Village News - Margaret Harbury (08.11.1934 - 07.02.2015)

Margaret Harbury (08.11.1934 - 07.02.2015)

Margaret HarburyMargaret was born on 08/11/34 in fog bound St John’s Wood, London. Her father, Walter Graham, was a GP from Aberdeen and her mother, Susanne Simone, the daughter of an Anglo-French family. At the age of six she and her brothers were evacuated to Fyvie in the Aberdeenshire countryside where, for those of us more used to ipads and mobile phones she learnt to write on a piece of slate, and due to food rationing had to enjoy the delights of nettle soup collected from the local hedgerows. This is perhaps where she started to develop her lifelong interest in plants and gardening, and where she started to discover her many practical skills and abilities. These included gardening, fishing, DIY, fine woodwork, making pottery, cooking, golf, beautiful handwriting and Scottish county dancing. We will all be familiar with the garden that Margaret cultivated at Bridge House, Pakenham which she created with great energy, love and attention.

After school her aim had been to study horticulture at Waterperry Gardens Oxfordshire but this was prevented by a back injury, and instead she attended Roehampton teacher training college. Her first teaching post was in Bristol where she met her first husband, David Proctor. In 1960 they moved to Blackheath, London, when David became Education Officer at the National Maritime Museum. Three sons, Andrew, Diccon, and Tom swiftly followed and the couple moved to a larger family home in the suburb of Beckenham. Later when the boys were older she resumed her teaching career and became a specialist dyslexia teacher in a local primary school.

In 1987 she re-married, and the lucky fellow was a rather eccentric economics professor from UCL, Colin Harbury. In 1990 they decided to move to Pakenham with the idea of retiring here. Initially Colin continued to commute to London to teach part-time at the university, and he wrote economics text books from home. Margaret did some supply teaching and helped at the Elderly Day Centre. She loved working in the large garden at Bridge House (it made up for not having the chance to become a professional gardener) and they often opened it for charity days. They settled into village life, Margaret enjoying lots of gardening and Colin lots of home cooked food!

It’s fair to say they thrived in their new environment and made many very good friends through local village organisations. Margaret became president of the Pakenham WI and Womens captain of the Stowmarket golf club, and Colin joined the Pakenham Players. They had twenty wonderful years in Pakenham and these were some of the happiest of their lives. In 2010 they downsized and moved into Bury St Edmunds and sadly Colin passed away in 2012. Margaret continued to soldier on despite long term health problems of a Pituitary tumour and Parkinson’s disease. She always enjoyed visits from her extended family and particularly her eight grandchildren. She passed away peacefully at home on the 7th of February.

Margaret was always very hospitable and generous in spirit, and tended to think of others before herself. Many people can recall countless acts of kindness evident in her thoughtful and selfless support for friends and others in the community that she came into contact with. Life wasn’t always easy for her but she had a strong faith which helped at crucial times in her life. She always displayed great stoicism and fortitude mixed with a sense of humour and a very big smile. A gracious lady, who will be missed by all.

Written by her son Diccon Proctor - 22.02.2015

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