Philippa Tapper is 90 today and she should be proud of her 90 years , two thirds of which she’s been my Mum. I will not say she is the best Mum in the world but she’s the best Mum I’ve ever had.
She is the third of a remarkable brood to make 90. Collectively known as the “Hesketh girls” they were born into a middle class family in Welwyn Garden City. Her father was solicitor to the post office and her mother a county bridge players. Her two elder sisters survive her and are in fine shape.
As an 8 year old she went to America as an evacuee on a convoy. For those who worry about resilience, she is an example of stoicism. Her boat narrowly avoided being sunk , my mother remembers the trace of a German torpedo that passed her ship and hit the boat next door. We will remember her generation as the last that experienced war first hand (in Britain).
She met and married my father while she was a physio at the Middlesex hospital and he was studying to be a GP. She moved with him to Shaftesbury in Dorset where his family were yeoman farmers. She had four children of which I am the oldest.
Her husband, Geoffrey, died in 2017. Her children are close to her and we will be with her today. They live with her in the same house we all were born in. I will be with her and them today.
Those who know her , know her worth. My lifetime of happy memories of her are most intense when I think back to the many walks we have taken through the Dorset countryside and in Scotland where the family has been on holiday each April since 1976.
I am quite sure that she has many more years in which she will be concerned about her garden, her children, her health and the wellbeing of her friends. She still drives her car and walks with the family dog, Glen. She has been a stalwart of the Shaftesbury Methodist Church for well over 60 years and regularly ferries those more frail than her to church and around town.
When she is chosen to retire from these duties, I am sure there is a better place she will go. But she has made this place a better one for many and for that and for all she has given me, I congratulate her.
If you’ve enjoyed reading this, say a prayer for your mother.