On Saturday (October 3rd) Julie and I attended the memorial meeting for our friend, Vicky Darling. It would have been her 90th birthday.
With her daughter, Josie, she had planned a big meeting to celebrate her life, with lots of food and socialising afterwards, but she died on the 4th of April and made plans well before that, before covid.
So the meeting that took place would have appeared very strange to her. The meeting was mainly on zoom with 98 people zooming, plus a further 30, mainly family, at the Friends (Quaker) Meeting House in Brighton.
Many people spoke with great warmth and affection and read poems by friends, by Vicky and by her daughter, Julia. Someone performed a rap that Vicky had written.
Vicky had been a nurse and had raised 5 talented children. She trained as a teacher and taught for a short while before realising that she was pregnant again. She started and for about 8 years ran a very successful children’s nursery in Winchester.
For many years she was the warden of Winchester Friends Meeting House..
She moved to Ditchling, a small village about 8 miles north of Brighton, at the age of about 80, ten years ago, which is when Julie and I first met Vicky.
She was a really impressive person but hard to define. She had great dignity, serenity, good humour, balance, common sense, unphased by mishaps and adversity, and so easy to talk to. She loved people, talking to people and working with people. She read a great deal and played the piano and cello. She was a keen cyclist and undertook many long-distance cycle adventures.
She wrote a blog and also an autobiography called, An Ordinary Life which is a very interesting read and the title is clearly an understatement.
Vicky was very hands-on with her sympathies, and, in her 80s, supported asylum-seekers, volunteered in the kitchen and on reception at the Friends Meeting House in Brighton and helped in the kitchen at Emmaus, a charity which supports homeless people.
She spent a great deal of time with her children and grandchildren, attended meetings about issues that concerned her, and musical and other events. We saw her most months at a small poetry group, the last time may have been December 2019 when she drove the 4 miles from Ditchling to Hurst.
We will remember Vicky Darling as a wonderful person.
David, davidrobertsblog.com. 6th October 2020.
Portrait of Vicky Darling by Evelina Dee-Shapland https://www.evelinafineart.co.uk/about
Vicky’s book, An Ordinary Life (114 pages paperback) can be obtained from America for about £8-00 from http://blurb.com