Monday, 2 July 2012

In loving memory of Val: Hei maumaharatanga ki te tino hoa

Instead of my usual neurotic ramblings, this week I would like to honour the memory of a friend of mine who has just passed away after a long battle with cancer. I first met Val when we were both living in Tanzania. I was immediately drawn to her because of our kiwi connection (she and her husband Dave had emigrated to New Zealand from England many years before) and because she made such great pavlovas.

Val making one of her spectacular pavlovas

I loved to visit Val as she had the gift of making her house a home, and apart from her own handicrafts and the odd pet, there was always something yummy to eat (have I mentioned her pavlovas?) She always proudly showed me new photos of her grandchildren and loved to tell me stories of how they were and what they were getting up to. After we had been to their house, my husband Greg would ask my why I didn't look after him half as well as she took care of her husband Dave. I just ignored him but I have tried to make a pavlova using her recipe several times, but they are never as good as hers.

Val (and me) with one of her beloved pets
As I got to know her, I came to appreciate her for much more than just her cooking. She was a kind, generous and warmhearted with a genuine concern for others. She was involved in many worthwhile projects in Tanzania, but the one that stands out in my memory was the weekly sales of her home baked muffins at a local shop, with all proceeds going to a needy cause.

She was also very direct and determined and was certainly not one to wallow in self pity. She fought her cancer bravely and the last email she ever wrote me did not even mention her health; though by this time she was very sick.

Val with her husband Dave
This all seems so inadequate as a tribute to Val and there is so much more I could share, but I have the feeling she would be uncomfortable with all this attention and would want me to shut up, so I will.

Rest in Peace dear Val, you have earned it.


  1. What a wonderful lady and a great tribute to her and her life

    1. Thanks Nome, I so appreciate hearing from you, especially when you did not know her.

  2. Oh dear, she's gone! I didnt know. Thanks for the lovely tribute Fay. She was a special lady. I remember her love of quilting and how she tried to teach me. She was always very kind and welcoming when I visited her and I know she supported a lot of people in Tanzania.

    1. Hi Lesley,
      Thanks so much for sharing your memories of her. She was indeed a special lady, and helped so many people in so many ways. She will be greatly missed.
      Much love

  3. I am so sad at Val's passing and I shall miss her 'in my life'. She had lots of compassion and a true zest for life which meant she was always there for anyone who needed a helping hand - she had a generous heart. This tribute is lovely Fey and yes, Val's pavlova and muffins were the best.

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Doreen. I know exactly what you mean and will miss her in my life too. We were able to visit them each time we were in NZ so will miss being able to see her when we are at home.
      Much love and hope you are doing well in Dar, !!