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Mabyn Beard

Mabyn passed away at home on Monday 6th December 2021, aged 90 years.
She will be deeply missed by everyone who knew her.

messages of condolence

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  1. It was not the last time I saw Mum but in July this year I spent 8 days in isolation at 15 Alexandra St. with her. It was a week in which we played many games of Upwords, pottered in her beloved garden and just generally caught up with each other’s news of friends and family. Despite a number of physical disabilities and of course pandemic restrictions, she was very content living independently in her own house & garden. With hindsight, the compulsion to isolate there has provided me with a cherished memory of my independent, strong-minded Mum. Rest in peace.

    Anna Beard
  2. Dear Jackie, Anna and Bronwen,

    I was so sorry to hear the sad news. I have so many lovely memories of Mabyn — I always admired her acerbic wit. She was just so much fun to be around. We all loved her. I’ll be lighting a candle and thinking of Mabyn and all of you today.

    Love and best wishes,


    Ellen Harvey
  3. Dear Bronwen and Jackie

    First at all: Please excuse my english expression.
    What a pity that this etraordinary stron women passed away.
    We had the opportunity to get to know her at the wedding in Costa Rica.
    She has been a funny and interesting person.
    We will light a candel at home for her way to the next station.
    Our best wishes to all of you

    Hans and Kiki

    Hans Albrecht und Kristin Christern
  4. Dear Bron, Anna and Jackie,

    I’m so sad that Mabyn is no longer among us. Mabyn was one of the few people, outside of my immediate family, who I have known almost my entire life. I always felt welcome at her home and very much enjoyed the time we spent together. I am very sad I will not be able to see her again or hear her laugh.

    I will always fondly remember all of the play dates at your house in Todber, where Mabyn would let us run wild and then let us eat a bar of chocolate for supper, the time we rolled decorated Easter eggs down Ham Hill when Mabyn wore the most amazing Easter hat, her visit to Milwaukee for Matty and Rob’s wedding where she was such a proud grandmother (showing off Jake and his chubby cheeks to everyone), the time we did a mother-daughter trip in Costa Rica (with Mabyn, Bron, and Mum) and the sight of Mabyn desperately holding onto her large floppy hat to avoid it blowing away as we walked down the dirt road to San Luis, the fact that Mabyn came to Costa Rica a second time for my wedding (despite not being keen to travel) and participated in all of the wedding festivities (including my ‘despedida’), happily mingling with the diverse set of Costa Rica, German, English and American guests, and the last time when we saw her in Marnhull when I finally was able to introduce her to the twins (Emily and Daniel).

    When I think of these (and many more) happy memories, I always imagine Mabyn with a twinkle in her eye and a mischievous smile on her face. She was always so friendly and kind – to me and everyone else- and had such an unexpected sense of humor. She will be sorely missed by all, but we will continue to hold her in our hearts and memories.

    Love, Celia

    Celia Harvey
  5. As I sit and think about Mabyn I remember her independence and strength of character, her dry humour, her intelligence, her straightforwardness and her non conformity. When my children were small my own mother sadly wasn’t there to give me advice and support but whenever we saw Mabyn she made me feel I was doing a good job. Thank you Mabyn. A unique soul, a life well lived.
    Love Caroline

    Caroline Proctor
  6. With the passing of a generation one’s thoughts are of sadness and endings. However, reading the comments below has brought the real Mabyn back, which we had lost sight of recently. It brought back a flood of happy childhood memories at Kenanga, especially of family meals, brother and sister reunited, and us all crammed around the lunch table. Mabyn’s dedication to family and interest in ours will ever be appreciated and remembered.

    Linda Carter-Jackson
  7. With memories of many hours of happy bridge playing with Mabyn over the past 15 years both at the U3A club and in members homes.
    She told us of her 90th birthday meal, eating fish and chips sitting on a wall by the sea in Weymouth. She told us about the book of memories given by her daughters, also on her 90th birthday. She was very happy with both of these.
    Mabyn once corrected my spelling! I was putting an extra l in Pavilion. As we played bridge in the Woodhouse Pavilion in Blandford it was a word that I wrote quite often.
    I was grateful for that.

    Mrs Jean Palmer
  8. Dear Jackie, Anna and Bron

    It’s a long time since I’ve seen Mabyn. Biddy and I had a pub lunch with her a few years ago but I’ve been in touch more recently with birthday greetings. I hadn’t realised how ill she has been and I’m very sorry to have lost contact with the last of our Reynolds cousins. It would be lovely to meet any of you three sometime. If you have a memorial Meeting for her later in the year I would do my best to be with you.

    Sending love to you all

    Alie Johnson
  9. Dear Jackie, Anna & Bronwen,
    This is my second attempt to let you know how desolate I feel now that Mabyn has forever gone from our lives. It is hard to write something so final. She was an anchor and a model for me in so many ways, by making me feel welcome in Marnhull when hardly anybody would speak to this foreigner and by restoring my faith in your country when she alone among my English friends and acquaintances voted against Brexit.
    We have known each other since the 1970’ies when I first met Mabyn as the undisputed ‘queen of the jam tarts’ at the Marnhull Playgroup. I’ll forever remember Mabyn standing in a throng of 3 and 4-year olds who were all competing to stir the dough or to lick the wooden spoon. She really enjoyed the mayhem around her and would come to help out at the playgroup even after she had moved to Blandford.
    Once Celia and Bron had found each other at school, we became really close friends. there were so many similarities between us: we both had three daughters, had studied similar topics at the London School of Economics, our husbands were both called David, we loved gardening and had the same opinions on all manner of topics, including politics.
    Over the years we shared the joy of seeing our girls do well at school, but also getting into all sorts of mischief, like “grotty-spotting”, sleeping in the most outlandish places (cardboard boxes, the tumble-down shed, or among the creepy-crawlys in the garage).When Mabyn opened her house to one of my many distant relatives (Dorothee Christern), her apparent knowledge of old English customs was limitless. She dragged all of us up Hambledon Hill for the supposedly traditional Easter Egg Roll. She egged the girls on to walk to the Stour river in dead silence in the early morning hours – all for the sake of future beauty – and made them thaw out in a hot mustard bath.
    Once we had moved to the USA, Mabyn was one of the main draws that kept us coming back year after year to spend the summer at Arlington House. Invariably Mabyn had found a new garden or sculpture park to visit. We walked along Old Harry Rocks at Swanage, drove to distant Rosemoor in Devon and even wen on a helicopter ride to the Scilly Isles. and with Jackie’s help we tested many a pub, though that might have been for my benefit rather than hers.

    To the best of my knowledge Mabyn flew across the Atlantic three times for various Harvey family events. The most memorable trip was our double mother/daughter adventure in Costa Rica, where Bron and Mabyn linked up with Celia and myself. No matter how hot it was, how heavily the rain pelted us or how primitive the accommodation was, Mabyn relished the undeveloped country, while I was missing my hot showers. As we were heading out to go on a boat ride at Tortuguero in the teaming warm rain, all of us in yellow rain capes, we ran into an English speaking gentleman on the elevated boardwalk between our cabins. He turned out to be the son of Leonard Bernstein – and Mabyn had instant rapport with him over his father’s music.

    For Matty’s wedding in Milwaukee she came early to help the nervous mother-in-law-to-be. thanks to her gardening skills we managed to create little topiary ponies that the bride had requested – only occasionally questioning the sanity of it all. Her main focus was grandson Jake though, who seemed set on crawling into our shallow water feature, in his Sunday best of course.

    Celia’s wedding, the third occasion, was a bit of a repeat of our earlier trip to Costa Rica. Only this time Mabyn was bemoaning every bit of progress in the country. Uncharacteristically she turned into a bit of a romantic in the sense that she doubted the necessity of constant growth to improve people’s lives. Mostly though she was a beaming and happy grandmother, until little Adam (grandson) had that mishap where he stabbed his father’s hand by accident.

    Then there was the radio. Channel 4 or the BBC World Service were her constant companions. They kept her on her toes regarding world events, but also helped her to sleep. So in the evenings when I listed to the BBC World Service over here in the US, I was always reassured that Mabyn was listening/sleeping to the same program in Blandford. When I received my dual citizenship in the US – just in time to vote against Mr. Trump – Mabyn commented wryly that all her life she had not voted for a winning candidate yet.

    Now she never will!

    I will forever miss her saucy cards and our happy conversations over the cross Atlantic phone or over some weak tea or strong Pimm’s in her garden. When we talked about her upcoming 90th birthday, Mabyn joked that this year it really would be on the 24th of October (her wedding anniversary which I had often mixed up with her birthday). She was happy that Bron would be released from her chosen quarantine in Finland and that all her family would be together for the celebration. She was joking about all the Covid-related complications, but cheerful. Her wit never left her.

    Mabyn is a hard act to follow: elegant, when she wanted to be, yet very down-to-earth too. She was caring and considerate to a fault. She could be reserved and quiet, but offered strong opinions, if one bothered to ask. And a perfectionist in her garden!

    Mabyn was my best friend in England and I will miss her friendship for the rest of my life (“possibly not for long then”, she might have said).

    Now rest in peace my friend,

    Margarete Harvey
  10. I was so sorry to hear the sad news – Lovely Mabyn never failed to entertain me from the first day I met her at Marnhull Playgroup in 1974. Her superb wit – and often advice – was second to none.
    Until we meet again I send you my love. Always June


Service Details

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