Emily sadly passed away unexpectedly on 27th March 2019 at the age of 36. She will be greatly missed as a daughter, sister and friend, and remembered for her sense of humour and concern for others.
This is the tribute that was read at her funeral by her uncle Jim Greenfield and aunt Lucy Hawthorne
JIM: Kind, caring, lovely, fun, giggly, bright, happy, enthusiastic, bubbly, loyal, smiley, generous, thoughtful, warm, witty, gentle, mischievous, intelligent, engaging, amazing, wonderful. These are the adjectives that stood out after reading all the notes and tributes the family received following Emily’s death.
There were mutterings of “Oh no, really? Must we?” when it was remembered that Emily had said she wanted All things Bright and Beautiful played at her funeral. Some family members had memories of being forced to sing it every day in school assemblies and it had lost its shine for them. But she was bright, beautiful, wise and wonderful, the messages of condolence say so.
LUCY: Born in Hastings on 16th December 1982, Emily was a much-wanted baby. Having had difficulties and been told they couldn’t have children (which later proved to be quite wrong!), Christine and Tim produced a beautiful baby girl, the first of what would turn out to be a family of 9 children. I had been desperate to become an Auntie and at age 15 I was so excited when it actually happened. The first Grandchild on our side of the family, making my little brother Tim an Uncle at age 8. She quickly developed a strong bond with her Granny and Grandpa and later often talked of happy times with them.The icing on the cake for me was being asked to be Emily’s Godmother, a role I took pretty seriously to the extent that I chose to get christened to legitimately fulfil the role. It was traditional in our large family to give a whole pound to our Godchildren on birthdays and at Christmas which I duly did.
JIM: As her Godfather, I was also giving her a pound on a regular basis, thinking I was unique in doing so. Now I’ve found out that others were doing it, I realise she was raking it in from an early age.
LUCY: Whether it was inflation, or Emily’s generous nature, her cousin & Godson Nick fondly remembers receiving a whole £5 note from Emily at Christmas and birthdays rather than the usual pound.
Emily was also Godmother to my daughter, Emma. She always remembered and visited her on her birthdays. Even in the last few years of her life when Emily was struggling, she never forgot Emma on her birthday or at Christmas. Emily used to save her work clothing discount for her and she acquired a lovely selection of accessories to show for it. Not to mention the charity bags of her pre-loved clothes which we went through. We were always delighted that Emily had such good taste and gorgeous things, even a pair of Ugg boots once came our way. We treasure these items even more now she’s gone.
We remember Emily turning up to her very first Westward Ho! for our massive annual family holiday. She wore her bright yellow BDLG t shirt with a smile and we were all delighted to have such a beautiful baby in our midst.
JIM: Emily’s Granny remembers her saying they were going “bobbing”, she couldn’t say shopping but that was what she meant. She started young and it turns out Emily became a natural at “bobbing”, later in life regularly helping friends, family and strangers pick out what suited them. As she learnt to talk, Emily also had trouble pronouncing her Cs. When visitors came to the family home and Emily answered the door, she would shout “bum in!” “Bum in Granny” became a family catchphrase for a while. Granny spent weeks helping her to pronounce “come in” correctly, only to be disappointed when she started getting it right every time. It had been so cute. It turns out this was good teaching on Granny’s part. Emily went on to have lots of friends who she would welcome to her future homes with open arms, some of whom might not have appreciated having “bum in” shouted at them as they walked through the door!
LUCY: Moving from Hertfordshire in 1984, Emily spent almost all her life in Tunbridge Wells. She went to St Johns primary school where she made life-long friends who have recalled many parties and fun playing on the field. Her teachers remember her as a shining star. Her mischievous nature developed early on. Sometimes on the walk to school she and her friends would go to the Spar and buy chocolate with money they had “borrowed” from home. She obviously didn’t have too much chocolate as much to the amusement of her next-door neighbours, petite Emily could fit into a cardigan that belonged to their cabbage patch doll.
The majority of Emily’s secondary education was at Tonbridge Girls Grammar School where unsurprisingly she made many more life-long friends. They have called her an amazing playmate and spoken of how they wanted to be a Walsgrove, feeling so welcome and having so much fun in Emily’s family home. They spent a lot of time playing at each other’s houses and going on holidays with each other’s families. She learnt to play the piano, violin and flute – musical like her Grandpa.
JIM: Cousins have affectionately recalled spending school holidays together and looking up to her as the oldest in their generation and wanting to be like her. Emily and her cousin Mims bonded particularly well when they got the chance to meet up, usually during school holidays. They used to stay at various uncles and aunts’ houses, walk round in their shoes and pretend to be them. They would pop into Uncle Nick’s workplace (Lloyds Bank in central Tunbridge Wells!) with skirts the size of belts munching McDonalds and leaving a trail of grease in their wake. Eurocamp holidays with aunts, uncles and cousins were lots of fun, not least one where a midnight raft trip with Emily as captain holding a piece of wood for an oar ended up with a lot of wet people!
LUCY: Emily and her cousins had so much fun on their holidays in Westward Ho! A highlight being entering a dance competition dressed in skirts made out of carrier bags. They practised for hours and won. Being the older cousin, Emily taught Mims to shave her legs, persuaded Mims’ parents to let her get her ears pierced & to secure a monthly clothing allowance. Hours were spent with cousins building sandcastles, entering competitions, playing and making up rude songs which, perhaps fortunately, no one can remember the words to. Not least as a lot of the subject matter revolved around Uncle Dick.
As she grew up Emily was allowed to stay at home instead of going on holiday and was allowed to have a friend to stay. Typically, they used to get up to mischief. We may never know exactly what, Christine says they seemed so angelic together, but Tim’s beer supply seemed to go down quickly at that time of year.
When Emily needed to do a week’s work experience, she came to the company I was working for. Emily impressed my work colleagues immensely, arriving looking amazing every day, keen to learn and keen to help. She was so easy to teach. I gave her some challenges and by the end of the week she had managed to sell a full page of advertising space in a supplement to a company in Germany. We didn’t know she had been successful until after her week had finished. The delight on her face when I went around to hand over the commission that anyone else would have earnt for that sale was a picture. She didn’t realise how good she was but seemed to be able to turn her hand to anything. I’ve since found out the name Emily means industrious and hardworking.
JIM: Emily obtained a place at Warwick University and graduated with a degree in history and politics. Her younger sister Josephine went on to study the same course at a different university. Emily, ever the helpful, caring sister may have lent Josephine an essay or two when she might have needed a little help in increasing her word count!
Perhaps due to her early training in “bobbing” Emily returned to Tunbridge Wells after university and started to work in retail. She was a natural at it and excelled in customer service. It wasn’t unusual for her to get special thank yous from customers and employers, including champagne and flowers. She served them well and had an innate ability to make people feel good about themselves. So many friends and family benefitted from Emily’s fashion advice and from her staff, friends and family discounts. She was very generous with it all. Emily was also crowned “Queen of the hand me down” by her younger sisters. They loved routing through her wardrobe for interview or wedding outfits, so many clothes with accessories to match. Not always with her knowledge or permission!
LUCY: We were also grateful at this time that Emily was a really good babysitter to many of her younger cousins including my children. Always reliable and turning up with a big smile on her face, my children have happy memories of them playing and watching TV together.
In time Emily wanted to get on the property ladder, and buy some wheels, so she decided on a change of direction and went to a publishing company where she remained for many years organising events and becoming a customer accounts manager. When we asked a former colleague what her role was, he said she would have liked to have been remembered as the Office clown! To earn a bit more money, and because she liked it, she also did the office cleaning! When she died the company received masses of messages and tributes, all echoing how lovely she was, efficient at her job, professional, thorough and caring. Although she might have on occasions turned up to meetings in a chicken suit, she was always professional and delivered on her promises.
Emily loved dressing up and messing about. I remember going out with her in Tunbridge Wells for a Sound of Music evening. She and her friend Rachel were dressed as girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes, Anne as a brown paper package tied up with string, Christine as Maria, Uncle Dick and Auntie Crystal as puppets and me as a nun. We danced around outside the theatre and you could see that dressing up was one of “a few of her favourite things”. Lots of fun evenings were had in her company. I used to love being invited along to her birthday curries. She loved a curry.
Emily achieved her dream of getting on the property ladder, buying a house in St Lukes, then much to the delight of her friends and family bought a house in central Tunbridge Wells. She held a New Ears Eve Party here and made us all come wearing ears. It proved to be a great party house and a great location for friends and family to get ready in and crash out in afterwards. When Josephine went out with Emily people would ask if they were sisters. “Yes,” Emily would reply, “I’m the good looking one.” She would entertain, though she couldn’t cook and the neighbours got used to the smoke alarm going off!
JIM: Spa days, holidays and shopping trips with friends continued leading up to an extravagant shopping trip in New York, taking in all the world-famous shops. On this particular trip Emily offered to take some things home for Claire but there was so much, she cut out all the labels from the new clothes and wore them home to beat customs. It’s a good job Emily was small to start with! Many of you also know that Emily had a big fear of flying. She tried to get over this, going on a fear of flying course, so as not to let people down when they wanted her to go somewhere with them. Those who sat next to her on flights got to know that she has a REALLY strong grip!
LUCY: Emily always wanted to do her best and try to be perfect. Even though she was brilliant at everything she tried she never believed in herself and wouldn’t believe it when she was told. Sadly, health problems made it difficult for her to continue to work. She wasn’t allowed to drive due to epilepsy and had to move on from the publishing company. Her health problems got worse. When I visited Emily in hospital earlier this year, despite being in a lot of pain, she was there looking out for other people. She would send me messages asking me to buy other patients’ favourite chocolate bars and bring them in. She was trying to help other people who were struggling even though she was struggling herself. We feel consoled that towards the end of her life, Emily was happy. She was making plans for her future and was excited about them.
JIM: We are proud to say Emily was our niece and Goddaughter. She clearly brought joy to so many and that has become more & more apparent in the tributes received over the last seven months. She was a credit to Christine and Tim.
We’d like to end by paying tribute to Christine and Tim. Being a parent isn’t easy and is a lot harder when various physical and mental difficulties are involved. Christine and Tim went above and beyond the call of duty to help Emily, no parents could have tried harder. The fact that Emily was happy when she died was in no small part due to the love and support she was receiving from them. The family have had a particularly difficult time having to wait so long to be able to have this funeral – Christine, Tim, Spike, Benny, Samuel, Josephine, William, George, Henry and Alice have been comforted by the support and kindness of friends and family. They have been touched by the generous donations, the number of messages and the positive thoughts and stories they have been told, many of which they hadn’t heard before. Emily would have loved them too.
Bless you Emily, we all miss you.
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