Yesterday the life of Kate was recalled and celebrated in the Chilterns Crematorium in Amersham.
Kate's life ended last week at the age of 44. Her death was expected and she was cared for in her final days by her family and the Ian Rennie Hospice at Home. The ending was peaceful and her family were with her.
She will be remembered in Newport by her maiden name of Kate Butler. Many of her Newport friends travelled to Amersham for the touching and inspiring funeral. Husband Paul Needham led the mourners and children Oscar and Bea lit candles in her memory.
Kate's full life was recalled. She was a brilliant pupil at Lodge Hill School and Caerleon Comprehenive. She was an active political campaigner and she visted Greeenham Common and was dedicated to enviromental and political causes. Her musical skills as a flautist offered the chance of a professional career. After university, she devoted years of work on the social services frontline in Newnham. It was tough, demanding and thankless. But Kate felt fulfilled by meeting the challenges and restlessly sought to provide the best service possible.
Her humour and exerberance were vividly recalled. Illustrating her love of London and its exciting life was her choice of the song 'A nightingale sang in Berkely Square' played yesterday. One group at the funeral wore large flowers. They all worked with Kate at the local Guinness Charity where she was the Director of Communications. In his tribute her boss Simon Dow praised her skill and leadership in successfully directing the enterprise. Thanks were paid to all of Kate friends who helped her in last few weeks.
The service was conducted with great sensitivity by Pauline Hyde-Coomber who drew on the wealth of anecdotes of Kate's life that her family treasure. To the delight of the congregations dozens of photographs of Kate were projected on a lage screen. They covered her life from a baby, through school, college and marriage to very recent happy familiy pictures as the mother of two fine children. I knew Kate best when she worked in my Newport Office for a brief period at an early age. She impressed with her exceptional maturity, penetrating intellignce and optimistic disposition.
Other music played included 'When you're smiling' and 'Three little Birds' illustrated the mood of sunny life-affirming optimism of the event. Oscar and Bea released doves and friends and family sent hundreds of signed balloons into the beautiful sunlit sky. For several minutes the congregation watched the balloons move slowly across the sky and finally disappear into the far distance. There was a reluctance to leave and break this final link with Kate.
Kate's death was tragedy and a cruel blow to her loved ones and friends. As a mark of tribute to a unique life, bravely and beautifully lived, yesterday's tributes wonderfully captured much of her personality and spirit. Our condolences and good wishes to her loving family.
Rest in Peace, Kate.