Mary Bailey 1929 to 2013

Mary was a very active member of the village as you can see below, and was a significant contributor, with her husband Frank, to this web site.

Eulogy given by Mike Read on 9th August, 2013.


Mary as a young lady


A keen swimmer!


Mike Read & Mary in Panto




Frank & Mary


Burton Wives Group 1977


I want first, to thank the family for asking me to give this tribute; I consider it a privilege to do so. There will be short-comings no doubt, for which I seek your forgiveness. I would like also, to thank both family and friends, who have shared with me details of Mary’s life; so, if you are sitting comfortably, I will begin.
Mary was-born in 1929 to George and Eva Elliot who lived above their shop in Bridport.   At the age of 5 years, the family moved to West Bay.   Her father was a stalwart of the Bridport Swimming Club and a member of the water polo team.   From him, Mary got her love of swimming, particularly in the sea regardless of the temperature or rough waters.   There were many occasions when I didn’t venture beyond the water’s edge, but Mary plunged in!    I am told that during the war years she held a special permit to allow her to swim in the sea.   In later years she was involved in BACIT fundraising for a Bridport swimming pool.
Mary went to St Hilda’s school in Victoria Grove, left at the age of 14 to look after her parents.   In her teens she was Sunday School Superintendent at St John’s church, and it was there, aged 21, that she married Frank.

Life at Cogden Farm produced 4 children, and in due time, 10 grandchildren and 8 great-grandchildren. In addition to her busy life on the farm, her involvement in the community was  considerable.    From operating a caravan on the beach and serving tea to all who came, to running a Young Wives Group, which, as the years past became the Old Girls Group.
A life-long supporter of the Red Cross, for whom she raised a considerable amount of money, she organised volunteers for the Blood Transfusion Service in the days when that was permitted.  Knitting parties in the kitchen at Cogden to make blankets and fund-raising for ‘Save the Children when her son-in-law worked for the charity in Sudan.

A sense of fun was very much part of Mary’s character, and Frank’s also, and I was told of a pork pie given to a friend, the meat removed and replaced by wool — presumably from the farm!  At Christmas time, Mary was a member of a hand-bell ringing team that went round the village, mounted on a trailer pulled by Frank driving his tractor. A very versatile girl she was!
Mary was a long serving member of the Women’s Institute, and it was from her involvement that got her on to the stage, particularly for pantomime.  Started in the sixties, carried on through the seventies and eighties, and from 1985 onwards, when the Burton Bradstock Players took over, until 2000, when she hung up her wand and took over the players’ raffle, which she ran with great enthusiasm.   Mary played all the principal roles and in the chorus.  If you have never seen her playing the fairy, you have missed a treat!    My only regret in those days was that she would never allow me to fix her entrance on a high wire!   Talking of pantomime — there was one particular production when Geoff Guppy played a gorilla, suitably dressed of course. At that time, it was thought that someone had taken up residence in the church porch, so Mary and Frank decided to take a hand.   They persuaded Geoff, on a dark and dirty night, to approach the church in costume and frighten away the unwanted visitor.   Unfortunately, after much hilarity, Geoff got to the porch only to find it empty!

When Mary moved to Campions the kettle was still on the Aga, and it was open-house for those who chose to call.   Her involvement in village life continued, and when she could no longer manage on her own, she moved to Harbour House in West Bay, back to where she spent her early years.

Each one of us, has their own special memories of Mary that we carry in our hearts, Whether we are family of friends. It was a privilege to know her, and what a great time we shall have when we meet again.    She was, and still is, a lovely lady.

Mike Read