(click on pics for larger version)
The Church of the Holy Trinity • Long Melford, Suffolk, England
Sheila's Funeral Service April 16, 2019
Entry Music: I have a dream, Abba,
Welcome and Introduction
Tributes and memories of Sheila from Rowena and Holly
Sheila’s family came originally from Scotland; she was very proud of her Scottish Roots, and the family celebrated Burns Night every year. It was her grandfather who’d made the move, and he did so by train, animals and all! Initially he took on a farm near Colchester before moving to Cuckoo Tye Farm, which is where Sheila grew up with her brother Peter, and her sister Christine. As teenagers, they had an old car which they drove round the fields, and sometimes on the airfield, where on one occasion a back wheel came off and went off ahead of them! I guess that was in the days before MOTs!
Sheila loved horses from an early age. Her first pony was called Peggy, and she saved up to buy her a saddle for her. Other ponies followed, and in due course a thoroughbred called Amy. Her sister Christine says that it was a testament to Sheila’s care for Amy that she lived to the age of 34. She also remembers that Sheila was always there to help her, and give her advice about her ponies. Sheila seemed to know everything there was to know about horses, they were the love of her life; but she cared for other animals too.
She had a dog called Rex who the vet thought should be put down, but she treated him herself, and stayed up all night with him, and he made it through. Sheila also had a billy goat, and a pet slowworm that she kept under the kitchen window sink, and she had tortoises for many years. Sheila was a real animal-lover, and would tend chickens with broken wings, and other creatures in need; she always seemed to be surrounded animals of one sort or another; she was a country girl through and through.
Sheila went briefly to Acton School, and then to Long Melford, followed by secondary school in Sudbury where she made some life-long fiends; they were a gang of 4: two Sheila’s and 2 Marg’s. Sheila enjoyed hockey which she played for the County, and rowing – that was until she was thrown out of the Rowing Club because she couldn't swim!
When Sheila left school she worked on the farm, and in the early 1960s she married Joe, whose real name was Raymond Basil Albon, and they had a daughter Elizabeth. They lived initially in Coconut House in Long Melford, and then moved to Rozelle in Great Waldingfield, where Sheila lived for over 50 years.
Sheila kept up with what was going on at Cuckoo Tye, by going twice a day to care for the horses. She also worked as a housekeeper, and cared for a number of elderly people over the years. Sadly Joe died 30 years ago.
Rowena and Holly were so grateful that from their early childhood Sheila took on the role of bringing them up. She picked them up to take them to school and took them to Brownies at Great Waldingfield; they remember that they always had macaroni cheese for tea that day! She taught them to count by playing snakes and ladders and organised an egg hunt for them every year. Sheila welcomed their friends, and coped with goose eggs being hatched in the kitchen, and a piglet being housed there until it got too big!
When Rowena and Holly’s children came along, Sheila had time for them too; she helped care for them, and became close to them, and was happy for them to stay over too. In her later years, Sheila met Mike with whom she spent many happy years surrounded by both their families, and enjoying holidays and concerts together. They were a great support to each other.
Sheila was also close to her brother Peter, and when she wasn’t well, her face lit up when he came into the room, and also when the great grandchildren visited her. Sheila was a much loved sister, sister-in-law, wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother and friend, and she will be very much missed.
Bible Reading: John 10: 14-15, 27-30
Our Father, who art in heaven
The Lord’s Prayer
All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all.
Closing Prayers and Blessing
Exit Music: Time to say goodbye, Andrea Brocelli and Sarah Brightman
The family invite everyone to join them for afternoon tea at The Bull Hotel, Long Melford.
Donations for St Nicholas Hospice, if desired, may be sent to the Funeral Directors.
Tribute to Sheila from Chris (photo to right taken at Jo and Christopher's wedding, May 16, 2015)
Sheila was very independent and liked to take care of everything herself. She hardly ever asked for help, yet she was always ready to help others. She was such a strong lady.
Sheila and I shared a love of horses, but she was more adventuresome than me and did fox hunting and gymkhanas as well as pleasure riding. She was always there to help me and give me advice and took care of my ponies at the farm, when I was at school or at work. Sheila had her thoroughbred Amy for 32 years and it was a testament to the care that Amy received that she lived to the age of 34. I cherish the many hours riding together around Cuckoo Tye and beyond, over the years.
But it wasn’t only horses that she loved. She was always surrounded by cats, dogs, goats, pigs, cows and calves, geese, ducks and chickens and she treated them all with the same respect and caring love. I remember her tending to chicken’s broken wings, feeding baby pigs by the fireplace and doctoring the horses when problems arose. She always seemed to know what to do to help the animals. Sheila also always seemed to know the answer to questions regarding nature. I commented to her a few months ago that we had installed a new birdhouse a year ago and I couldn't understand why birds hadn't occupied it. She said they never do the first year, but they will the second year. So true, we now have birds nesting.
My husband Martin and I visited the UK almost every year from 1985 to 2001, and less frequently since that time and we enjoyed many fun times with Sheila. One of the most memorable trips was a week up in Scotland. We had such a good time exploring little villages, walking through woods, visiting the Maule Castle and we also visited the farm where our mother’s family used to live. Sheila came over to Texas twice, once in 2003 and again in 2005. We loved showing her the area including Austin’s famous 6th Street and made trips to the Riverwalk in San Antonio and Brenham (which is famous for its ice cream factory and also for the largest herd of Suffolk Punch horses in the world). My husband Martin has put together a great collection of photographs and videos from all these trips. If you would like to see them, please just give me your e-mail and we will send you the link.
I was fortunate to be able to visit the UK twice last year, The first was in April and Sheila and I spent many hours just talking and reminiscing about things growing up. We also walked for miles and I could hardly keep up with her as she walked so fast. One evening we decided to put on some Scottish music and she tried to teach me how to do the Highland Fling – she was very good. I tried but without a lot of success. I came again to the UK in December. This time she was in hospice care, but still very much in control and we spent a good amount of time together.
Our son Anthony (left), Sharon and their two boys Julius and Rowan came to the UK in August last year and were able to spend time with Sheila. They are so glad they were able to do that and remember her beautiful garden and especially the unique stumpery area that she created. They spent time at the farm, where Anthony had very good memories of time spent there when he was a little boy, and was able to share that with his boys. They had some really nice meals together and most importantly spent good family time all together.
Sheila has always been a good sister, a wonderful friend and she holds a special place in my heart that can never be replaced. I will miss her terribly, but I know she is in a better place and is now free from pain. God Bless and thank all of you for loving Sheila and being here today to say goodbye.
The funeral procession passing through Cuckoo Tye Farm
Chris' sister Sheila, passed away March 20, 2019 at the Melford Court in Long Melford, Suffolk, England.
Sheila was a strong, nature loving, beautiful horsey lady that we are going to deeply, deeply miss!
Sheila Isobel Miller Albon • March 8, 1938 - March 20, 2019 • Sheila's memorial video • smaller cell phone video file
Sheila's Memorial video • Small cell phone file
Amy • 1987 • 1993 • 2000 Scotland • Sheila in Texas 2003 • 2007 • 2011