Hazel Cooper (nee Brice) 1932-2016
Photo taken at the 2015 Cooper family reunion, courtesy of
Nephew, Steve Morse
At the funeral service in St Mary's Church, Lydney on the 11th May 2016, Hazel's
granddaughter, Natalie Cooper, spoke:
"For those of you who knew my Nan well, you will know that Pam Ayres was a big part of her
She loved to read her books and laugh at her jokes (on her ipad) that my Aunty Nancy would
send to her.
Nan even had the privelege of meeting Pam Ayres and having her photograph taken with her.
This was my Nan's claim to fame and she was very proud of it.
The poem that I am going to read is called Woodland Burial by Pam
Don't lay me in some gloomy
churchard shaded by a wall
Where the dust of ancient bones has spread a dryness over
Lay me in some leafy loam where, sheltered from the
Little seeds investigate and tender leaves
There, kindly and affectionately, plant a native
To grow resplendent before God and hold some part of
The roots will not disturb me as they wend their peaceful
To build the fine and bountiful from closure and
To seek their small requirements so that when their work is
I'll be tall and standing strongly in the beauty of the
I love you Nan."
The funeral service was very well attended and the vicar recognised this
by saying it was good to see a church so full of so many of Hazel's family and friends. He shared the following thoughts with the congregation:
"It is, I am sure, clear to you that I am the odd one out today. Each of you bring to this
service those important, personal memories of Hazel, whereas my knowledge of her is merely that which I have gained following a lovely chat with her family. I would like, however, to renew those
memories and guide our thoughts today, for I believe that we are here today to do two important things:
Firstly - and quite properly - to look back over the past 84 years and give
thanks to God, the giver of life, for all that Hazel has meant to you.
Hazel was a Sister to Michael, and to Vivian who passed on before her. She was a devoted Mum to Jackie and Geoffrey, and a proud Nan to Aaron, Natalie, Sarah, Claire, Laura and Mary-Jane. Hazel was a
Great-Nan to Holly, Jake, Lauren, Lexi, Jayden and Kari.
Hazel was born here in Lydney, she attended Primrose Hill School and then attended Lydney
Grammar School - clever girl!
Her first job, on Saturdays, was serving refreshments for dancers at Lydney Town Hall. This suited Hazel very well as she loved dancing - so being paid, rather than paying to be there was a great
bonus. Her first full-time job was as a telephonist at the old Tin-Plate Works here in Lydney.
But life wasn't all work for our Hazel, for she soon met and fell in love with a young gentleman called Norman. Love blossomed, and they married on 15th August 1953.
Norman was in the Navy, so spent long periods away from home. I'm told that Hazel used to write to him - not just the occasional love letter, but often up to 20 pages every day.
When Jackie and Geoffrey were young, Hazel worked as a Dinner Lady at Lydney Church of England School. Later she became a despatch clerk at the Pine End factory.
Hazel's family have happy memories of holidays in Ladock, Cornwall - always during the Works holiday fortnight. Every weekend they would be out, visiting relatives or picknicking. One day, though,
things didn't work out as planned. They set out for a day trip to Somerset and, for some reason, ended up in Chichester to visit a relative, and stayed the night.
Hazel enjoyed ballroom dancing with Norman. She also became skilled at darts, playing for The Nag's Head team in Yorkley; once she won a doubles competition at Butlins. She also enjoyed playing cards
with her friends, but without doubt her favourite table-top game was Scrabble - which in later years she loved to play on her iPad - clever lady!
Hazel was an enthusiast for sports on the Sky Sports channels; she was a fanatical Chelsea fan and a lover of tennis, she was thrilled when her son Geoffrey once took her to Wimbledon to see matches
on the Centre Court.
Now we have lost her, and all we have left are our memories , and lives enriched by her life.
Secondly - I now speak on Hazel's behalf I am sure that she would want me to
Thank you to Jackie and Geoffrey, for all your love and care; thank you to all her grandchildren and great-grandchildren and to all her friends, she is so very grateful to you all."
The hymns at the service were:
The Old Rugged Cross
Lord of the Dance
The day Thou gavest Lord is ended.
Following the service, family and friends were invited to refreshments at The Speech House.