Thursday, 25 February 2016


Eileen Hilda Doughty was born 1924 in West Ham, Essex, now Newham, part of Greater London. She was one of five siblings. Her elder brother, Edward, forever known as Roy, was born four years earlier. Then followed her younger brother Richard, Patricia and finally Maureen. Their parents, Hilda Florence Willoughby and, wait for it, Albert Thomas Diamond Jubilee, both born in 1897, began their courtship during the First World War.

It was between these two dreadful wars that Eileen grew up. First in Selsdon Road, Upton Park, then, at the age of eleven, 65, Upminster Road. Eileen would often recall the blitz where she, along with her siblings, were instructed by their parents to gain cover in an Anderson shelter. This was a thing Eileen never did preferring to stand outside as the bombs fell. Her fear of spiders was greater than her fear of the Luftwaffe. The Nazis may have been nasty but nowhere near as nasty as an eight-legged, rather hairy, arachnid.

She would often speak of the war with a surprising degree of fondness suggesting the world, even at such a dark hour, was better than the one we now live in. One of her recollections was having square strips of the News of the World recycled as toilet paper. Her father, Albert, would often ask his wife, Hilda, to bend over so that he could read the sports page.

A year after Eileen’s family had moved to Hornchurch, their near neighbours from Upton Park, the Leek's, followed suit. The parents of that family were nineteen years older than Eileen’s. This was of no concern to her and of very little interest either. What did catch her eye was the youngest member of that family, a young man a year her junior – Ralph Allen Alfred.

In 1952, the couple started courting. By 1953, having plucked up his courage, Ralph asked Eileen to marry him. On the 28th of March 1953, they were married in a registry office in Romford. One year later their first and only child was born. A son they named Russell.

As a partnership, Eileen and Ralph took a traditional approach. Eileen the housewife – Ralph the bread winner. It was, as most relationships are, one based on love and commitment even if at times they had their fair share of ups and downs. Eileen, who most people referred to as Liz, knew when she’d overstepped the mark when Ralph would call her ‘Eileen’  before retreating to the garage whereupon he’d work at some carpentry whilst listening to cricket on the radio.

The couple remained married until Ralph's death in 1988. His death at such a young age remained a torment for Eileen for many years. Never one to allow such a thing to wear her down Eileen turned to her faith. She joined, just like her baby sister before her, The Salvation Army where she actively participated in all Corps duties. Collecting money, running their coffee mornings and attending meetings. This enabled her to serve the God she devoutly worshiped by doing the few good deeds she could whilst allowing her sense of loss to diminish. 

As she aged she naturally grew less able to perform the tasks she had so loved. By 2010, the COPD that would eventually end her life began to take its toll. 

In the final years of her life twice she told her God she wasn't quite ready to go. Twice she recovered from serious illness. Like Lazarus from the grave, she seemingly arose time and again. Perhaps her God is a baseball player as the third time He and she agreed enough was enough. On the 3rd February, a month away from her 92nd birthday Liz went to join her beloved Ralph.

She is succeeded by her son Russell, his four children, Emily, Jamie, Charlotte and Grace and twin grandchildren, Jacob and Joshua.

She was cremated today,  the 25th February.

May her God bless her and keep her in the hollow of His hand.
Russell Cuts the Corn From The Brewers Whiskers.

1 comment:

Cara H said...

I am very sorry for your loss. My dad passed away five and a half years ago. I still think of him daily.

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A Utility Fish Shed Blog

A Utility Fish Shed Blog