Peggy Miller

The following obituary, by Revd. Kingsley Lloyd, first appeared in the March 2000 issue of the Orwell Bulletin

Photo:Peggy Miller in 1988 with winning prize for Orwell Bulletin

Peggy Miller in 1988 with winning prize for Orwell Bulletin

The sudden death of Peggy Miller, while attending a Millennium New Year Service in Orwell Parish Church, was a great shock to the village, but it was more than that. Peggy had devoted her whole life in service to the community in which she was born and we are aware of our loss of a leader of unusual gifts and tireless dedication in service to others.

At the centre of all Peggy’s work for others was her devotion to the Methodist Church. She was very quick to realise that the old church/chapel demarcation could no longer convey a Christian presence in the village as once it did. From the early 1960s when Anglican/Methodism seemed more than a possibility, Peggy sought every opportunity to promote joint activities with the Parish Church.

Peggy’s work for Christian Aid will long be remembered in Orwell. Not only did she raise many thousands of pounds but she also created a tradition of united service which had not previously existed between the two churches. The campaign was undertaken from Manor Farm and involved a large number of helpers. One of Peggy’s skills was to involve others and few could refuse her appeal for help, knowing that she carried far the greatest burden of work.

It is impossible in this brief tribute to describe all Peggy’s work on behalf of good causes.  She was involved in every aspect of the Methodist church’s work, as a steward, Sunday School superintendent, chief fundraiser and unofficial caretaker, and she often organised the cleaning of the chapel, etc. She was often the first to arrive in all weathers to make sure that the heating was adequate. She was never too busy to show her friendship to young and old alike and many will mourn the loss of a true friend.

In recent months Peggy had been active in the part played by the churches in the millennium celebrations. She was present at the candlelight gathering at midnight, and afterwards in the village hall until the small hours of New Year’s Day. She returned that morning to the Parish Church, sharing her life with her friends in the community to the very end.

Our loving sympathy goes out to those whose loss is the greatest of all; to Susan and the whole family. We pray that God may comfort and strengthen them in their sad bereavement.

Some family memories

Photo:Peggy Miller with her mother, daughter, and young friends on a seaside outing

Peggy Miller with her mother, daughter, and young friends on a seaside outing

Peggy’s eldest granddaughter, Alison Pritchard, has written a wonderfully telling appreciation of her grandmother. The following excerpts describe Peggy so well:-

“She loved life and lived life. She made other people her business. As long as she was working on behalf of or for the good of someone else nothing was too much trouble. Her breadth of vision and depth of compassion were remarkable. She changed with the times and lived in the present with that sense of perspective that comes from building on past experiences and with the zeal that comes from hope for the future.

To some people Granny may have seemed bossy, but her motivation was always the good of someone else, whether in her beloved Orwell or halfway across the world. She was always giving people jobs, sometimes inconvenient ones, with a ‘you wouldn’t happen to be going near…?’, and yet somehow it wasn’t so bad, coming from someone who was always on the go herself. I still find it incredible that one of Granny’s famous Christmas cakes successfully reached Grandad after being air-dropped in the Burmese jungle during the second World War. She must have said, ‘Now would you mind delivering this on your way home?  Make sure Alan gets it won’t you?’

Grandad’s death was the hardest blow Granny had to bear, but after a while she picked herself up, dusted herself down and carried on with her journey.

Photo:Peggy Miller on her wedding day

Peggy Miller on her wedding day

Just ‘getting on with it’ isn’t necessarily the best solution, but it does ensure that life goes on. Granny was always getting on with it and did her best to get the rest of us to do the same.

Involvement in the campaigns to stop child prostitution and to put an end to Third World debt are not generally things associated with old ladies. Many of Granny’s achievements went unseen and couldn’t exactly be described as headline-grabbers, but on the human level her personal input into so many aspects of life was way beyond what most of us manage. She tried so hard to gather up and tie so many of the loose ends of modern life, bringing together different generations, different cultures and traditions and different religious denominations. What a wonderful life’s work! I’ll really miss my Granny.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This gallery was added by Pat Grigor on 12/11/2012.

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