Dawson, Ivy May Gascoigne
Funeral report for the late May Dawson The funeral was held on 19th April 2010 for the late Ivy May Gascoigne Dawson née Willis, who died 7th April aged 88 years. May was born in Enfield, Middlesex on 16th May 1921 to Edith & Harry Willis and was the youngest of five children. Her father was a navvy and served in the First World War and her mother took work as a cleaner to make ends meet. May was a bright and spirited child. When her father pierced her ears with a cork and a darning needle she delighted at running round the house showing off to everyone, much to the despair of her mother. She enjoyed the company of her dad and often sat on his knee painfully pulling his Popeye & Olive Tattoos into different shapes. Her dad gave her pocket money to travel on the tube to get to know the London Underground. She used to hold the darts for him when he was in the pub and later won medals for her own dart throwing. She travelled to different places as a young girl and was confident, cheerful and bright making friends easily, a skill that lasted throughout her life. She was musical and played the piano accordion in a band and played the piano. She used to take tea in all the big London hotels like the Ritz, just for the opportunity of meeting different people. She was often seated with visiting American Ladies who were lone travellers and keen to learn about London. In the Second World War she built Halifax Bombers for the war effort. After the war she trained as a book keeper and went for a job advertised as “man wanted for the drawing office”. She was offered the job but said that she needed to meet the men before she accepted, to see whether she could work with them. In she walked and decided she could knock them into shape and took the job. In one corner was a Polish draftsman who had taken a job there after demobing from the Polish Army. He took one look at her and thought I will marry this woman. It took several hard years on Robert’s part to convince her but they were indeed married and had one daughter Krysia. They lived in Enfield until Krysia was six. In 1967 they moved to Grassfield Way in Knutsford. Here May busied herself with a job as a midday supervisor at the Knutsford High School, a role which she did with exceptional skill and authority. She became Aunty May to countless generations as she took on child minding for friends and neighbours. Robert was very keen that Krysia did well in her education but it was May who pointed her in the direction of physiotherapy. May was always interested in her son-in-law Mark’s work as an artist and wanted to know about his latest paintings. Her brother had been a master carpenter at the Tower of London and a master mason, so she appreciated creativity. She found a circle of devoted friends in Knutsford who supported her through Robert’s illness with Rheumatoid Arthritis up until his death in 1993. Her friends were also a great support for her at the beginning of her vascular dementia, something which Krysia and Mark are very grateful for. She never lost her personality and it is a great tribute to the care of the Laurel’s, Congleton that they appreciated her personality when she moved there in 2002. The Laurel’s became part of her extended family. No words can ever fully express the fantastic work that the staff at the Laurel’s did in caring for May and in turn Krysia & Mark. Before the days of fashionable coffee shops, she cornered the market with her liking for milky coffee and chocolate. She continually reminded everyone abut it. She was always a loyal child, sister, sister-in-law, aunty, great aunty and great great aunty. She was a devoted wife, mother and mother-in-law but her energies weren’t only focussed on her family. She always valued friendships which meant that she had a larger family than most. The fast pace of London in her youth stayed with her throughout her life as well as her London accent and her ability to talk for England. Her little sayings will be fondly remembered and mimicked by many “I was raving”, “watch it”, “it’s not what you know it’s who you know”, “better born lucky than rich”. She lived life to the full. She’ll be a hard act to follow but she’s given us a few clues as to how to do it. The funeral service held at Wellspring Methodist Church, Congleton, conducted by Rev Pam Butler was followed by interment in Knutsford Cemetery. Flowers and donations for the Alzheimers Society-East Cheshire Branch were received. Arrangements by Dodgson’s Funeral Service, Knutsford.