In loving memory of Ellen Urquhart Scott who sadly passed away on 5th December 2016
We are gathered here today to celebrate the life of Ellen Urquhart Scott – or as she was better known amongst her Scottish clan – wee Nellie!
Daughter of Hugh and Helen Sweeny, she was the eldest out of four siblings in her family. Coming from a strict, catholic upbringing, her faith in God was something that would play very prominently in her life and from which she could draw strength from at any given moment.
The little country girl from Plains had soon carved out a career for herself as a Nurse, working in the local hospital. Here she would eventually meet and marry her husband, John Scott (RIP). This would just be the start of a new and challenging life for her, as she and dad would spend the first few years of their married life in Bermuda. From memories we have of watching those old family slide shows, we can remember being mesmerised by seeing cornflower blue oceans and golden sands, together with beautiful villas with swimming pools. Wonderful!
Returning to Scotland again with their first new-born son, Paul, it would be years before she would again leave her beloved homeland. As dad had found job opportunities down south - the family - now with another second baby girl, Eleanor on board – had permanently made a home from themselves in Harlow New Town. With the addition of two more baby girls, Alison and Jocelyn, over the coming years, her family was now complete.
Most people would agree that mum was not the most sociable of people. Much preferring to keep herself to herself, she enjoyed listening to the radio and classical music, knitting, reading and pottering around in the garden. And perhaps just indulging in a very small glass of sherry at Christmas! Devoting her time to her family, money was of no importance to her and she did not hanker after the finer things of life.
However, that being said, she could also be quite the party animal and loved taking centre stage when the occasion was called for. She would always the first up to dance at a party – especially if The Gay Gordons or the Highland Fling was playing on the record player! And she could also sing us a few renditions of Scottish folk songs for good measure.
Mum was very much a part of all our lives – both here and in Scotland. As we look back over her past, we realise that she was always there for all the big family occasions and also the tragedies. She saw all her children get married, was there for all the births and christenings and for all our special birthdays, celebrations and Christmases.
We also shared many holidays with her after dad died, but I am sure our most fondest memories will always be that of caravan parks in Jaywick Sands! And of course there was a couple of times when even Jaywick Sands took a back-seat to a holiday in Malta, where she seemed to prefer living it up in a very posh hotel with her friend!
She was even able to venture North on several occasions. And although her home was in England, her heart was never far from her Scottish roots and family, whom she loved dearly and spoke about on a daily basis.
Mum was also blessed with her special circle of friends. They were people whom she thought very highly off and was very appreciative of all the support and comfort that she received from them in later years.
Having lived through the Depression, the Coronation of a new Queen and witnessed the arrival of the New Millennium, I think it was fair to say that mum was also part of some pretty awesome history events.
As with every family, there was sometimes confliction between us. At 5-foot nothing and with a tongue as sharp as a razor-blade, mum could be a force to be reckoned with! Feisty, rebellious and strong-willed, she knew her own mind and was not shy at voicing her opinion.
But underneath it all was a woman with a passionate heart, who just wanted her family to be safe and free from the hardships of life. It was important for her that we grew up with the same morals and beliefs that had been instilled into her by her own God-fearing and adored parents. Through all the controversy of life, we would all still remain a very close and tight-fit unit.
She especially wanted all the best things in life for her beautiful Grandchildren, whom she loved and cherished in her own unique and exceptional way.
As mum’s health deteriorated, there were many obstacles in her way that made her quality of life less bearable. One of her dying wishes was that she could be at home until her last days. Her biggest fear would be that she would end up in a Nursing Home, all on her own. This was a wish that we, as a family, always tried to adhere to and hopefully we did mum proud in this respect, right up to the very end.
Mum, we love you and miss you. We hope you have found you place in heaven beside all the people who meant so much to you - Hugh Sweeny; Helen Sweeney; John Scott; Hannah Mayo; Aunt Julie, Karen Lynch and Uncle John, and all our other sadly-departed souls over the years. Your spirit will continue to live on in all of us left behind.