Remembering Florrie Barker – 1918 to 2019

A few from St John’s joined other friends and family of Florrie Barker for a service to celebrate her life at Hanworth Crematorium this last Thursday. Former vicar Rev Peter Myles was also present. Florrie died in February just shy of her 101st birthday. Florrie’s daughter Maggie and granddaughters Niki and Steph shared some memories. Here are a few highlights.

Florrie was a kind, courteous friend to many and loyal and dedicated mother, wife and grandmother. When her mother died, she had to care for her younger brother as her father found it difficult. She had a good sense of humour and was very generous – always delighted for people to pop over and have a cup of tea in which chocolates, cakes and sweets would be doled out. She was thoughtful and always remembered people’s birthdays and sent out a huge number of Christmas cards each year.

Florrie was a regular member of St John’s church – and was proud to live so close to the church at her flat in St John’s Court. It was a sadness to her in her final years that she could not attend more regularly than she did. She was very involved in the women’s fellowship at one time and saw it as a privilege to serve the chalice at communion. She was often behind a table serving or selling something at a church fair or jumble sale.

Florrie always had her sewing basket out and went to Kingston market to buy remnants that she made into skirts, aprons and bags. She would make clothes for her daughter and also clothes for children’s dolls. When Florrie made a dress for Maggie’s 16th birthday party, Maggie recalls not necessarily approving of her Mum’s taste. Florrie compensated by teaching Maggie how to sew for herself.

Florrie loved animals and was always kind to creatures of different kinds and would spoil the family cat or dog with treats. Once, she left out some milk and food for what she thought was a hedgehog in the garden. It turned out to be the neighbour’s cat, who in the end chose to make Florrie’s house her home. Florrie couldn’t bear to watch animal programmes in case she saw the animals suffer.

Florrie did not much like exercise. After a fall, the physio might recommend some exercises, but Florrie would wiggle her toes from the position of her chair and say “that’ll do.” However, from time to time, maybe on a holiday or special occasion she would get up and have a dance, perhaps to something by ABBA – and expect everyone else to join in!