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Mrs Catherine May Irenee Haslam

27 March 2017

Mum had been living in the village of Burwell near Newmarket. On 18th February, she was transferred from West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds, to the Royal Star & Garter Home in Surbiton near where we live in Leatherhead.

There she was nursed and cared for until she died peacefully in the early evening of 27th March 2017, shortly after the Lord’s Prayer had been said to her. We hope she heard it.

Her son Frank was holding one hand, Robert, a grandson, held her other hand. Frank’s wife Jane, other sons James and Philip arrived not long afterwards, as did Richard, followed by Megan.

The staff at Royal Star & Garter helped to make Mum’s time with them as pampered and comfortable as possible, with their expert care and attention. Born in Ireland she enjoyed the St Patrick’s Day concert and other events there.

Mum so enjoyed the visits from her almost-3-year-old grandson Ben. She sang Ring-A-Ring-O’Roses with him the day before she died.

As many of you know, The Royal Star & Garter is a care home for disabled ex-service people and their dependants. It has an ‘Outstanding’ rating. Mum qualified as an RAF widow. Dad was a Lancaster Wireless Operator on 207 Squadron. Shot down in June 1944, he was a member of the RAF Escaping Society. He died in 2009. Thank you again Dad for looking after Mum to the end. She so wanted to be with you.

RSGH’s Director of Care Pauline Shaw was able to visit Mum in in hospital. Everything clicked. In a short space of time, the staff at RSGH Surbiton grew close to Mum, as they do with everyone.

We created a booklet for visitors to Mum’s room so that she did not have to struggle to remember everything about her many photos and pictures on the walls that made her feel at home.

They described her as stylish, witty, and with a wonderful smile “all the better for seeing you, my dear”. They loved the story that her room told about her. They were visibly shocked that she went so quickly. But as a friend has said ‘what an elegant way to go’.

We raised £1750 through JustGiving in memory of Mum to help the Royal Star & Garter Homes offer the same care for more people.

The photos are of Mum and Dad’s wedding on Jan 8 1947; Mum and Dad after a 207 Sqn reunion in 2003 when we had a party to celebrate their 80th birthdays; Mum at her 90th birthday party.

~ Frank Haslam