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In loving memory of the late Maria Anna Krystyna Campbell who sadly passed away on 30th December 2014
Tribute to Krysia by her husband, Peter (as presented at the funeral service).
"Saying ‘goodbye’ to someone you’ve loved for almost 40 years is hard, of course. The sadness can be overwhelming. But today is about celebrating Krysia’s life. The grieving can come later.
So, I hope you’ll bear with me while I take you on a brief tour of Krysia’s life, and share with you some great memories.
Krysia was born in Nottingham in 1954. She was the youngest of 3 children, having 2 older brothers. Her parents were both from Poland. They had both been taken from their homes and deported from Poland during the 2nd world war. After long journeys they eventually arrived in England where they met and married.
Krysia has told me that her childhood was happy and that her brothers were very protective of her when she was little. However, she did tell me how she often wanted to join in the games of her brother Zbys and his friends, when she was quite small. And sometimes they would allow this, on condition that she would be a guinea pig in their experiments. So she would take an active role in helping them answer important scientific questions, such as ‘will a tin bath float on the River Trent, with somebody in it’.
Kiks would have been in her mid teens when I first met her, but we didn’t start going out together until her late teens. It was a bit of a long distance relationship, as we were both at university at different ends of the country.
When she left University, she decided she wanted to broaden her horizons, and see some of the world. So we went our separate ways for a while. She spent some time on a Kibbutz in Israel. She also spent a year in Greece working as a Nanny for a family in Athens. After this she went to teacher training college and obtained her teaching qualifications. She started work at a school in Guildford.
In the late ‘70s, she got a teaching job in Nottingham. It was at this time that we started seeing each other again, and we finally married in 1980.
After the first year of marriage, we decided it was time to start a family. However, things didn't quite go as we expected, and several years later we were still trying. We then had several more years of fertility tests and treatment, all to no avail. We were on the verge of giving up on our dream of a family, when on the last day of 1987, we discovered she was pregnant.
So the following August, Rosie was born. Then 2 years later, along came Zosia, and our family was complete.
I believe Kiks’ motherhood years were her happiest. Like any Mother, her first priority in the early years was to keep the children safe from harm. Then, she wanted to make sure they had a good education. And then she wanted to provide them with a loving, secure, and stimulating home environment, so that they had the best chance of reaching their full potential.
Those of you who know our amazing girls today will appreciate how successful she was as a Mother.
Things didn’t always go to plan, however. She was prone to a bit of overanxiety at times, which sometimes led to mistakes. One of my favourite memories of Kiks is from when we were on holiday in Norfolk when the girls were about 6 and 8. We were walking from the pedestrianised shopping precinct in Lowestoft, to the beach. We had to cross a busy road, using a pelican crossing, to get to the beach. As we reached the crossing, the little man turned to red. I could see Kiks tensing up, watching the cars and lorries thundering past. A small crowd of people gathered at the crossing as we were waiting to cross, but Kiks was focussed on the little red man, and was clearly determined to get the girls safely across the road as fast as possible. So when the man turned green, she reached down and grabbed a little hand with each of hers, and charged across the road. And I have an image in my head, which will always make me smile, of Kiks marching across the road with Rosie in one hand, and a little old lady in the other. Both were having to run to keep up.
So, she didn’t always get it right, but she always had their best interests at heart.
It was when the girls were 11 and 13 that cancer struck for the first time. It was a serious type of cancer, with low long-term survival rates. But she had major surgery and radiotherapy, and made a pretty good recovery. We were always grateful for the extra 12 years that this treatment gave us. It enabled her to see our children grow to adulthood, and it enabled them to have a Mother through those tricky teenage years.
Apart from her teaching jobs, Kiks had a number of other jobs once the children were both at school. Most notably, she worked as an IT Trainer for South Notts College for several years. And more recently she worked as a Health Secretary for the NHS, and for Nottingham City Couincil.
So, what did she get up to in her spare time? Well, after her family, her next love was her garden. She would spend many happy hours potting, planting, pruning, weeding in our beautiful garden.
She also enjoyed playing the piano - she’d been taking piano lessons for a few years before she became ill. She enjoyed the normal things like reading, going to the cinema, dining out. She liked going on holidays to warm countries, and swimming in the sea.
In recent years, she caught my and Zosia’s passion for Liverpool Football Club. Which is kind of ironic, as in the early years of our marriage, when I was absorbed in a match on TV, she would say things like ‘sometimes I think you love Liverpool more than me’. But recently she started getting interested in the games herself, and started coming to matches with us. She knew all the players names, and even understood about referees having poor eyesight. Actually, it got to the point where she’d be absorbed in a match on the TV, and I’d have to stop myself from saying ‘sometimes I think you love Liverpool more than me’.
Many of you will be aware that last Summer, despite still struggling with the side effects of her surgery, she took part in a sponsored abseil down the wall of the Queens Medical Centre, along with our daughters. Together, they raised over £1700 for a children’s cancer charity.
In the months before she became ill, Kiks spent a lot of time researching and documenting her family history. She produced family trees for both sides of her family going back several generations. And she documented the early lives of her parents, including their deportation from Poland, and their journeys across Europe, Asia, Africa, and back to Europe. She also translated some of the letters her parents had written to each other during those years, before they actually met. She wanted to make sure that future generations of the family have the opportunity to learn about the struggles of their ancestors during those difficult years.
Kiks was a good friend to many, she was a loving mother to our children, and she was a beautiful, wonderful wife to me, and my best friend, and it's been an absolute privilege to have been married to her for the last 34 years. "