This site is dedicated to the memory of Edna Grace Louise Hunter!

Edna at her sewing machine

Chris's Mum

Early Years Edna's Life with children FUNERAL SERVICE EULOGY Edna's Theatrical Period

Early Years

Edna was born on the 24th August 1918 at 22 Ranelagh Road Portsmouth. She was the second girl, sister to Alva Eunice.

I regret to say that I know very little about my mothers early life, as I write this she lies dying in a Warminster Hospital (18 November 2006) and is unable to speak to me of these times.

I will always regret not talking to her more about her self. We talked and colluded on details about the rest of the family but missed out this important detail.

I guess we thought she would live a lot longer, like her Mum Lotte who died aged 96. Edna is only 88.

What little I know was that she was very self sufficient and although younger than her sister, was the leader in the family. Her mother relied on her for much of her support.

Edna grew up and lived her life in the service of others. That's not to say that she was a doormat, she really liked to be helping people.

She was a wonderful mother to us and a loyal and loving wife to Harry. In addition to raising my brother, me and my sister Sally, she also took under her wing the twin daughters (Pauline and Lynda) of Harry's first cousin Evelyn May Talman, nee Rickman.

They came to Edna when they were babies and stayed with us until they were seven. Evelyn had tuberculosis and was too weak to take on the extra burden of twins as well as her existing duties in caring for the twins' older brother and sister, Roger and Marylyn.

Edna would have loved to keep the twins but Evelyn wanted them back and Edna had no legal rights, it having been an informal arrangement. I remember feeling angry and confused at the time and unhappy about my two young "sisters" being taken away from us.

Edna died in the Warminster Hospital on 22n November 2006, she drew her final breath at 17:20 so bringing to and end the life of a remarkable person. The funeral service eulogy that follows later was written by those two young "sisters" and spoken by Lynda at Edna's funeral. I think it gives a good flavour of my Mum and indicates how much we all loved her and were proud to have her as our Mother.

Edna, A Tribute to a wonderful Mother

by Lynda and Pauline nee Talman

Each of you will have your own treasured and special memories of Edna but we would like to share with you some of the special memories that we have, and pay tribute to a truly wonderful person.

Edna of course had a life before we arrived in it and I understand, from those who knew her,it was fulfilling and enriched by all her activities and the many friends she had. I believe that she, Evelyn and Alva got up to all sorts of things, but secrecy prevails and we never got to know what sorts of things they got up to.

She and Harry were pretty proud of their young family, John, Chris and Sally even though life was tough trying to balance an income and ensure everyone was well shod and well fed. When Evelyn got sick and her twinsneeded care, Edna and Harry took on the role of parents to these two small babies and so the family grew from five to seven and the budget stretched to feed and cloth the new additions, Pauline and Lynda.

There is no memory of unhappy times but rather lots of laughter and kidness, although of course like all families there were the petty squabbles but Ena would soon put a stop to that with her authoritative tone and a look that said I am watching you”. In particular Sunday meals seemed to be very special in our house and no one could cook rice pudding or apple crunchie quite like she could. Although Evelyn said the crunchie was a replacement for pastry which Edna could not make.

She was pretty good with sewing and knitting needles too and there are memories of lots of nice dresses, not for the boys of course, and wonderful fancy dress costumes. I truly believe that we must have had the best fancy dress costumes ever made and we certainly won prizes with her innovative ideas and memories of matching cardigans with rabbits and cats remain and can be evidenced in the many photos taken.

She was a wonderful teacher, but was not above the odd bit of bribery to encourage the learning process. I think it was 6 pence to take your feet off the bottom of the shingle sea bed and take to swimming. Heavens knows what it cost her for John's degree!!! But you know it did not matter whether you were academic or practical to her, she was always so proud of all our achievements.

Edna had many grandchildren, great grandchildren and at least one godchild, all of whom were very fond of her. She was also fond and proud of them and this was very evident by the photo viewings we got whenever we visited.

With kids grown up Edna threw herself into all sorts of things, the theatre at the end of the pier and Kings theatre were lucky to have her expertise in costume making and the cast of many a production delighted in wearing her costumes. A natural progression from this was Edna's successful fancy dress shop in Southsea, which suited her lively character.

She had to be busy, it was her nature and this was what led her into charity work and the womens institute, both of which led to even more friendships.

Edna amazed us all when in her later years she took up Italian classes and learnt to speak Italian to quite a high level. I believe she took and passed an A level in Italian as well as taking O levels in other subjects, and we were all so proud of her.

Edna was a phenominal reader and read as often as her busy life allowed. When she "retired to the country" she consumed cartloads of books each week from the Warminster and Frome libraries, on a hugely wide range of subjects.

Doug and Edna hd known each other since childhood but each of their lives took them in different directions. Some years after both had become widowed they met up again and a romance blossomed. Edna loved her life with Doug and very much enjoyed the companionship he provided. She was very happy living in Horningsham and loved being involved with the community there.

To her family Edna was a truly wonderful women and we will miss her so very much but we believe that she has provided us with values, principals, so much love and such wonderful memories that she will never be forgotten, a little of her lives on in each of us.

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Edna's Life with children

I have a feeling of hesitance as I try to put into words memories and assumptions about how Edna lived her life, really she should be here and I should be asking the questions and getting her answers. Instead, I am asking the questions of myself and answering as I think she might have. The accuracy cannot therefore be guaranteed. Anyone reading this who can spread a different light is very welcome to contact me and I will endeavour to include their slant on things. So this account is very subjective and is my opinion only at this stage

Edna's mum Lotte Beatrice Horton was much younger than her dad George James Hunter. She liked to dance and have a good time. Jim was a bit set in his ways and did not like his wife going out dressed up to the nines to go dancing. Edna always said she thought it was innocent enough but Jim finally cracked one day and told Lotte that if she went out of the door she would not be let back in. I expect she thought he was bluffing, but he wasn't. Thus Edna and her sister Alva became the children of a single parent. This all took place a long time ago and attitudes to single mums were much different then. The little family would have been very hard up and I expect the girls took some flack at school. They had to find somewhere to live. In those days not very many people owned their own house, renting was far more common. I think mum said she lived in seven different houses in her young days. They moved when they couldn't afford the rent, pushing a hand cart from one house to the next with their meagre possessions on. One might of thought that this experience would have made mum careful with money, and indeed it did enabling her to bring up the seven of us through times when only Harry was earning, we always ate well and were clothed to a reasonable standard. Lotte found work in canteens as a cook, something she would go on to do during world war two, working for the NAAFI up at Scapa Flow on the Orkneys. By this time Edna and Alva were both set up with men. Harry in my mum's case, a soldier and Arthur Brudenell with Alva, a sailor. In those intervening years Edna went to school where she was a good scholar, winning a prize for literature. She chose Ben Hur. Edna was of a religious nature, she converted to the Roman Catholic faith, an act she never satisfactorily explained to me. She did not push religion on us and did not attend church regularly, but she was nevertheless a believer. Her first job on leaving school was as a kennel maid, her love affair with dogs formed here, never left her. She owned a dog almost continuously for the whole of her life, sometimes two at a time. When she died she left a whippet, Poppy with her husband Doug. This dog has been a great comfort and companion to him.

Edna married Harry and the phase of her life I describe in the Chris page began, from living a claustaphobic life with her in-laws in a small terrace in Portsmouth to the liberated experience deep in the Wiltshire countryside where I was born.

It is a sad thing that I took my parents for granted when I was young, I showed little interest in them and any problems or successes they might have had, I was so preoccupied with my own growing up and my own problems. I like to think that I am not unique in this and that most other children and teenagers are the same. Through the school and teenage years I am aware only that mum cared for us and about us. She was there for me when school accused me of stealing ( which I didn't) and she was like a lioness in my defence. Again she was there for me when I was aged 7 and a schoolmaster told me I would never be as good as my brother. And again and again, when I had a mastoid, had scarlet feaver and all through the long years of trying to get my teeth straight when another mother might not have cared or given up.

It was mum who entered me for the Dockyard entrance exam and set me off on what was to be a lifelong and rewarding career. It was only when John had gone off to Keele University and Sally was old enough to go away to Winchester and catering college that she tried again to get a bit of her own life back.

Edna's Theatrical Period

Harry was working as a stage hand at the South Parade Pier Southsea and found out that Yana (a starlet of the time) needed a dresser, Edna jumped at the opportunity and a lifetime love of theatre was launched.She enjoyed her new freedom and feelings of selfworth not to mention the money she earned which gave her independence from Harry for the first time since their marriage. Yana was in a show with Bob Monkhouse at the time and he was being sponsored by Cadbury's snack. One of his catch phrases was "Bridge that gap with a Cadbury's snack" at which point he would slap a Cadbury's snack bar across Yana's bare tummy. Innocent fun from a bye gone age.

When the season closed Mum went on to be dresser for Jimmy Edwards in pantomime at the Kings theatre. She made him a costume with stars and moons as he was playing a wizard. This sewed the seeds for an idea for a business that she would eventually run with her freind Maizie

The following year she was wardrobe mistress at the pier for Harold Fielding's show with Charlie Chester as the star. Incidently it was in this show that I met my wife Elaine. I was working as a stage hand alongside my Dad.

She did the dresser job again at the King's the following year, this time looking after Frankie Howerd. The next summer was at the pier again as wardrobe mistress for the Bernard Delfont show starring Mike and Bernie winters. She also did amateur dramatics herself and appeared in Christopher Isherwoods play "I am a camera". Sometime in this period, she spent a time away from us working in Pthelwi at a Butlins Holiday camp.

The idea that she had when she made a costume for Jimmie Edwards was to open a dress hire shop. This she did with the Help of Buster a freind of my MUm and Dad. The shop was called Masquerade on Elm Grove Portsmouth. Maisie and Mum made many of their own costumes. They had a thriving business and enjoyed their newly aquired wealth. Mum's new money was spent freely. She was very generous. For someone who had never had money she wasn't possessive with it and spent it on many house improvement schemes as well as some lovely antique jewellery that she wore and gave away to daughters and daughter in law when she grew older

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