Condolence letters

New Milton Friends making footprints
New Milton Friends making footprints. Photo: David Mason

The family has really appreciated the condolences offered and the kind words people have shared about Lorna, our Mother, in letters cards etc.

Dear Jan
It was so good to hear you and to reminisce about Lorna. She was a very strong thread within the core of Friends when I first came to Meeting and although present Friends only knew her fairly briefly, she made an impact and they remember her with affection and for the real character that she was. I have delayed writing til now because I wanted to include any remembrance of her that they had which I will send on by post in a day or two.
It wasn’t until we spoke that I realised quite how difficult and tragic her early life was and meeting Peter must have been the making of her – that and her strong Quaker faith. She had a deep love for Friends,  even when she could be critical – perhaps that was why ! – and knew QF&P more than most. She seemed content in the end at Quaker House.
I will be in touch and this comes with my loving sympathy to you to all of you. It must feel like the end of an era as it does for all of us when our elderly parents go,   
Rosemary

Dear Rosemary
I have put a few words together as suggested.

Yes, I have known Lorna Fermer for 38 years since I joined New Milton Quaker Meeting. Lorna welcomed me to Meeting. You always had to be ‘awake’ when talking to her, as she had a sharp mind and did not hesitate to challenge you.

Her criticism was always just – one was always in error! She had bad arthritis of her hands which enforced her to leave her home in Spencer Road and move into Quaker House (New Forest Quaker Care Home). In her mind she felt this was too soon, though she greatly appreciated the assistance company of Quaker House. I need in Quaker House she was always regarded as a ‘shining light’ to the other residents. Yes- we shall all greatly miss her.
Anthony Fox, New Milton Meeting

Lorna, September 2020

Lorna contributed a great deal to New Milton Meeting and to the wider ecumenical scene in New Milton. She was the last of a core of Friends who were friends together during the 80s, 90s, 2000s, maybe earlier. As they grew elderly – only in their 70s but they felt it ! – Meeting was at a low ebb and it was then that Lorna ran the Tuesday morning Coffee Morning. It was the one activity apart from Meeting for Worship on a Sunday that kept the Meeting together and it became a meeting place where Friends and others could share stories, fun and laughter, and learn the needs of individual Friends. It was an enriching time, socially and spiritually, which Meeting owed to Lorna and her dedication to the Quaker way. She said in a letter to a friend: “Ethically and spiritually the Society is my home; my contact with Friends in this area goes back to the 1950s.” One Friend today remembers that it was Lorna who welcomed him into the Meeting – as a baby ! ( Paul Moxey ). She is remembered by everyone for her down to earth quality and her sense of humour. She could be very sparky about Quakers!   but that was because they meant so much to her.

Lorna had several rolls within Meeting. She was representative on the Women’s World Day of Prayer. She was responsible for funerals for many years,  which she enjoyed. There was a sense of timelessness about her which showed when involved with the end of life which held no qualms for her. And in her later years in Quaker House that acceptance of old age showed through.

Lorna was on the Quaker House committee ( I don t know whether she helped set it up ?) and was responsible for deciding who should be resident (quite a tricky job, I should imagine at times!)

Lorna was also our representative on Churches Together in New Milton but sadly early on it fell apart. Lorna would have been ideal with her open attitude and personal connection with other Churches. At the meeting when dissension dominated Lorna called for a Quakerly silence which was appreciated but failed to bring the meeting together. Which was a shame because it would have given her a great sense of fulfilment – a missed opportunity.    

Lorna was a great supporter of the Carers group in New Milton. She was our link to it (they met at the Meeting House) so that meant a lot.

So we owe a lot to Lorna, as one of that generation of Friends for whom the Society of Friends was their life,   and we are thankful for her life.    
David Mason

Hi Rosemary
Here are some of our memories of dear Lorna:-

The wonderful meal Lorna & her husband gave us at their home in Kennard Rd. when we first came to New Milton & Allan became manager of Quaker House.
Lorna’s dedication as a volunteer & committee member for Q.H.  also, her contribution to N.M. Local Mtg. and ministry.
Her zest for life, her sense of humour and fun but, also , her straight talking which did cause offence sometimes!
Lorna was fiercely independent and when widowed, she moved to a top floor flat in Spencer Rd. with no lift and eventually had to struggle up & down the stairs suffering with severe breathing problems. Finally having to move into Q.H. which she said she hated.
Lorna told me [Carolyn] how much she had enjoyed her cruise to the Norwegian fjords with her son. I really enjoyed her company but sadly lost touch the last few years.
We are thinking of her family and are thankful for her life.
Take care & keep safe, thank you for all that you do for the meeting.
Love Carolyn & Allan. (Herring)

Dear Jan 
Please accept my condolences. I was so sorry to read in the Friend  that Lorna has died. 
I understand that there has been no covid at Quaker House but it is possible that you were not able to visit during this difficult time. I hope that being in Quaker House and not in hospital has been a blessing for you all. 
Will the funeral be available on Zoom as I would like to attend by Zoom if that is possible. 
I would love to be with you in person but sadly current circumstances do not allow. 
Lorna had a lovely spirit and I really enjoyed seeing her and chatting with her and hearing about you and the family when visiting New Milton. 
My love and prayers are with you at this sad time. 
With love and Friendship 
Anna (Clements )

Dear Jan
I was so sorry to hear of your Mums death. She was one of my inspirational Quakers, with an eternally youthful approach to life, and one who made me laugh.
I have very happy memories of her. Here are just a few-
Visiting at Christmas in Crew when a copy of the 1971 OZ had been brought home and her matter-of-fact approach to it.
Her description of going to a Meeting, where no one had a watch, and it going on for an hour and a half because no one wanted to close it.
At a Yearly Meeting having meals punctuated with sometimes somewhat hysterical laughter and excitedly attending the film Mamma Mia.
I will miss her but what a difficult thing for you to cope with during all this pandemic.
My love to all the family. I am holding you all in the Light.
Love Gill and Alastair

I was very sorry to hear of Lorna’s passing. She was always friendly to me when I saw her. She was one of the first New Milton Quakers and remembered my father giving ministry in 1956 on the wonders of child birth at a Sunday meeting after I had been born earlier that morning. This was to the great embarrassment of my two older sisters, also present, who were teenagers at the time. Dad signed me up as a Quaker there and then. Sadly she was the last of those early NM Quakers. My mother also lived at Quaker House although not for as long as Lorna. She also died at the age of 95.
My condolences to the family.
Paul Moxley

Dear Jan,
Thank you for the details of your Mother’s funeral which under current conditions will be both sad and restricting for you. Obviously, I hope it goes well for the family and the weather is kind to you.

Anyway Jan I hope next Thursday goes well and I shall be thinking about it.
Please keep in touch and stay safe. Best wishes,
Pat

Miscellaneous
“I will miss her quips and stories”

And many more received. Thank you.

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