Garstang’s tribute to colourful midwife

Funeral of Marion Ward in Garstang
Funeral of Marion Ward in Garstang

APPLAUSE for a life dedicated to public service greeted the funeral procession of former Garstang midwife and district nurse, Marion ‘Nurse’ Ward as it made its way to St Thomas’s Church yesterday.

To emphasise the celebratory nature of the service, the coffin was carried on a motorcycle hearse - the motorbike and sidecar theme chosen because of Nurse Ward’s near legendary fancy dress entry in Garstang Festival in 1997 as one of motorbiking chefs, ‘The Two Fat Ladies.’

The cortege made its way from her home in Rivermead Drive through the town and to the Church Street/Park Hill roundabout and on to the church.

At the service daughter Elizabeth gave a moving outline of Marion’s life from her birth in Manchester, childhood in the Lake District, training in Carlisle and early years in the pre-NHS health service in Manchester.

She also spoke of her mother’s career before coming to Garstang, which included a stint in the Bermuda and Canada, before Marion moved to Garstang in the early 1960s, taking on the role of both district nurse and midwife. She later concentrated on midwifery, retiring in the early 1980s.

Miss Ward told the packed congregation: “Mum became a nurse because she loved people and she loved making a difference. As a nurse she had sat at the ringside of grief and happiness. She wanted to make a difference to whatever position her patients were in.

“It wasn’t about money, it was about care, duty, fulfilment and making the best of things. Altruism, generosity fun and giving of herself.”

In retirement she continued her membership of the Family Planning Association, the Royal College of Midwives and the Royal College of Nursing as well as many Garstang-based groups.

She also found time for other interests such as sewing and computer classes. She supported Garstang Historical Society and Garstang Poetry Appreciation Society (where a silent tribute was held in her memory at last Friday’s meeting).

As well as her daughter, Marion who died last month aged 88, also leaves a son, James. Her other son, Andrew, predeceased her.

* See next week’s Courier for Elizabeth Ward’s tribute to her mother.