Sorrow not as other which have no hope
In loving memory of the late Anthea Heaton Pearce who sadly fell asleep on 8th March 2015
Anthea fell asleep on Sunday morning, 8th March at 2am. She had only just come home from hospital on Saturday afternoon. She had been diagnosed with cancer of the gall bladder on Feb. 6th, the day we had to say goodbye to our dog Scamper, our companion for 18½ years. A week later, following a biopsy, we were told it was incurable. Because of jaundice, Anthea had to have a stent fitted to unblock the bile duct, which was done on March 3rd and was successful so she could come home. As we travelled from Walsgrave she saw the fields of lambs by St Thomas’ Cross and the wonderful crocuses on the Green outside the house. After 3 weeks in hospital, she was so pleased to be home in the peace and quiet and surrounded by familiar things. She had bacon and a few chips and a small piece of sponge and custard. Marc had sent a picture of the latest grandchild – Lexie was born on Thursday! Jessica had that afternoon chosen her wedding dress, so Anthea had been able to admire the pictures that she had sent. (Oh the wonders of modern technology!) Since the stent was fitted on Tuesday her colour had been steadily improving and virtually all trace of the jaundice had gone. She looked her normal self. However a few hours later she just slipped away. When we let the hospital know they too were surprised at its suddenness. What Anthea feared was a painful death; she was spared this, for which we are thankful.
The funeral arrangements have now slotted into place. Because of friends and relatives being away we were looking at the w/c 29th March. We now have fixed the date for April the 1st, Anthea would have smiled at that, but practically it was a day others avoided, which was fine by us!
Having initially been told by the Masonic Hall that they could no longer hold religious services, we looked at the Village Halls close to where Anthea wanted to be buried – a woodland cemetery at Lilbourne just a few miles from Rugby, but they were no bigger than our Christadelphian Hall in Oliver Street. So we thought, it’s a bit mad, but what would the Benn Hall charge where we have held our annual Prophecy Day for the past 14 years. We were amazed at how reasonable it is. There is ample parking all round (£1 for 3 hrs) and plenty of room and only a few hundred yards from our own Hall. So what is planned is that the funeral service will take place at 1pm. For those travelling there will be drinks and tables for you to eat your own packed lunches in the Rokeby Room, within the Benn Hall beforehand, or there are many eating places in the Town Centre.
The service will be a reflection of Anthea’s life and a brief explanation of the wonderful Truth of God that Anthea, as a teenager, was seeking for and found. It changed her life and gave her her strong faith so that she was able to comfort those who came to visit her in hospital, who were perhaps amazed at her frequent statement that she was not afraid to die (but she did hope she would be spared a period of intense pain – which she was). She would have loved you to understand the plain, logical message of Hope that the Bible has of the wonderful time that God has promised when His Son, the Lord Jesus returns to rule the earth from Jerusalem. As a teenager reading the Bible she could see the importance of Israel in God’s Purpose. And she had witnessed the establishment of the State of Israel after an exile of 2,000 years - a unique occurrence in any nation’s history. So when at Pershore Horticultural College (well, Institute in those days) she asked me to explain how the Jews fitted into God’s Purpose, she found that she had asked me to open the door to a pearl of great price and was baptised (immersed) into the saving Name of the Lord Jesus a few months later, having discovered that sadly so much of what she had been taught in the Church, didn’t match with what she read in her Bible. So please come along if you possible can.
After the service the burial will be at the Greenhaven woodland burial ground at Lilbourne – about 6 miles to the east of the Benn Hall (maps will be provided) at approx. 2.30pm. This gives time to go to the loo at the Benn, because there are no facilities in the field! The informal plots look across to Lutterworth, Gilmorton and Walcote - places of Anthea’s childhood. Bring your flat shoes as it is a natural woodland area with only grass paths. If it has been raining it may be a bit muddy so put your wellies and brollies in the boot! This was the first private woodland burial site in the UK, established 20 years ago. You will only find wooden plaques marking the graves and a native species sapling is planted for each plot – we have chosen a wild cherry. Following the short service and interment, the family invite you to return to the Benn Hall for refreshments and reminiscing. If you don't want to go to teh burial, then please stay at the Benn.
What the family would love is for you to record your memories and some of the sayings of Anthea and post them on this site which the Coop have set up.
Anthea was well known – we have lived in Hillmorton for nearly 50 years. She travelled on the 3/3A; 10; 96 buses to Town and back virtually every day. As a foster mother and child-minder for 30-40 years, the Silver Cross pram (now in the Rugby Museum!) and its ever changing babies were well known in Hillmorton and quite a talking point. She was always there to listen and to give advice. Her breadth of knowledge was quite amazing. Within our Christadelphian community she was well known as a Youth Group leader and a Camp leader at the Youth Camps that were held in Anglesey. Anthea often accompanied me when I was speaking at other Christadelphian meetings around the country. She could remember who was related to whom, quite a valuable asset when talking within such a caring and interlinked community.
By way of follow-up to explaining Anthea’s beliefs, we also invite you to come along on Easter Sunday 4th April, when the Bible talk at 3pm at the Christadelphian Hall, 76 Oliver St is entitled Why I believe the Bible (this is quite fortuitous as the subject was chosen in January.) Our Bible Talks are uploaded to YouTube afterwards and I can give you the link on request.
Donations in lieu of flowers.
As part of Anthea’s keen interest in God’s nation, the Jews, she was for many years active in the collection of clothing for needy Jews. This is now channelled through the Christadelphian Jewish Clothing Relief. (Click on the "Anthea Pearce" tab on my website www.milestonesuk.org for more details.) We have a unit in Birmingham where clothes which have been collected locally are sent to. Here they are sorted and every few weeks a big lorry takes them to London for sending to areas like Ukraine where there are many living in poverty. (The last shipment consisted of 13,000 items weighing 5 tonnes collected over the 11 week period since the previous shipping). Money raised from selling rags and from donations helps pay for wool for knitting blankets. Recently there has been a move to sending money so that repairs can be made to their houses and supply practical help to these people who live in poverty and are despised by the local population. Clothing is sent also to Israel to help the many Jews arriving in ever growing numbers because of anti-Semitism, with just the clothes they stand up in. Anthea would crochet together the knitted squares provided by our members, turning them into blankets. She collected the donations and sorted and bagged them – even rags are sold to raise money. She would scour the Charity Shops and bargain rails in Asda etc to buy new baby and toddler items to be sent off. (If you have new/old clothes don’t dump them, let me have them – I can provide a list of what is wanted and the sizes of squares if you are a knitter – wool is provided.) So the collection is for the Christadelphian Jewish Clothing Fund. There will be a collection box at the Hall, or you can donate online – you can do an online transfer to
Ac: Refugee Clothing Relief,
Sort code 30-62-61
Account number 48128968.
Ref: in memory of Anthea
. Also there is a tab on this site to leave your thoughts and recollections.
Thanks for your help.
So to summarise. (Revised 19th Mar)
Wed April 1st
11.00 Benn Hall, Newbold Road, Rugby opens (CV21 2LN)
12.40am approx. coffin leaves 76 High St.
2.30pm Burial at Lilbourne Greenhaven (CV23 0SZ)
3.30pm onwards, refreshments back at Benn Hall
We hope that you will be able to join Anthea’s family and friends in celebrating her life and faith.
If you are unable to attend, we are looking to see if we can unobtrusively place a camera to put out a live broadcast on a private YouTube channel. Just email Stuart at email@example.com for details.
PS. Anthea always said that she didn’t want people to come in all black to her funeral, so please wear as much colour as you feel comfortable with.
PPS. Our grateful thanks to the wonderful care and services provided by the NHS. Some things could have been better, but we have nothing but praise, we were seen by some outstanding people.
With love from:
Donald, Erica, Matthew, Marc, Jasmine and her 8 grandchildren.
76 High St,
Rugby CV21 4EE