Nora Goddard: 1907-2006
published by GAE, October 2006

Nora Goddard, the last member of the generation of Silchester Goddard's born in the last years of the 19th century and the early years of the 20th, was buried in the Goddard plot at St Mary's Church Silchester on the 26th September 2006. Nora was the wife of Thomas, the youngest son of Arthur James and younger brother of Stephen William. Nora was in her hundredth year and sadly died in Basingstoke General Hospital following a road accident. A service was held in the Wessex Christian Foundation church in Basingstoke, which was attended by relatives from Hampshire, Essex and Leicestershire. Following the service Nora was interred in Silchester and mourners then attended a wake in the Callleva Arms. A picture of Nora, at the Calleva Arms, appears in the Goddard Newsletter for October 2005. During the service Nora's only son, Thomas Brian, read a poem he had written about his mum entitled Nora Grumble-Never

Little Nora's father was a cowman
Her mother kept up the home
Little Nora delivered heavy pales of milk
Walked great cart-horses round and round the farm

They were never far from poverty
A cowman's wages being such
Then a man had to have his beer you see
Though he never took too much

From five years old down a muddy track
Nora and her brother
Walked two full miles to School, and back
In all kinds of weather

Life was pretty threadbare
All going without and thrift
Then Nora's Dad died young of ulcers
And the rest of them had to shift

Mum and Nora went into service
Worked their fingers to the bone
Through endless house-work laden years
In the wealthy peoples' homes

Nora dreamed of a career in domestic-service
She definitely had what it takes
But a maid's wage was even less than a cowman's
So she never got the breaks

Throw in the hardships of two world wars
And going hungry a lot of the time
When she died, among many the big question was
How on earth did she reach ninety-nine

But those who knew her knew she was tough
And no matter how many a fall
Shed get such a grip when the going got rough
That shed always bounce back, like a ball

Nora did find a darned good husband
And a God to whom she faithfully prayed
And eventually a one-and-only son came along
Who, dare I say it, just about made the grade

With hard work, living frugally and saving
Tom and Nora determined never to be broke
They managed, in fact to buy a semi-detached
In a nice part of old Basingstoke

At long last Nora could stop working so hard and-
Enjoy family and home
Tom tilled the soil in a sizeable garden
So a lot of the food was home grown

Though Nora's early years were a struggle indeed
She did find love and happiness with that man
And through forty years of marriage they always agreed
That theyd do it all over again

Then when Nora's beloved so sadly died
Did she contemplate giving up the fight?
No…she took up badminton aged seventy-five
And carried on riding her bike

For twenty more years living on her own
Nora kept up that garden and big house
Her one and only son had upped and long gone
Though he came home some week ends and Christmas

And on top of managing her sizeable estate
She always found time for others
She helped out with children and the RSPCA
And in her spare time did cryptic cross-word puzzles

She counted her grand-children as the crown of her joys
And saw them as three of the best
Always remarking 'What fine lovely boys'
And following their progress with interest

She thought highly of their mother, Judith, through the years
Who always took the trouble to keep in touch
Sending letters and photos of these thre musketeers.
Nora treasured this gesture so much

When her garden and home that she loved got too much
She went with such dignity into care
The church people turned out to move all her stuff
And she made another great success of things there

She was on the home stretch to a hundred
When out walking with her wheel-along frame
She met with a traffic accident
And was rush into hospital in shock and much pain

Considering her injuries and confusion
Those around her prepared for the end
But by the Grace of God and a blood transfusion
She pulled through and rallied again

For forty long days she heroically struggled
Even sat up wanting to go home
When a stroke dealt another bitter blow in her battle
And Nora was then laid very low

Yet that grip she kept held for another eight days
Putting on one heck of a show
That visitors and doctors alike were amazed
Til Nora had to let go

Despite the pain of long ailments and many a tumble
Nora showed how to be a real winner
Thinking back did I ever just once hear her grumble
Well, no I have to simply say, never

Stephen Goddard