Contributed by Nicola Gamble

‘Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible’ – Dalai Lama


When I first met Rita in Bowls Close in 1984 she was cooking and hosting for a large group of German choristers  – a surreal experience. From that moment on she took me to her heart and held me there against all odds.


She was the epitome of kindness, compassion and forgiveness.


It’s a privilege to have had her in my life for over 30 years and my children are blessed to have had her as a grandmother. The seeds she has sown in their lives and mine remain.


– Nicola



“Rita has played a significant part in many people’s lives through her acts of friendship, generosity and hospitality, our own included. Hers was a life totally lived to the full and her immense energy and zest for living an absolute wonder to behold!”


“She was a very special lady, full of so much love and caring for everyone around her.  We will miss her very much.”


“The passing of a very great Lady”.


“Rita was an outstanding member of the Stanmore Society, having been a member for at least 34 years, possibly even longer.  She was an active member as well as an active committee member..  She gave continued  valuable support in our activities, latterly as the Editor of our Newsletter, a function which nobody else could manage as well she did. We must not also forget her other good and charitable works.  Her energetic and creative presence is now lost to the Society and to Stanmore.”


“She was a wonderful lady and one who we were privileged to know during our regular trips.”


“’His master replied, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!”‘ She has been a really faithful servant of God and I believe is now continuing as she has done for many years .. to share her master’s happiness. I will miss Rita so very much and appreciate all the love, time, fun, interest and kindness she has given during our years of friendship.”


Contributed by Pete and Nicki Copeland

What can I say about mum that hasn’t already been said? Plenty, actually, but I’d need to write volumes.


This amazing woman changed my whole life. I was living a pretty mundane life, and then I met this amazing gift from God. I am now happier than I’ve ever been, and all because of one woman and her love for waifs and strays. Through Mum I met and fell in love with Jesus, and through Mum I met and fell in love with the woman of my dreams.


Mum inspired me; she was my rock and my foundation; she was my shining light and my beacon. She was my mum, and she will be forever. Mum touched not only my life; she also touched the lives of countless other people. Mum was incredible in every sense of the word.


I love you, Mum


Pete xx


Rita was the very first person to welcome me when I came with my family to the church around 15 years ago. She didn’t know me, yet she invited me round for coffee.


She has always been there for me and my children, including at the most difficult times. Her love, encouragement and generosity in so many ways has blown me away.


It is Rita that Pete and I have to thank for bringing us together. Once again, she welcomed into her home someone she didn’t know, accepted him and loved him. She wouldn’t take no for an answer when she invited him to church, and eventually he gave in!


That’s where I met him. Rita and I would often joke that she just about forgave me for stealing him away from her. But we know she was genuinely over the moon to see us together, and to have been more than a little instrumental in bringing it about!


Rita, I love you and I miss you so much. I’m so glad that Jesus came for you in exactly the way you wanted him to. Rest in peace in the arms of the one you love, and I look forward to sharing a meal with you in your heavenly kitchen.


All my love,

Nicki xx

Rita Through The Ages | Pictures

Provided by Stephen Jourdan


Rita Aged 0 - 1929

Rita, Age 0 – 1929

Rita Aged 5 - 1934

Rita, Age 5 – 1934


Rita Aged 15 - 1944

Rita, Age 15 – 1944

Rita Aged 16 - 1945

Rita, Age 16 – 1945

Rita Aged 18 - 1947 -

Rita, Age 18 – 1947

Rita Aged 18 - 1947

Rita, Age 18 – 1947

Rita Aged 21 - 1950

Rita, Age 21 – 1950

1958 wedding day 2Rita, aged 29, and Werner on their wedding day in 1958

1965 with boys in front of Bowls CloseRita, aged 36, with Werner, Stephen and Paul – Bowls Close 1965

Rita Aged 44 - 1973 -

Rita, Aged 44 – 1973

Rita Aged 44 - 1973

Rita, Aged 44 – 1973

Rita Aged 47 - 1976

Rita, Aged 47 – 1976

1981 aged 52Rita aged 54 – 1984

2004 aged 75

Rita, Aged 75 – 2004

Mum and Dad 1

Rita, aged 79, and Werner – 2008

2009 80th birthday

Rita, Aged 80 – 2009

2009 - 80th birthday cake

Rita, Aged 80 – 2009