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Shirley Ursula Marsh

Also known as: Shirl.

Picture of Shirley Ursula Marsh.


31/08/1935 – 19/04/2012

Shirley Ursula Mills was born on the 31st august 1935 in the railway hospital, Jubbulpore India. She was the middle child of five (Colleen Raymond (known as Bill), Shirley, Rodney and Daryl born to Percy and Margaret Mills.
She had all her early education in India attending Christchurch High School for girls where she proved to be a keen sports woman who excelled at athletics.
Her beloved elder brother Bill’s earliest recollections of Shirley was that
“She was the cheeky and mischievous one and she was always the one in trouble with mum and dad. Growing up in India in the 1940’s was the music decade of the Big Bands, and the dance craze of those war years was “The Jitterbug.” I remember in our garden we had a skinny mango tree, that never ever grew any mango’s, however it provided the perfect prop for Shirley to practice her “Jitterbug steps with her imaginary boyfriend.
My brothers Rod, Daryl and I would sometimes watch from behind the largest plant pots, giggling, undiscovered by Shirl. Her hours of dance practice paid off when she became a popular dancer and singer at the Railway Institute dances in her early teens, especially with the visiting Bombay boys who knew how to Jitterbug with style. We had many precious memories and wonderful care free days growing up in a special place and time”
In 1951, aged 16years Shirley and the Mills family emigrated to England aboard the SS Stratnaver sailing through the Suez canal and into Tilbury docks to settle in Lever Edge Lane, Bolton in a house bought by their Uncle Len Mills.
Shirley worked as a shop assistant in Woolworths, Bolton before qualifying as a State Registered Nurse in Chase Farm, Enfield. She followed in the profession of her beloved sister Colleen. Her dear friend Cathy recalled that Shirley worked as a nursing sister at Bolton Royal Infirmary on the Medical emergency ward, then on general male surgical wards at Townleys’ now known as the Royal Bolton Hospital. We were told that Shirley was always firm but fair with her staff as she was not a woman to settle for second best when it came to the care of staff and patients!!
Later in her career she worked at North Manchester General and ended her formal nursing Career as an Occupational Health nurse for Edbros.
Shirley never lost her nursing roots as she remained a carer all her life. She loved looking after people as this was her vocation. When she met and married Norman Marsh in the 1960’s some would say that was a match made in heaven. He was the intelligent, reflective, gentle type of personality whereas Shirley was a dynamic bundle of energy and fun. She has a fridge magnet which sums up some of her personality, “
Warning- I have an attitude and I know how to use it.”
Shirley had many interests and hobbies, she loved to travel: Yugoslavia, Australia, New Zealand, Goa, the Caribbean, the Lake District, even Lincolnshire– no place was too far! And given the opportunity she would travel first class.
She was an avid reader of murder mysteries and a crossword queen with her dear friend and neighbour at Wigan Road, Carol, whom she’d dearly wished to visit at her new home in France but sadly her illness returned. I will never forget our family holiday to Jamaica and dancing in the disco late at night after one too many Black Russians!
She was an active member of the ladies fellowship at St Simon and St Judes’ Church (Rishton Lane, Bolton) where she made many friends including Jenny and Alice and she regularly taxied elderly parishioners to and from church.
Shirley loved to cook. The infamous Cull cull making sessions with Gwen, Jenny Merlin, Cathy and Coll, even involving the children, spring instantly to mind.
Shirley was also a lady who lunched with her nursing friends on a regular basis, she became the treasurer who looked after their monies for their trips out and Christmas parties each year.
Shirley loved her home comforts and was thrilled with her new flat at Hulton Lane, right next door to her great friend Pat.
Shirley loved animals especially tigers and had two extra special pets in her life - Roy a bull terrier who both Norman and Shirley loved, though he terrified everyone else! And Mellor, a tortoiseshell cat, who as a tiny, abandoned kitten was nursed to full health by Shirley by feeding milk to her through a syringe and was her companion for 18 years.
Shirley had oodles of care and compassion for children. She did not have any birth children but was blessed with a niece and nephew, Corinna and Young Bill in Australia, and her “adopted family and children” in the Otter, Strange, Hyams, Kwee, Hyams-Ssekasi clans. Shirley was a great aunt to Daniel, Rebecca, Joshua, Alice, Noah and Oliver. Shirley was devoted to her birth family in the UK and Australia, and also her adopted family and friends everywhere.
We are here today to remember and celebrate the life of a wonderful woman who introduced many to her love of music, sport, tigers, jewellery, clothes and food especially chicken byriani, Samosas, patties, mango fool and condensed milk on hot buttered toast!!(just ask the children!)
Her Christian faith helped and guided her through life’s rich tapestry with the loss of her parents, husband Norman, siblings Daryl, Colleen and Rodney and her beloved pets.
Most of all the part of life that Shirley treasured the most was time spent with family and friends. She was a great organiser who wanted people to come in unity together to enjoy life and celebrate.
Shirley will always be remembered for her sense of humour, style, fun loving ways, independence, generosity ,attending numerous school and sporting events in support of the children, her feistiness and compassion for people in need.
Many of us knew Shirley as the woman ever ready to stand up for the underdog and the down trodden. She was a woman who lived life to the full and always maintained her dignity and spirit of adventure.
Now, as Shirley, daughter of Percy and Margaret, sister to Bill, Rod, Colleen and Daryl, nursing sister to thousands of patients and mother to a vast adopted family rejoins her departed family in the arms of angels on her final journey to our Holy Father in Heaven; perhaps her faith in God can now be understood as we remember that throughout her life and later illness she never made a fuss or complained, never wanting to be a burden to those who offered help, as she constantly reassured us “Truly, I’ll be OK”.

Added by: Nigel Hyams on 19 March 2013.

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Picture of Shirley Ursula Marsh.
Picture of Shirley Ursula Marsh.
Picture of Shirley Ursula Marsh.

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