Margaret Cross


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Margaret was born 19 October 1919 in Lincoln. WW1 was just finished and Margaret grew up through difficult times for the country. When nearly 20, in 1939 she was in town with a friend watching at a roller skating rink near the Ritz cinema.

At this time, Tom had just been posted from RAF Cranwell to RAF Waddington and had gone to Lincoln to explore the area with a friend... the friend was very shy, but when Tom spotted the two girls at the rink, he chose the attractive one on the right and told his chum that he should have the one on the left... Tom really “fell” for Margaret, it was “love at first sight” but not, at first, mutual and it took Tom two years to get her to marry him in 1941.

During WW2, from 41 to 43 they managed to stay together somehow, Pat was born in 1943 and very soon after this Tom was posted to Far East (in India mostly) and did not come home until 1946. Margaret and her daughter stayed in Lincoln, with her parents, and Hartfod with Tom’s during that time.

Home had a special meaning for Margaret; she told me they had worked out that during the first 31 years of marriage they had “moved” 30 times! I can imagine Margaret thinking that it was best to leave things in their boxes and not get them out. As Tom moved around with his job so Margaret was faithfully at his side, supporting him... to me that is real devotion. Even Tom has commented that “Margaret had the patience of a saint”.

Their daughter Pat married Brian in 1967 and they lived in Fleet, Hampshire, while Margaret and Tom were in Germany... and in 1975 Michael was born, from birth he was “the Apple of Margaret’s Eye”. When Mike was in his late teens and about to start University, his parents went to Kuala Lumpar, Malaysia with his Father’s work for several years, Margaret and Tom took on the parenting role, Mike was very attached to his Nanna.

Tom took early retirement from the RAF and they bought a house, chosen by Margaret in Brixham, Devon... with a wonderful sea view that went on forever, an idyllic place to live. But, one year on just as Margaret was getting settled, Tom was offered a job at Blandford with the Royal Corps of Signals, which he simply could not refuse, and, of his own volition, Tom found a house in Colehill, agreed to purchase without reference to, or advice from Margaret.

When Margaret came to view, oh dear, it was raining, the view from the front was of a utilities pole festooned with electric and telephone wire. Unlike Brixham with its endless sea-view and fresh air the view was to another house on the opposite side of the road and, as Margaret breathed in the Colehill air, the local farmer chose that time to go “muck spreading”. Tom recalls that at that moment, they came very close to a “Major Row”... As always Margaret knuckled down and made it a home. Neighbours became good friends. I came on the scene in 1999, when Margaret came across the road to where I was gardening and asked if I would take over her garden which did until I retired in 2008. Margaret and Tom were not just customers of mine, but over time, became very good friends.

I recall once when I had my strimmer going, Margaret came towards me from the back of the house, just as Tom came from the front turning towards them I “pruned” the rose with my strimmer. Margaret, for once, raised her voice “What have you done Rod?” I apologised and said I’d replace them if they died. Next year she commented on how well the rose had done, especially after the sever pruning I gave them with the strimmer.

Margaret was never idle; she was in the WRVS and served meals at a local Luncheon Club for some thirty years. She told me that she was serving meals to “old” folk, most of whom were younger than she was! With Yoga, Extend and Lip Reading classes, Margaret made many friends. Largely because of her deafness (both ear-drums being perforated), Margaret was a good listener and always sympathetic and helpful, people took to her and soon loved her.

When the Vietnam boat people came to Sopley to be housed, Margaret was there handing out clothing, ever thoughtful of others needs.

Tom and Margaret’s relationship was not harmed when they bought the house in Pilford Heath Road, for they enjoyed another 40 years together, receiving cards for their 50, 60 and 70th anniversaries from HM the Queen.

So what lessons could we learn from Margaret’s life:
A faithful and devoted wife to Tom
A Mother to Pat
A Nanna to Mike
A Friend to Neighbours
A loving attitude and concern for those in need.
A listening ear to those who shared and sought her wisdom
A lady greatly loved by Tom and family, a very good friend to the rest of us.

She will be sorely missed.

The Eulogy given at Margaret’s Funeral by Mr Rod Hill, who officiated.

Added by: Thomas Cross on 15th May 2013.

 

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Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund
67 Portland Place, London W1B 1AR
0800 169 2942
Registered Charity No. 1081009