Patricia Ann Bettell-Higgins

THE funeral service for Patricia Ann Bettell-Higgins, aged 77 years, was held at All Saints Church, Wragby.

The Rev Mark Holden officiated at the service and arrangements were by J Marshall of Market Rasen.

Born on September 8, 1934 to the late Tom and Dorine Coombs, she was the eldest child, followed by sister Mavis and brother Bob, with only 3 years between the eldest and youngest. They were always very close as children, adventuring out into Canterbury, where they were born and brought up.

Patricia was known as Paddy from an early age by all the family; apparently she threw a “real paddy” and somehow the name struck throughout the years – although she was also known as Tricia and Pat to family and friends.

Family life was disrupted when Patricia was 14 years old and her parents divorced. This was a very rare thing to happen in the 1940s; however their wonderful father continued to give them a secure and loving home.

Patricia passed her 11 plus examination and went to the local grammar school, where she was able to stay till she was 17.

She then went to London to live with her mother and step-father, starting working life with the general post office, becoming an international telephonist at Faraday House.

It was here that she met Pat Dalgleish, who was to become her lifelong friend. It was a true firm friendship throughout, with Patricia being God-mother to Pat and John’s youngest child and their daughter Nicola.

A blind-date with Ron led to 56 years of marriage and Patricia was welcomed into a warm and close East End of London family, the Bettell-Higgins Clan. She always called her parents-in-law Mum and Dad and loved the closeness and banter of the extended family.

Patricia and Ron set up home in a flat in Clapham, South London, where they spent the next 21 years, with their children Rosalind and Richard.

Family life continued with gardening and a number of jobs, fitting in with the school holidays.

Patricia eventually finished up working for the English Theatre Guild, a company that dealt with Royalty Rights for plays used by amateur theatrical companies, then she re-trained and became a book-keeper.

In 1976, the family moved to Hackbridge in Surrey, but she continued to work in Clapham at E.T.C. until it was taken over in 1985.

In 1988, the couple moved to the village of Smallfield in Surrey. Patricia loved village life and became involved in many committees and organisations including the Cottage Society”, the gardening club and many others, but her main involvement was with the local WI, where she held a number of positions including that of President.

In 1989, Richard and his wife Helen produced Patricia and Ron’s first grandchild – Joseph, followed in 1991 by Daniel. They were so proud of their grandsons when they went on to University, with Joseph obtaining a first class honours degree in Computer Science at Hull; Daniel still studying at Rochester doing an Arts Degree in Theatre Stage and Costume Design.

In 1991 Roz married Doug Wiltshire and Patricia welcomed her daughter’s stepsons David and Matthew into the family.

Unfortunately, in 2001 Patricia was diagnosed with bowel cancer and, although the operation was successful, it was followed by severe depression and, as Ron had been very ill with pneumonia, the decision was made to move in with Roz and Doug in Ewell, Surrey.

When Doug retired, the decision was made to move up to Lincolnshire and so, in 2001 Wragby was chosen.

At that time Patricia was told she needed new hips, the first one being done in Surrey, prior to the move. Sadly it was never quite right and her mobility was restricted, but despite that she still managed to join in village life, giving a hand where she could at the church fete, jumble sales, the Mega May Fayre, church events and, of course the Wragby Branch of the WI.

Keeping herself busy she continued with her love of gardening, needlework, dressmaking, smoking, tapestry, knitting and crochet work.

Patricia is survived by her husband Ron, daughter Roz, son Richard and grandsons Joseph and Daniel and will be sadly missed by the Coombs, Bettell-Higgins and Wiltshire families.

Family mourners were: Ron Bettell-Higgins (husband); Roz and Doug Wiltshire (daughter and son-in-law); Richard and Helen Bettell-Higgins (son and daughter-in-law); Joseph Bettell-Higgins, Daniel Bettell-Higgins (grandsons); Mavis Wrightson; Bob and Christine Coombs; Anthony Coombs; Robert and Pam Coombs; Evelyn and Pete Coombs; Fred and Janet Bettell-Higgins; Leslie Bettell-Higgins; David and Katie Wiltshire; Alan Gibson; Peter Gibson; Jade Gibson; Elizabeth and Andy Hawley; Charlie Hawley; Benjamin Hawley; Julie and Tim Down; Ken Argent; Michael (Mick) Sanderson; Margaret Patch.

Other mourners were: Bob Clark; Andrea Ward; Brenda Bodily; Fred and Margaret Robinson.