Remembering Margaret Grice

Dear Friends

Many of you will have joined the service, either in person or on-line, to celebrate the life of our friend and church elder, Margaret Grice. The church was full to over-flowing with people who had come to pay their respects to someone who had touched their lives in many different ways; family, friends, ICI colleagues, Scouting and Guiding members, church family and all the groups she supported with her voluntary work. Maranny, who led the service, did a marvellous job ensuring every-one was included. However, with the time allowed, it is impossible to provide anything but a flavour of the many wide-ranging relationships Margaret had made throughout her 74 years.

As long as anyone can remember, Margaret’s presence has been felt at St Columba’s and she especially loved to encourage children and young people in the church. In the early days, she was known as “Akela” to the boys who attended 4th Billingham Cubs . She loved organizing cub camps and made many lifelong friends including Lynn and Barry Worn, Bernadette Davidson and Ronnie Anderson. We have even heard talk of her being instrumental in developing Lynn and Barry’s romance as she would often put them together on activities! For the last 20 years Margaret has helped with our Guide unit and enjoyed a holiday to Switzerland and Disneyland Paris with us in 2010.

Margaret was an elder of the church for over forty years. During that time she has acted as Pulpit Supply Secretary and Treasurer. Her booming voice and commanding presence came into its own when trying to keep Elders’ and church meetings on track, as well as for calling Bingo and Beetle at church socials!

In the last few years, Margaret has played an important role in the growth of the church and its out-reach. She became involved in the Ladies’ Friendly Circle, was part of the CRCW steering group and kept in close contact with both members and lay preachers, especially during the COVID pandemic. She also helped to set up and run the Busy Bees holiday clubs, Tea, Toast and Tots and she enjoyed the “chat” part of Craft & Chat!

Margaret was very open about her faith and her passion for St Columba’s with people she met outside the church. This led to a Justice of the Peace contact from Victim Support coming to talk to our Guides and Brownies about the court system and some ladies from the “Halo” project coming to teach Bollywood dancing at Busy Bees.

It has been very strange the last few weeks at St Columba’s, while Margaret was ill, but we never imagined that she would not be back worshipping with us. When I last saw her, she was excited to see the new kitchen and said she would “get back to the church somehow”. There are those who would say she was definitely there on Thursday, making her presence felt in her own mischievous way, when the device that was recording the service parted company with its stand, just a few minutes into Maranny’s tribute. It had been up there all night and never moved!

In Sunday’s service we will be sharing more memories of Margaret and we will plant a rose, “Amazing Grace” in her memory. She will certainly be greatly missed by everyone at St Columba’s.

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