother and her aunts (despite tearing her hair over them at times!).
She never stinted at helping others where she could: …… family and friends could rely on her. Her lively mind and ardent support of liberal politics – which even extended to active canvassing at election time –made for interesting family mealtimes! I can honestly say that being at home wouldn’t have been the same if we hadn’t had the intense discussions and debates that inform active thinking and opinion forming. ….. She was always an ardent supporter of education for the young, an enthusiasm she inherited from both her father and mother.
We say farewell to a good woman, with all her unique little ways!
But doesn’t that just make the person we will remember?
Let us not mourn her passing ….. but rather celebrate a life well-lived. /over
….. Rest in Peace …… Mum.
When the sun sets,
The stars come alive,
When darkness comes,
A beacon of light shines on.
A life becomes memories,
You are a shining star,
You are the joy in memories, and
You are the love in my heart. Emma Wilson
To her grandchildren Nan was all things, she was someone to laugh with, someone to cry with and someone to talk to.
Nan was the person you could rely on and the person we would learn from.
We all have great memories with Nan, from our holidays in Devon and here in Peterborough and in Stafford. She devoted her time to us, whether we were with her or not, sending us letters and post cards. Visiting her was such a special time, I remember reading with her, doing puzzles, baking, and putting up the Christmas decorations. No matter what we did, we did it together.
It was always such a fun time with Nan, we could always have a laugh together. Even in the last few years Nan always smiled when we visited, her face would light up when we walked in.
I feel very lucky that I have got to spend as much time as I did with her, she truly was my inspiration.
There is a lot more I can say and want to say but the words fail me now.
Love you Nan.
From all of us.
From all Hilda's Grandchildren