Vivienne Norah Hastie 1928 – 2019

Just three and a half months after we paid our final respects to her husband Jim, we assembled again at the West Suffolk Crematorium on 27th February to celebrate the life of Vivienne who died on 19th January 2019. Thus ended a 66-year association with Foxearth village for this well-known and greatly respected couple. An affectionate eulogy compiled by the family was read at the service.

Vivienne was born in December 1928 in Glemsford to Ethel and Walter Brown: she was their fourth and final child with brothers Henry (usually known as Harry), Clifford and sister Eva. She often recalled to her family walking to her primary school with its Victorian stove and describing the friends she made – a very early one being Molly who stayed in touch for 85 years to share many birthdays and visits. Other memories from those days were the amount of walking and cycling that had to be done and the worry that her mother felt when Clifford joined the Royal Air Force and the relief when the war ended and he resumed civilian life. Vivienne played her part in the war effort by knitting socks for soldiers. Marriage to Jim took place at Glemsford church in September 1953 and a long and rewarding life together was marked by a 65th anniversary last year. Moving to Huntsmans after their wedding Vivienne quickly became immersed in village life. She attended Foxearth church every Sunday and helped with cleaning and flower arranging and she delivered the Parish News by bicycle. To the delight of the couple daughters Judith and June duly arrived. In addition to caring for her family Vivienne’s particular strengths were careful housekeeping and an ever cheerful approach to hard work and economy: qualities which Jim shared. As Jim often worked long days on the farm during harvest time Vivienne decided that learning to drive would make life a bit easier and  Jim’s limitations as an instructor were no deterrent! Vivienne’s patience won and she eventually taught her daughters to drive. Living on the outskirts of the village could have been lonely but Vivienne was a true countrywoman joining in so many activities. She collected for Cancer Research and the British Legion Poppy Appeal , was an active member of the Over 60s Club and the Women’s Institute taking Scottish country dancing, baking, dress and hat making, preserves, trips and outings all in her stride. If elderly neighbours needed a helping hand Vivienne was there for them. Fetes, coffee mornings, bring and buy sales etc. all benefitted from her willingness to help. She was also captain of the WI darts team – and not a lot of us knew that! In due course grandchildren came along which meant meeting Simon and Rebecca from school and visiting Anna, Lucy and Charlie where they lived in France. Vivienne was a hands-on grandmother, never too busy to baby-sit, give cooking lessons, knit jumpers and a multitude of other helpful tasks. Until old age made it difficult Vivienne was a regular borrower at the fortnightly (now, alas, less frequent) library van where we would always have a chat about local issues.

It was entirely fitting that at the end of the service a recording of Jerusalem by Voices of the WI was played. Vivienne was widely admired for her cheerful personality, her sense of community and her commitment to village life She passed away peacefully and  will be  missed  but fondly remembered by all who had the good fortune to meet her .

Ken Nice


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