In loving memory of Ivy (Bubbles) Alice Elizabeth Russell who sadly passed away on 14th April 2020
Born Ivy Alice Elizabeth on 3 March 1931, but known to all as Bubbles, because as a child she looked like the girl in the Pears Soap advert.
Bubbles was born in Chingford, to Alice and Harold, was baptised at St Edmund’s, and only left Chingford during her life when she was evacuated during the war.
One of five children, Frank, Rowland, Joan and Alan, Bubbles grew up to be 4 feet 11 inches tall.
The brothers all married and had families, but Joan and Bubbles did not marry and lived together in the family home in Templeton Avenue.
At 89, Bubbles was the eldest of the remaining extended family of Russell’s, Freshwater’s, Perry’s, Green’s and Little’s.
She played hockey as a girl and young woman, for West Essex Hockey club, her father Frank being the team coach, and her nickname was Bundle as she was ferocious, apparently.
She worked in Personnel (as it was then called) in a company that was taken over by Debenhams. Although she retired at 60, Bubbles kept working for Debenhams - visiting (her) pensioners in their homes checking that they were coping with retirement and helping with any issues / problems in their lives. She reduced her hours when Joan became very ill and had to stop completely aged 81 after her stroke.
She was an excellent driver and covered hundreds of miles visiting her pensioners. In the olden days when car seats were not so adjustable her brother Rowland had to raise the seat on her car, aptly a Mini, as well as add blocks to the pedals so that she could reach them and see over the steering wheel.
Although Bubbles had no children of her own, she is remembered with much love by her many nephews and nieces. They recall car trips to visit family with her, and she always had smarties in a box and ice cream on those trips. Bubbles was very proud of all her family and loved to talk about them and was always pleased to see them when they visited.
Bubbles had a sweet tooth and there are many stories of boxes of maltesers, smarties and the like being taken in her various homes. As she said, you can never have too much chocolate!
Guiding and Trefoil was a huge part of her life. She held many roles culminating in becoming a Division Commissioner. She influenced many girls and young women over the years. Bubbles' enthusiasm and energy was infectious, and she had a lovely sense of humour, showing care and genuine interest in the leaders and girls of every unit for which she was responsible. If Bubbles had been a stick of rock, you would have found Guiding running right through her! She ‘smiled and sang under all difficulties’. When she moved out of leadership in Guiding, she moved into the Trefoil Guild, where she took an active role in ensuring the group had a whole range of activities and a lot of fun!
She was there for her friends and her family, as Pauline her friend of over 60 years recalls, it was Bubbles, along with her sister Joan, who was there for her and her mother when they were going through some very difficult time. She always went that extra mile, and enjoyed as well as chocolate, the odd glass of sherry as a treat. She would certainly toast us all at any Church event.
Above all, Bubbles was a committed Christian and her faith continued throughout her life, including recent years when she lived first in sheltered care and then in the nursing home. She was a long-term member of St Edmund’s, at one point being on the Parochial Church Council and always supported the annual Guide carol service. In later years, Debbie the cab driver, was her lifeline to attending church each week, giving everyone that lovely smile of hers, and thanking those who cared for her.
Bubbles had been a very active person and the limitations after her stroke were a frustration to her, but she always made the best of everything, whether that was walk in the local park for coffee and cake, or a visit from her much loved family and friends or having her nails painted.
She will be much missed by so many yet leaves a wonderful legacy with the girls she influenced, the family and friends she loved, and who loved her, so in that sense she will never leave us. We will miss her smile, her eyes lighting up as she recognised those around her, but she had decided it was time for her to leave this earthly life. She left us during the season of Easter, the season above all others for Christians is about hope and new beginnings, so as we say goodbye to Bubbles we give thanks for her earthly life and pray for her in her new life with God.