East Row 13 – 16 Johnson/Day


This is the eulogy given by her son Colin Johnson at her funeral in the Parish Church Coldstream on Monday the 20th August 2015. (Thank you Colin for leting us reproduce this in the web site.)

Ethel was born in 1921, daughter of Annie and the famous Dickie Day. She was the youngest of their three children, with older sister Rita and elder brother Jim.

A happy childhood led to wartime and to Ethel working in the telephone exchange. One day she spied a handsome naval captain striding along Duke Street in his splendid uniform. It turned out that his ship had been torpedoed in the Atlantic, and he had found himself, incongruously, in Coldstream to recuperate. This was an opportunity too good to miss and amidst stiff competition from other local girls Ethel got her man, my Dad, Phil, and they married in 1942.

My sister Margaret was born in 1944 and I followed in 1951.

Ethel enjoyed many trips on Phil’s ships, travelling all over the world, until his death in 1968. During these trips my grandparents, and Ethel’s lifelong friend Cathie …and my adopted sister Christine …. looked after me. More of Cathie later!

Some of the time, of course, Ethel was at home whilst her husband was away. During the Fifties she was an enthusiastic tennis player, and novice golfer. She played a role in establishing the first Civic Week, and rode in the first few  Flodden rides, as well as being involved in writing “The Coldstream Song“. I should just mention here, whilst talking about Civic Week, how proud I am that Ethel gets mentioned in Coldstream Sing-Songs….. “In ….You are my Sunshine   …..   Scoobie Doo, Ethel Day…….”. I’m not exactly sure where that came from …. The famous Michael Raeburn and The Vicar (sorry David, not you) were implicated somehow. Anyway, hope it retains its place for years to come.

The Sixties and seventies saw her golf become a major part of her life. She was ladies captain in 1964 and 1977 and Champion in 1964 and 1975. Her and lifelong friend Cathie have a page in the Hirsel Golf Club history book devoted just to them and their many exploits.  Enough said! By this time Ethel was a gifted pianist, playing by ear and starting many a sing-song.

About this time Ethel, Cathie and friends Bert  and Doreen Rettie enjoyed many social gatherings where a cordial or two may have been consumed. They called themselves ‘The Committee’ and had great fun. I think these were amongst Ethel’s happiest times.

Another love of Ethel’s was hosting my cousins and their families. Rossville in the Market Square and later Lennel Mount were the venues for truly wonderful times. I know all of you who were involved will remember these times fondly.

But nothing stays the same, and in 1985 Ethel’s friend Cathie passed away. Ethel was totally devasted, and despite living for 60 plus years in Coldstream she was determined to move away. We tried to persuade her not to, but those of you who knew her will appreciate that once her mind was made up, the lady was not for turning.

Ethel moved to be near my sister in Linlithgow, before moving to Edinburgh to be near her sister Rita. In retrospect, we were right, her life seemed to lose some sparkle once she left Coldstream. And of course, she was getting older. The tragic loss of my sister nearly 4 years ago affected her deeply.

When living alone was proving too much, Hazel and I  persuaded her (not without some difficulty, clearly!) to move to Victoria Lodge in November 2012. Ethel will be remembered fondly by her 5 Grandchildren and 12 Great Grandchildren!

Now, I want to say something very important. Coldstream is a wonderful place, and we have much to be proud of. It is, as the town motto says, Second to None. And in Victoria Lodge Care Home we have something which is truly special and wonderful.  Hazel and I have seen first hand over the past 3 years the love and care which the wonderful staff provide to the residents. For example, when my mother was in BGH recently,  members of staff went up to visit her in their own time, on their day off. How can you possibly beat that!.

Donations today are for Friends of Victoria Lodge, so please give generously to enable them to continue providing those little extras which make such a difference.

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