Edna Steele

Remembering  Edna  - a lady who 'just liked to get on with it'

Edna and John as many will remember them.

Edna Mary Steele (nee Wilkinson)  –  loving wife of John (recently departed), sister to Charles; mother to Philip and Robert; grandmother to Benand, great grandmother to Imogen and Isobel - passed away peacefully at Borrage House Care Home in Ripon on Thursday,February 8 at the age of 90.

In keeping with Edna’s own wishes a simple service of farewell was held at Stonefall Crematorium on the February 21, but will also be remembered at a Bishop Monkton Methodist Church service on March 21, where she was a familiar figure for many years.

Though no longer with us, Edna leaves behind the  wealth of friends and memories that the privilege of a long life offers. 

Edna was born in Goole, East Yorkshire – a daughter for Charles and Ada Wilkinson. A brother – Charles Edmund  -  followed and in 1940 the family moved to Bishop Monkton which they must have liked because they never moved again!

Edna completed her education at Ripon Girls' High School, graduating in 1944 and almost immediately joining the war effort as a clerk with the Ministry for Aircraft Production at their offices in Harrogate.

We don’t know exactly where and when John and Edna first met but we do know that they were married at Bishop Monkton Methodist Church in 1951. A year later they welcomed son Philip into the world, followed by Robert in 1954. Though never leaving the village, the family managed to live and make friends at all three corners –
moving from  St John’s Crescent, to  Glenroyd  Cottages and, finally, to Crossways at the foot of the Moor Road.  It was here that they celebrated both their Golden and Diamond Wedding anniversaries.

Over the years, Edna devoted much of her time to raising her two boys and caring for her own elderly parents.  The post war years were never going to be easy and Edna had no hesitation in supplementing  the family income by taking  on cleaning and housekeeping work for others - others who in most cases also became lifelong friends.

In very many ways, Edna typified the Yorkshire countrywomen of her generation – practical and resourceful with a totally down to earth ‘make do and mend and be grateful for what you’ve got’ attitude to daily life . . .  and yet always ready to offer a helping hand to others and play a part in the village community, whether it was making
cricket teas, chapel  upkeep and functions or as a stalwart of the WI.  In fact, the nearest Edna probably got to a personal philosophy would be ‘just get on with it!' .... which she certainly did!

Edna said that one of the happiest and most fulfilling periods of her life happened more or less by chance – the newly built Bishop Monkton Primary School needed staff and helpers and Edna jumped at the chance – first  as a dinner lady and later as a teaching assistant -  spending the next 16 years. 
helping generation after generation of village children take those vital first steps in education . . . and she loved every minute of it.

In more recent years, failing eyesight and a fall at home signalled that the time had come for a move into care, followed a few weeks later by John.  Both settled into their new surroundings remarkably well – that practical philosophy again – and lived out their final months together in quiet contentment; well looked after by friendly,
professional and caring staff at Borrage House, to whom Philip and Robert will remain forever grateful.   

Edna and John celebrating their Diamond Wedding.