Obituary: Eva Dalby

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Eva Dalby

EVA Dalby formerly of Chestnut Road, Oakham, died at the Rutland Care Village in her 97th year.

The funeral service took place at the Methodist Church, Northgate, Oakham, the Rev Russell Parker officiating. Neville Favill was organist.

Born Eva Wright in Melton Mowbray, she lived her early years with her family in Somerby and attended services at the Methodist church three times on Sunday from the age of four years and always had some other activity connected with the church every evening of the week. She played the organ at the church at the age of 10 for Sunday school anniversary.

Transport was limited and most travelling was by bicycle, often many miles, which she continued until the age of 83.

Eva left Somerby at the age of 19 to work for the Noel family at Cottesmore House. She met Hedley two years later, and they married and lived in the grounds of the house for 17 years. She attended Cottesmore Methodist Church and often played the organ for services.

During the Second World War Eva looked after evacuees. Hedley served with the RAF and was posted to Burma with 42 Sqn for three years, while Eva spent time in South Wales and Nottingham making binocular lenses until the end of the war.

In 1954 she moved with her husband from Cottesmore to Oakham. Always fond of music, Eva joined Rutland Choral Society. She worked at Oakham School for 25 years and sang with pupils on many musical occasions.

A series of painting programmes on TV refreshed her love of art, started early in life, and she entered a national competition. She was fortunate to be accepted for the next 14 years, with four highly commended awards and two in the same year. This event was held annually at the Royal Festival Hall in London, where Eva met several celebrities including Rolf Harris, David Jacobs and Gilbert Harding. One picture titled Operation Salvage, is now owned by Glasgow Museum of Modern Art.

After painting in conventional style for many years she wanted to change, but found difficulty in finding inspiration. She went into town and after searching in the library, went to a photographers shop on the way home and found a card displayed on the front of the desk with the words: “Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead, where there is no path and leave a trail.”

This was the inspiration she was looking for and she bought the card which changed her life. Her style of art changed completely featuring abstract, primitivism, expressionism, surrealism and more. Her interest and ability continued to the end, but most of all not forgetting the strong spiritual faith that strengthened throughout her life.

One of the likely reasons for her long life was a healthy diet of home grown vegetables, and the fact that she did not own a car and cycled for many miles.

Her husband Hedley worked hard at providing vegetables, and cultivated the large back garden at Chestnut Road and in addition had two large allotments in Willow Crescent and Burley Road, which yielded an abundance of produce and was often gifted to family and friends.

Eva collected hundreds of cuttings featuring words of wisdom, poems and proverbs, and also wrote down her own feelings and beliefs.

Widow of Hedley Dalby, she leaves her son Denis.

Family mourners included: Denis and Suzanne Dalby (representing Richard and Steffanie Dalby), Louise, Daisy and Damian Wilkins (family), Ena Dobson, Kevin Dobson (Gavin and Matthew Dobson), Lyndsey Dobson, Denise and John Stuckey, Janine Stuckey (Lee Coleman), Trevor Stuckey, Elaine Bramley, Dianne and Peter Primett (Primett and Sharpe family).

Sympathisers included: Sandra and Robert Beechey, David Bateman, Robin Ball, May and Peter Tucker, Shirley Stubbings (Oakham Methodist Church Pastoral Group), Una Aincough (Moya and Emma Collier-Baker, Ainscough family), Paul Ainscough, June and Gordon Dalby (Catherine Stafford), Susan Allen (Sylvia Morton), Ron and Marian Haworth, Ruth Hardy (Caroline Schlich, Magdalen Hardy Crisham, Bridget Hardy, Fay Howison), Alan and Patricia Ainscough (family), Margaret Howard (Goddard family), Ann Taylor, Carol Bottomley (Graham Bottomley), Sue Gray (Richard Gray), Sandra Lazenby (Gray family), Margaret Withnell, Lynn Andrews-Stewart and Clair Johns (Rutland Care Village), Malcolm and Sheila Hardy (Wharflands Oakham School).