Tribute to Dolly Saville

  |  Published: Apr 3rd 2015
Tribute to Dolly Saville

Here is the main text of Kim’s tribute to Dolly Saville, her Nan, delivered in St Mary’s, Wendover, on Thursday 12 March.

From simple beginnings, born to Daisy and Thomas Oakley, Dolly’s father, who was one of the co-founder member of the Royal Naval Association, instilled in her the principle value of doing for others and gave her the courage to always stand firm for what she believed in. Gracious and generous throughout her life, Nan guided and inspired the family, teaching each generation in turn her values which at times were set pretty steep.

As a Mother, she would often go without to ensure her children Anne and Roland, did not. As a Nan, I couldn’t wait to spend all my school holidays with her, even learning to ride my first two-wheeler in the Red Lion car park while she watched on from the dining room window. Nan meant everything to me, she was my world. As Great Nanna, she was there with advice and support, and as a Great-Great Nanna, although all too short in time, Darcey spent many happy days with her.

As Darcey grows up and new generations join the family, we will tell them just how inspirational and wonderful you were Nan, ensuring they too, walk in your footsteps.

Nan also gave us some real comic gems like when she first flew out to South Africa to visit us and when asked how the flight was, replied, “Flight was fine, a bit stuffy in the plane, you’d think they’d have opened a window.” And when she at 91, helped a 70 year old across the road and then came into Agora saying, “Did you see that little old dear, bless her.” Or when she was given a jar of marmalade with a frilly gingham top remarking, “Fancy giving me this, its something you’d give an old age pensioner.”

But we all know her best from her time at the Red Lion as do the thousands of regulars she served and quite a few celebrities too. From Dame Margot Fontaine to Piers Brosnan, Nan loved being part of the crowd and enjoyed a tot of whisky with many. Those old enough will remember her calling, “Time ladies and gentleman, its time to go home to your feather beds” and then she would stay on late to party with staff members.

Her time at the Red Lion was special and her one hundredth birthday, who many here today shared with her, was a fitting celebration of her life and as much as she would have loved to have made her one hundred and first birthday (giving all of us a real problem on how to top that), sadly it was not to be.

So Nan..... the almighty landlord now calls time on you to go home to your feather bed, you’ll get your legs and freedom back and also, a new pair of wings. An era has ended,  but I can honestly say that having you as my grandmother, is one of the best things in my life. In our hearts you will always be irreplaceable and unforgettable.

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