Fond farewell to 105-year-old village stalwart

Connie Baker at her 105th birthday party last July

Connie Baker at her 105th birthday party last July

First published in News Bucks Free Press: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

HUNDREDS attended the funeral of a 105-year-old who has been called the "Queen Mother" of Lacey Green.

Constance Baker, who was known as Connie, died on January 23.

Her funeral was held yesterday at The Chilterns Crematorium in Amersham, which hundreds of well-wishers attended.

Michael Hardy, who is the Honorary Secretary of Lacey Green Windmill Restoration Committee, read an eulogy at the service.

He said: "Living her whole life in one village, Connie grew up with many people that became life-long friends. But she was just as welcoming to people who moved to the village in more recent years, such as ourselves 30 years ago.

"As we have heard, Connie’s life was focused around her family’s business at Gomme’s Forge. My involvement with the windmill means that we can claim to be one of the Forge’s oldest customers. Naturally, many local farms have also been their customers."

She requested people wore colourful clothes to her funeral, which reflected her personality. She had a busy social calendar and attended as many village events as possible.

She was able to live in her home almost to the end of her life, with the help of her family.

Connie, whose husband, Fred, died in 1988, had three children- Graham, Jenny and Geoff, who all live in the area and four grandchildren. She was also a Great Grandmother.

Many of her early memories of the village have been recorded including her recollections of the Chapel and its Sunday School.

Michael, who knew Connie best from the horticultural society, said she also encouraged new ventures in the village.

He said: "In 1991 Ted Janes founded the walking club, and Connie was on the first walk, then aged 83. By the club’s 20th anniversary, they wrote that, at the age of 103, Connie was finding stiles a bit challenging."

For her 100th birthday, her family took her to London for a day, which included a river cruise and a ride on the London Eye.

She arrived for her birthday party at the village hall in a 1938 Morris.

Pam Smith, from Walters Ash, who knew Connie for more than 70 years, said: "She always said what she put towards her old age was black coffee and a fag. She also ate a lot of cabbage.

"She was a wonderful lady- she really was. I will greatly miss her."

Another friend, Rosemary Mortham, said "She was very special, our Connie. We have lost the Queen Mother of the village.

"She seemed to feel it was her duty to go every where and be the figure head for the village.

"She attended all village events right up to the end. We shall miss her a lot."

Donations made at her funeral will go to Rennie Grove Hospice Care.

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