Christine Cooney (24 Dec 1936 - 16 Feb 2021)

Donate in memory of
ChristineBSSA - British Sjogrens Syndrome Association

£1,140.00 + Gift Aid of £207.50
In partnership with

Funeral Service

Location
York Crematorium Bishopthorpe York YO23 2QD
Funeral Director
J G Fielder & Son Funeral Directors, York

In loving memory of Christine Cooney who sadly passed away on 16th February 2021

Sue Whitehead posted a picture

Christine's beautiful garden, Easter 2019

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  • How we’ll all miss the beautiful garden Mum created! It was art in a natural form

    Posted by Claire on 17/03/2021 Report abuse
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Sue Whitehead donated £100 in memory of Christine

From Sue and Kitty in fond memory of Christine

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Robert Thompson wrote

Christine Cooney – Tribute at Funeral

In May 1986, Edmund Cooney attended a drinks party in Skelton. He later said that across the room he saw a vision in white. That vision was my mother, Christine.

As a teenager, she was fit and quite sporty and captained the school’s hockey team. She became head girl of her school. I was going through some old family photos recently and came across some pictures taken of her when she was 18. She looked like a model - tall, slim and very attractive.

In fact, she was always an attractive woman who took care of her appearance choosing stylish clothes and matching colours carefully. She also used these same artistic talents on her great passion, her garden, as well as at Moorlands nature reserve where she was chair, in hobbies like flower arranging and brass rubbing in Norfolk churches.

Going into her late teens she embarked on the most adventurous phase of her life. First she spent some weeks working on a farm at Sleights in Yorkshire. It was here that she learnt from Mabel, the farmer’s wife, how to bake. We all benefited from her cakes over many years after that.

Then when she was 18 , she left home and went to live at the YWCA on Baker Street in London so that she could undertake a course in speech therapy at a college on Harley Street. She joined Young Friends at the Quaker meeting house on Euston Road.

It was at a Young Friends dance that my mother and father met. My father recounted how he was in a queue of six young men to dance with my mother and couldn’t believe his luck that she chose him.

In the early 1960s, Mum gave birth to me and then two years later Claire. Unfortunately in the same year as Claire’s birth, Mum’s father died and we moved house as a family. It was all too much and Mum had to go into a psychiatric hospital for several months to recover.

Claire and I recall our early years with great fondness. More than anybody, we both wanted to make our mother happy and to get her appreciation. We remember birthday parties playing pass the parcel to Beatles music, we remember all the cakes we ate, we remember some lovely family holidays.

At that time, our father introduced my mother to Zarita another speech therapist in York. Zarita became a life long friend of Mum’s. We also used to enjoy Zarita coming to baby sit and fluff up our pillows. Mum introduced Zarita to her brother Keith and it turns out that we weren’t the only ones in our family who liked their pillows to be fluffed. Soon, Zarita was our aunt.

I remember in the mid 1970s becoming frustrated with my mother and her inability to travel to other countries due to her suffering from agoraphobia for most of her life. In fact, she never left this country in her whole life. Nonetheless, she loved family holidays and instilled in us a great love for the Yorkshire Dales and the west coast of Scotland, both of which we visited many times.

My parents divorced in 1982 and Mum bought and did up a lovely old cottage on the Green in Skelton. She lived there for 38 years. Not only did she do wonderful things to her house but she developed her garden to be a thing of beauty. By now she was a real expert and put many unusual plants into her garden, knowing all the Latin names.

In May 1986 she met Edmund. They had a whirlwind romance and within just 3 months they got married. She had 13 years with Edmund which were amongst the happiest of her life. They travelled round the country on trips, often as part of the rhododendron group visiting various sites of interest.

I’m really pleased that Edmund’s two sons, Dan and Phil are here today.

Unfortunately, their relationship was all too brief and Edmund died in 1999.

She then went even more into her gardening and joined the team of volunteer gardeners at Beningborough Hall. She also took great pleasure in her family and particularly her two grandchildren, Richard and Peter – also here today. They remember her love of gardening too, her love of sport – particularly rugby, her phrase - spending a penny, doing jigsaws and crosswords – for instance, Granny is blank blank A blank blank Y.

She had long conversations with sister Vicky and with Keith and Zarita. She had many friends in the village too - John and Rhona, Rosie and Mark, Yonnie, Mary, Lena, Pauline, Molly, Peggy.

In 2004 she hurt her wrist in a fall. This took a long time to recover and whilst investigating this it was discovered that she had a nasty autoimmune condition called Sjogrens Syndrome. This went on to plague the rest of her life

To counter the Sjogrens, she took an increasing dose of steroids for the rest of her life. This plus her other conditions of Parkinsons, diabetes, chronic kidney disease and other things led to increasingly poor health.

After many years of care in her home from many people, particularly Dawn, she finally went into Lamel Beeches care home in February last year. This is on the site of the old Retreat Hospital where she had lived and been a patient 60 years earlier. The staff there are quite brilliant and superbly caring. But with the pandemic and despite many phone calls from us, it inevitably became a lonely existence for her.

Nonetheless, in the care home and latterly in hospital she remained so polite and good humoured with the nurses and carers. She was grateful to them all and still at times chortled at her own clumsiness for example.

Her health deteriorated quickly at the end and she died in hospital on February 16th.

That evening after I’d heard the news I was going through her emails unsubscribing her from mailing lists. I came across some photographs I’d taken that I’d sent her some days before – something I did regularly, always valuing her encouragement. I realised then that I still wanted to please her and to get her appreciation and that that would no longer be possible.

From Claire and me, goodbye Mum, we’ll miss you.







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Barbara Hendrie donated in memory of Christine

with all good wishes

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Barbara Hendrie wrote

Dear Claire, Robert, and all the family, my memories of Christine are chiefly from your years in the coach house. How lucky we were to live in such a lovely quiet place close to the field and pond. I am grateful to your mum for allowing me to play with Claire so often ( I think I was in your house as often as my own over the years !), for taking me on trips to the Yorkshire Dales,for introducing me to the work of Moorlands and conservation,- such important values for current times; for supplying us with chocolate and Victoria sponge cake ..!... in short,for nurturing a friendship with Claire which has lasted over 50 years and is still such a source of comfort to me today. I shall never forget Christine's smiling and kind presence from childhood.
Sending you all love and happy memories, Barbara

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  • Barbara Thanks for your donation and for your lovely message, We all had cakes after the ceremony which was a reminder of her baking for all of us. Robert

    Posted by Robert on 15/03/2021 Report abuse
  • Thank you dear Abbas for such a beautiful message. Having those shared memories of the past and the people we loved is so precious. Our mums were both really accommodating and generous. Lots of love

    Posted by Claire on 15/03/2021 Report abuse
  • Babs not Abbas!

    Posted by Claire on 15/03/2021 Report abuse
  • ....Although Abba was also a part of all our childhoods and youth ! Anther thing Christine tolerated amicably--- our musical efforts -me singing, you playing the piano- we were free to make alot of noise and mayhem ! Thankyou to your mum.

    Posted by Barbara on 15/03/2021 Report abuse
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Julie McLeod wrote

All of our best wishes at this sad time
the McLeod family

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Julie McLeod donated £30 in memory of Christine

We met Christine and shared some lovely meals when she came down to visit Robert and Caroline in Henley. My overriding memory of her is that she had a beautiful smile and a real kindness and gentleness about her.
To Robert, Claire and all the family, our best wishes are with you at this sad time.
Love from the McLeod Family x

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  • Julie and Norman Thanks for your generous donation and v=for your lovely thoughts. Robert

    Posted by Robert on 15/03/2021 Report abuse
  • Thank you Julie and Norman, I really appreciate your kind message and donation

    Posted by Claire on 15/03/2021 Report abuse
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Claire Irwin posted a picture

Claire and Robert's Mum's beautiful garden

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  • Thank you for posting theses photos dear Claire. Mum’s garden was so beautiful and all her own creation. A really special place.

    Posted by Claire on 15/03/2021 Report abuse
  • Claire that's a lovely picture of her garden. Thanks for posting it, Robert

    Posted by Robert on 15/03/2021 Report abuse
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Claire Irwin posted a picture

Claire and Rachel, in Christine's lovely garden

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Claire Irwin wrote

Dear Claire and Robert,
We are so sorry for the very sad loss of your dear Mum. I remember meeting her about 30 years ago. She was very tall and striking and I was slightly in awe of her! I then met her a few times in recent years. Claire took Rachel and I and a friend of Rachel's to visit your Mum. She was such a sweet, kind lady and was so delighted to see us and so welcoming and friendly, despite the fact that she was not able to move around easily. She seemed so gracious and she entertained us in good old-fashioned style and we all chatted together. She was very generous to us in that she allowed us to wander round her garden - in fact, she was so pleased for us to go outside and enjoy it! It was a truly idyllic garden. We wandered round and took a few photos - Rachel wanted to paint some flowers, I think. We then sat outside in the sun. Christine seemed a very calm person, so interesting and well-informed - no wonder you are her children! It was lovely to meet her, these are very happy memories for me. I hope she is at peace. With many condolences to all the family.
love and best wishes, Claire
p.s. I have donated to Sjogrens Syndrome, but I foolishly went straight to their JustGiving page, as I did not see the link here. I would like to post a photo of your Mum's garden on that day, but I can't find it yet. I will add if I can locate one.

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  • Thank you very much Claire for your lovely message. I remember the day of that particular visit well and how sweet you were to Mum, bringing fresh strawberries for her. And thank you for your donation, it’s much appreciated.

    Posted by Claire on 15/03/2021 Report abuse
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Eileen Goodenough wrote

Ron and I remember Christine very fondly. She and Edmund came to stay in our holiday cottage in another Skelton area! We so enjoyed their company. They bought us a glorious poppy for our garden and it still thrives. When we see it each year we think of Christine. My parents, Danny and Jean, met Christine in her home and told us of their happy times with her.
Sadly missed. Fondly remembered.

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  • Thank you Eileen for your lovely message and memories. Mum and Edmund very much enjoyed their stay with you in the other Skelton. It was their last holiday together. Mum also loved going to the nursery at Poet’s Corner which has supplied so much of your glorious garden.

    Posted by Claire on 14/03/2021 Report abuse
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Robert Thompson posted a picture

December 2018

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Peter Hall donated £100 in memory of Christine

Lena and I will be thinking of you. Lena remember many happy occasions in Christine's company especially one outing to Harlow Carr where she learned so much about plants and trees. She was so enthusiastic and very good company. So many other delightful memories. She will be sorely missed.

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  • Thank you Peter and Lena, you were good friends to mum and she was close friends with Lena since the 70s. Thank you for sharing happy memories

    Posted by Claire on 14/03/2021 Report abuse
  • Lena and Peter, thank you for your generous donation, Thanks for being such good friends to my mother over many years. Robert

    Posted by Robert on 15/03/2021 Report abuse
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Vicky Hudson donated £50 in memory of Christine

I've decided to add to my original donation, because I think Christine would have been delighted if £1,000 was raised for the Sjogren's Society, which she supported from her diagnosis, in her memory. This brings the total to over £1,000 when gift aid is included. I can't begin to list the myriad ways in which I'll miss her, although they begin with lots of memories of my big sister when I was a child and teenager, and end with many happy visits to Skelton with lovely outings (usually to gardens of course!) and, in later years, frequent long phone calls.

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  • Thanks Vicky, generous of you to top up the amount. It’s wonderful that we have raised so much for the BSSA

    Posted by Claire on 14/03/2021 Report abuse
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Simon Wells posted a picture
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  • August 2019

    Posted by Caroline on 14/03/2021 Report abuse
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Robert Thompson posted a picture

With Claire at Graduation in 1983

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Caroline Wells donated £100 in memory of Christine

In loving memory of Christine

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Caroline Wells wrote

I shall treasure my memories of coming to stay with you in the last few summers, in your gorgeous cottage in Skelton, spending time with you and Claire. You were always such a generous host with delicious meals planned. I enjoyed our chats and of course wandering in your garden. I shall miss you.

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  • Caroline, Mum always enjoyed your visits, you were so lovely to her (and everyone else). Thanks for the generous donation too. Robert

    Posted by Robert on 13/03/2021 Report abuse
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Sally Roberts wrote

Christine was almost three years older than me. I was so in awe of her during my teen age years, as she was beautiful, gentle and kind. I seem to remember that I equated her with Cousin Helen in "What Katy Did" ; a person to aspire to be. I remember her with great fondness.

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  • Thank you Sally, mum was all of those things. It’s lovely that you thought of her as like Cousin Helen!

    Posted by Claire on 14/03/2021 Report abuse
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Robert Thompson posted a picture

1958 wedding to Michael with father Roy

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Robert Thompson posted a picture

With the Pembertons at Keld in ?2013

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Laura Potts donated £50 in memory of Christine

For Christine: a kind, erudite plantswoman.

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Laura Potts wrote

I was sent by Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, for whom I was briefly working, to meet the chair of Moorlands and discuss setting up children's activities and an education centre. I remember immediately feeling enthused by Christine's knowledge and warmth, and delighted to be introduced to the reserve by her. Our friendship long outlasted my work for the Trust: she persuaded me onto the committee (where argumentative meetings about strategy in her sitting room were leavened by delicious snacks), and we dug up leaf mould for her garden rhodies bed, and planted lots of trees and shrubs together at Moorlands - the snake bark maple, the sorbus collection, more azaleas. And I became her gardener in Skelton. I learned so much from her and she was so generous with her knowledge: a real plantswoman with such a fine aesthetic sensibility. She was so kind, so interested in people's lives and concerns, even when she was suffering herself so much. I'll always think of her at Moorlands, always when I try to recall plant names, always when I see erythroniums which she introduced me to, and which we both loved. I'll sneak some in at Moorlands in her memory!

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  • Laura What a lovely message - thank you. I can believe the delicious snacks - she was some cake baker as well as generally a good cook. Thanks for the generous donation too. Robert

    Posted by Robert on 10/03/2021 Report abuse
  • Laura, thank you for your beautiful message. Gardening and plants were Mum’s passion and I’m so happy that you shared this with her and learnt so much. I love the idea of some erythroniums in Moorlands. She had a White Beauty near her back door in Skelton which delighted her every year. Love, Claire

    Posted by Claire on 10/03/2021 Report abuse
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Robert Thompson posted a picture

In 1955.

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  • I remember that dress! Altought strangely I can no longer remember the colours. I'm sure it was a Horrocks' cotton one, very much the make to have. I thought Christine looked so beautiful in it that when I was 17 or 18 I made myself a very similar one. Thank you for another lovely photo, Robert. Vicky

    Posted by Vicky on 10/03/2021 Report abuse
  • Vicky, I seeing that dress I think. Was it pink with blue stripes? Mum looks stunning

    Posted by Claire on 10/03/2021 Report abuse
  • I think you might be right, Claire. I would certainly have said it had blue in it. I agree, Christine does look stunning in it - but then she almost always did!

    Posted by Vicky on 11/03/2021 Report abuse
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Peter Thompson donated £100 in memory of Christine

On behalf of Granny who was a positive influence on so many people including myself. I am sorry you had to suffer from this disease for so long

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Claire Thompson posted a picture

Christmas 2001

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Claire (Barber) Richardson wrote

To Claire and Robert all my best wishes at this time. Big thank you to Christine for nurturing my interest in gardening.
regards Claire and Joe Richardson

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  • Thank you Claire, lovely to hear from you at this time. Mum’s three Skelton gardens were all very special, glad that you remember them

    Posted by Claire on 9/03/2021 Report abuse
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Robert Thompson posted a picture

Head Girl at Wakefield High.

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Keith Pemberton donated £200 in memory of Christine

Our messages are on the condolences page.

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Robert Thompson posted a picture

With Claire and Caroline in 2012.

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