The Strawberry Tea in June was such a happy afternoon with many residents and staff enjoying the sunshine in the Rose Garden with a delicious tea - and, of course, Birtley home-grown strawberries. Mrs Coe so enjoyed the occasion that she suggested to her son, Raymond, that it would be a lovely idea to hold a similar tea in her memory for all her friends at Birtley, when the time came.
Mrs Coe was a keen fund-raiser for several charities - in particular Fight for Sight and the Brooke Hospital for Animals which assists working donkeys and horses. Following her husband's death Mrs Coe started making greetings cards which she sold to raise funds for the charities. The card making continued for the rest of her life and she raised between £500-£600 every year!
Mrs Coe moved to Birtley Mews in 2007 and then moved to a West Wing Apartment for the last 18 months of her life. During that time she continued making cards and started supporting the Birtley House Community Fund, administered by the Community Foundation for Surrey and over her years at Birtley raised thousands of pounds.
Among other local charities and community groups supported by the Community Foundation are the GAMBIT group of blind and partially sighted who Mrs Coe was always keen to chat to when they came to events at Birtley and every year they invited her to join them, as their guest, at their Christmas lunch.
Mrs Coe would have loved the memorial tea in the Rose Garden today. Blessed with a sunny afternoon, the many residents heard a short talk by Raymond on Mrs Coe's life which was followed by a delicious Raspberry Tea. Special guests were Wendy Varcoe from the Community Foundation for Surrey and Barbara Keene, representing the GAMBIT group. Many thanks to Raymond and his wife Lillian, for such a special afternoon - Mrs Coe would have approved.