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Margie, her mother and a garden of rest

25 October, 2018 — By John Gulliver

Margie Dolan and her mother Hetty Bower

THE twists and turns of life forever seem to attract unfore­seen consequences – certainly those are my thoughts on the tragic death of 80-year-old Margie Dolan who was killed in a cycling accident.

I had got to know Margie over years, mainly, admittedly, as the daughter of, in my eyes, a famous mother, Hetty Bower, who seemed to deny all the rules of life, living, with amazing energy, to the age of 108.

Margie seemed to have inherited her genes. In her middle years, as a Communist, she threw herself into opposing to the Vietnam war, was active as a teacher in the campaigns of the National Union of Teachers, supported the miners in their one-year strike in 1984 and, it goes without saying, took up the cause of the Anti-Apartheid Movement.

Retirement? This didn’t mean much for Margie who rejoined the Labour Party after Jeremy Corbyn became its leader, and poured her newly found energy into campaigning for him.

Then came the cycle accident near her home in Hertfordshire. And the unforeseen consequence? The accident happened shortly after she sold her house in order to move closer to her family.

But in the garden of her old home lay the remains of both her father Reg Bower, another man poss­essed of left-wing ideas who had died at 91, and those of her mother. She had laid them to rest with a flowerbed on top and a bower and bench alongside.

She had arranged, with various caveats in the sale, that the new family taking over her home would respect the shrine at the end of the garden. Then came the sudden end to her life. No doubt arrangements had been made for her being able to visit her parents’ grave – but then life intervened as it were.

In these days of green funerals, burials in forests, under a “favourite” tree, for instance, it is perhaps not uncommon for them to take place in the gardens of homes of the bereaved.

Perhaps we are going back to what some may think is a more civilised way of keeping our links with the past.


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