In Memoriam - Lilian Waugh; 1929 - 2003

The following address was given by Lilian's son Keith at her funeral on Thursday 8th January 2004 at St Michael & All Angels Church, Shefford:

 I want to reflect and pay tribute to my Mam:

Born on the 4th July 1929 Lilian Dawson was the eldest child of Stanley and Anne Dawson. The family was completed over the -next few years by the arrival of Mam's two brothers Stanley jnr. and James, brothers she adored.

They were the only two I know who could get away with calling my Mam Lil.
"Our Lil"

To everyone else it had to be Lilian, and with only one L in the middle.

Life wasn't easy for the Dawson family in the small, close-knit mining community of Whitburn in the North East of England. Home was in Rose Crescent but childhood was interrupted by the devastation of World War two, which meant hardship and sacrifice. This only led to a deep resolve and family values that proved to be the cornerstone of my Mam's life.

Mam attended Marsden juniors and then Whitburn senior schools before setting out on a working life. She first worked in the shipyard canteen but it will be her long association with the Economic buses that she is best remembered. In her free time she loved going to the cinema, wrestling, and of course there was her beloved Sunderland football club.

When you originate from the North East football is in many ways a way of life.
My Mam was passionate about Sunderland.

Mam met and fell in love with Desmond Waugh.
They were married on June 13th 1953.
On October 27th 1956 their only child was born.
Mam once said that she only wanted the one and that she would devote and dedicate herself to that child.

My childhood memories are plentiful and football was to play such a dominant role from the very beginning. Growing up in a family so rich with love the only divide was whether you were red and white, or black and white. Mam's influence won the day and I'm sure it was to my Dad's dismay that it was Sunderland rather than Newcastle.

I've been reliably informed that I was only two when Mam took me to my first Sunderland match at Middlesborough. The seeds had been sown. I can vividly remember at a very young age being stood on a little wooden stool on the vast open terrace, Mam at one side, my Grandma at the other, being a part of the Roker roar.
When I started out on what would eventually lead to a long and rewarding career, Mam was there from the beginning from arranging bus trips for school kids and parents, to being stood in the biting wind and rain on desolate football pitches.

It was a joyous occasion in May 1973 for all Sunderland fans and Mam was there to celebrate us winning the F.A cup.

She was so proud when I joined the club as an apprentice a few months later.
Both my parents were hugely influential throughout. They were always there and travelled all over the country to watch.

Without their guidance, encouragement and support anything I achieved would have been impossible. Mam enjoyed simple pleasures in life but she took enormous reward from their enjoyment. She was a great traditionalist and a loyal supporter of the Royal Family. She took great pride in her garden, loved socialising with friends and family and she loved organising a yearly London trip for the ladies from Whitburn. This trip took a vast amount of Mam's time and effort but it was always done with enthusiasm and gusto. The annual November excursion down to the capital recently celebrated its 30th anniversary This was done in typical style at The Columbia Hotel and the presentation the girls made to my Mam as a token of their appreciation was a wonderful gesture to the years of dedication my Mam put in.
But the most important aspect to my Mam's life was always her family.
When Julie and I gave her two wonderful grandchildren no words could ever describe her pride. Mam doted on both Gemma and Simon and their visits to Whitburn were always eagerly anticipated. She loved taking them around the village, to the sea front, the air shows and she literally beamed to be able to take them to the first ever football match at the Stadium of Light.

This was all at a time tinged with the sadness that most of these occasions could not be shared with her beloved Des. Not that he would hive been at the Stadium of Light.
My Dad had become ill in the early 80s with leukaemia. As his condition deteriorated Mam was his strength. She cared and loved for him by his side through the long and painful treatments and having to watch his suffering. She nursed him, never complained, never questioned why. she just got on with what she believed was her duty.

A part of my Mam died along with my Dad on April 21st 1987.

Mam moved to Shefford nearly eight years ago. It was a huge wrench to leave her home for over 60 years but the prospect of being close to her son and family was what was important to her. She was thrilled to become a Great Grandmother with the arrival of Elise and Leah.

All who knew my Mam knew of her kindness, her generosity and her compassion. She possessed so many qualities that I am privileged to be her son.

I owe her an enormous debt. She will be sorely missed, but never forgotten.

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