In Memory of Audrey Oyston

Born Loftus, 4th December 1930
Died Halifax, 16th September 2002

Eulogy delivered by her son, John Oyston,
at St Jude's Church, Halifax
on 20th September 2002

Thank you all for coming here today to remember and honour my mother.

She was a very special person.

She was a loving wife and a devoted mother, always putting the needs of her family before her own. However, she also took on and succeeded in many other roles during an interesting and fulfilling life.

She began life as a Yorkshire farmer's daughter. In Loftus, she learned to work hard, and developed her cheerful and outgoing personality.

She left home to train as a nurse, first in Holmfirth, then at the RVI in Newcastle. She became a State Registered Nurse, and rose to the position of Senior Sister on the Plastics Ward.

In those days she was a smasher, a stunning red head who caught my father's eye. After several dates, she asked if Dad's intentions were serious, as she had many other offers to consider. He said he was serious, so they went out together. Mum helped Dad to paint his old spilt-windscreen Morris Minor. Encouraged by their ability to work together on this project, they got married and lived together happily for almost 47 years.

Audrey soon became a mother. Her two happily-married kids and four wonderful grandchildren are living proof of her success in that role.

Dad joined the Royal Air Force, and Mum became an officer's wife. Dad was posted to Aden, and mum followed with me, to become a memsahib in the colony, living in the tropics with the sometimes dubious benefit of several servants. While she was there, she volunteered to use her nursing skills to treat victims from an oil tanker fire.

From Aden, we visited Kenya. But this was just the beginning of Mum's world travels. We live in Germany for three years, and toured Europe in a caravan. Mum and Dad visited me in New Zealand and Canada, went to South Africa, and made frequent trips to their timeshares in Tenerife.

While living in Germany, Mum took typing lessons and passed the City and Guilds certificate.

When Dad left the RAF, we settled in Halifax, which proved to be an excellent decision. Mum was delighted to set up 1 Savile Park as our first real family home. Mum's nursing and typing skills helped Dad establish his private practice. She was excellent at making patients feel welcome, and putting them at ease.

Mum was always a gracious hostess. My friends always enjoyed visiting, because they knew they would be made welcome, and fed well. On one ocassion, I arrived home unexpectedly at 4 am with a new girlfriend. Once Mum was sure we weren't burglars, her next response was to say "So pleased to meet you. Would you like a cup of tea?".

Mum and Dad made many good friends in Halifax. Mum became involved in the circle of coffee mornings and charitable work, culminating with her taking on the role of President of Inner Wheel. Although she approached this role with some trepidation, she overcame her fears and did a good job.

One day, Dad was supposed to book a holiday in a motor boat, but they were all taken, so he asked Mum if a sailing boat would be acceptable. She thought he was joking, and said "O.K.". This was the start of Mum's sailing career. She learnt the ropes quickly, and became an invaluable first mate, often taking the helm in rough weather in the Ionian Sea and off the Turkish coast.

Mum was always a nervous driver, but she could rise to the occassion when necessary. She drove one of our cars back from Germany, across Holland, on to the ferry to Hull and up to Newcastle. She passed her driving test first time on three separate ocassions, acquiring British, Aden and German licenses. As Dad's eyesight deteriorated, she became his chauffeur, especially so they could get out to their cottage at Seamer.

Being a grandma was one of Mum's favourite roles. She enjoyed spending time with each of her grandchildren, both at home, and on trips to Canada, and recently, to York. This July Mum was able to take Kate on her knee, to pass on to her grand-daughter the advice she had received from her own mother - "Always smile and be kind to others, and you will do alright in life".

In recent years, fate has cast Mum in the role of patient, but she has never let any of her health problems interfere with her enjoyment of her friends and family.

Mum is now preparing for her final role. Her earthly remains are going onto the garden which she loved, and where she spent so many happy hours. Her spirit will live on, as a guardian angel for her friends and family. She will be sorely missed by her family, and by her many friends and acquaintances.

A final two hugs and two kisses from all of us.

Mum with Dad and Wendy
Mum, July 2002
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