For those who were unable to be at Sue's funeral here are my words

I want to take you back in the distant mists of time, when trousers were unnecessarily wide, shoes were unnecessarily high and hair was unnecessarily long. Picture the nervous lad in ill-fitting grey suit and hair just long enough to pass the headmaster’s casual observance, walking purposefully across the sixth form common room to speak to this lovely girl he had been noticing from afar for some time.

“Hello – would you like to come to a Deep Purple concert with me?”

She said no!

Undaunted our hero asked her out again later and this time she said yes. Thus began 42 years of friendship, companionship, sharing, laughing, crying, fun, excitement, fulfilment and love.

Sue and I were young when we met and although we had short separations when I first went away after leaving school, we just couldn’t be apart. We were drawn back together and for some years conducted a long-distance loving relationship which involved me putting a lot of miles on my little Mini going up and down between Southampton and Derby to the tune of Radar Love by Golden Earring. How I enjoyed that drive back to Derby knowing I would be seeing her again.

However, we were married as soon as we could and thereafter grew up together passing from teenage to adulthood in a shared experience which drew us so much closer. Such happy days when we were starting our first home together down near Reading.

Later we moved to the Cambridge area and chose Foxton as our home. What a good choice that turned out to be for us. Not long after that Patrick arrived and Sue was just ecstatic at being a mother. When I went to pick her up from the Rosie she was partway through packing when she had to change a nappy. Before she could close up, Patrick fountained right into her suitcase. She was so thrilled she giggled like a teenager. It was wonderful to see her so happy.

Two years later and in the same room at the Rosie, Peter arrived and Sue had that true excitement of being a new mother yet again. Sue was a natural mother, raising our two sons with care and love. It was also about this time that her strength of character was tested to the full when I resigned from a well-paid secure job, took on borrowing we could ill-afford and launched into a new (risky) business venture. This at a time when we had a new-born baby, a large mortgage and the base rate was more like 15%. She stood by me totally and gave me the strength to make it work.

Her determination to contribute led her to do such a lot for the community in Foxton, with her activities in the Church, Sunday School, Friends of Foxton School and the Parish Council. She worked hard through that time and she was very proud of what that brought to Foxton, a legacy of Art Exhibitions, New School and Village Hall.

Of course there were the great Ranner productions so many of us were involved with. Despite being very busy with so many other things, Sue allowed herself to be embarrassed along with the rest of us for the benefit of many local good causes.

Later we moved to Malton when we began to grow our friendships in Orwell and where Sue continued to make a contribution to village life, this time working on the PCC. Later we moved to Orwell, and although it was to live in a more practical house, it was special to us to be part of this village while retaining so many good friends in Foxton.

Sue was a very competent and highly professional accountant and throughout the years had worked very hard for several companies where it was always very important to her that the job was well done. She also acquired many long standing friendships with the people she worked alongside.

Sue always loved sport, from the days when she would watch her brother Peter playing rugby at school, through to supporting our boys with their love of rugby, football, cricket and of course, golf. Latterly, she shared the challenge of being an England Cricket supporter with her good friend Nick, exchanging anguished texts as the games progressed.

Sue had a lot of strength from her faith and I am quite sure she is sitting on a well-deserved, big, comfortable, white cloud, looking down on us, making sure we get the proceedings of today just right. We have all had very clear instruction, although I hope she will forgive me for going over my allotted time.

Sue was diagnosed with MND in June of 2012, the day after her birthday. She had known in her own mind what the diagnosis would be some time before that, although I had hung on to any vestige of hope that it was something else. After a long and distressing battle with this cruel disease, Sue finally succumbed. But her strength and determination were completely evident to the end. She held on bravely until our 37th wedding anniversary.

I have often thought how much my life has been enhanced for knowing Sue and for sharing my life with hers. Life is so much richer if you can go through it side by side with someone like Sue. I consider myself very fortunate to have had the 42 years we have had, and although I will miss her very much, I can still keep forever those happy memories of our life together.

Rest in peace now my love.

I want to take this opportunity to express my thanks. The last two years have been very challenging and without the help and support of friends we would not have been able to see our way through. I would like to express my special thanks to Rosie and Hilary who have done so much for us both, and to Stella, Shirley, Alison, Caroline and the multitude of friends who dropped by for a chat and a cup of tea. This made such a huge difference to Sue.

I would also like to thank the community health care teams; the Arthur Rank Hospice, the district nurses, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, speech and language therapists and environmental controls, and especially our GP, Kate Ferrier. My personal thanks to the Carers Trust for looking after Sue so well while I was out. I would also like to express my special thanks to the carers who looked after Sue with such kindness and consideration.

Last of all, I would like to thank you all for being here today and for all your kind words. It is overwhelming to see the number of lives Sue touched through her all too short time on this earth.

The video posted on FaceBook can be accessed here on YouTube

Poem for Our Darling Sue - The Auckland Collins Tribe

Although huge distance holds us apart
You are always close and dear to our hearts
We know it’s so difficult for you at this time
And to make things worse you have to hear this crap rhyme

We remember so many great times we’ve had
They’re always good fun, never bad
You’re such an upbeat girl with a positive attitude
We want to tell you you’re great and we’re full of gratitude

There’s few people in life that influence your mind
And you’re right up there for us – so friendly and kind
You’re definitely the girls’ favourite long distance aunt
They wish they were with you, even though they can’t

Your Kiwi trip will be in our minds forever
We had loads of fun, just being family together
The boys took the children in the big van
And Thelma & Louise went off with a bang

It’s good that your boys are there caring for you
We’re so proud of everything that they do
Please think of us Kiwis alongside you in the room
Filling your time with joy and no sign of gloom

Although the long distance has always been there
It has never meant that we didn’t care
There’ve been some wonderful times when we’ve been together
That makes us laugh out loud and remember forever

We’ve had good laughs and joking around
You’re funny and warm and great to have round
You’re a sister, a treasure a gem like a pearl
A bundle of fun, a truly beautiful girl

And so it just leaves us to say our goodbyes
Our tears are welling up in our eyes
We are angry that life has dealt you this blow
And deprived us of someone we are so proud to know

The girls would love to be with you now
To hold your hand and mop your brow
To tell you we love you with all our heart
And wish that we should never part

So this is the end of my terrible rhyme
I can see you yawning – it’s about that time
To say goodbye just seems so wrong
So just remember this famous song………

Some things in life are bad
They can really make you mad
Other things just make you swear and curse
When you're chewing on life's gristle
Don't grumble, give a whistle
And this'll help things turn out for the best...

And.....always look on the bright side of life...
Always look on the light side of life...

Maple Tree
Maple Tree Planted for Sue by the Auckland Collins's

My Lovely Sue - Hilary Draper

They say friends are like kisses that angels send
Well they sent me a smacker that’s you, my friend
When we first met I could never guess
What you would bring, so much more, not less
Always there with good advice
Honest, giving and especially nice
We worked together for many years
Sharing lunch, laughter and even tears
Then for no reason you were sent a test
A dreadful disease that would faze the rest
But you bore it well never showing your pain
Although behind closed doors I’m sure it wasn’t the same
You accepted what life had thrown at you
Knowing there was little that you could do
As each month passed more of you was taken away
Month by month, then day by day
You had the best carer and that was Mark
Though sometimes he often copped the nark
He learnt to cook and be your nurse
Waiter, dresser, secretary, chauffer and worse
We always knew this time would come
We’d lose a friend, a wife and mum
But nothing prepares you for this task
To let you go is too much to ask
If we had a choice we would keep you here
Beside us all, so close and near
Talking about the boys would make you cry
I would always leave with eyes not dry
Now Patricks with Clare and Pete’s got Jess
But that still didn’t stop you from worrying less
Mark, whatever would he do
After spending so much time caring for you
You wanted to make sure that someone would care
And look after him when you were not there
So I’ve advertised for a lady that can cook
And I think I’ve found someone that fits the book
Monika from Russia appears quite keen
She loves him already or so it would seem
In her photos, an apron is all she did wear
Not sure she can cook, but then would he care!
But one thing I think you will find
He will never meet someone so lovely and kind
The task you left me I can never fulfil
No one could ever fit the bill
I can’t tell you how proud to have called you my friend
And to have been with you till the very end
And I know for sure I can never forget
You, lovely Sue, forever you bet!
Hilary xx

From Nick Palmer who shared Sue's love of sport

This is to a lovely Lady,
the only one that I have known
who could discuss the offside rule
and who liked nothing better
than to watch a test match unravel, so:
When the day is done and the ball has spun,
in the umpire’s pocket away,
and all that remains is the groundsman’s plans
for the rest of time and a day
When an old cricketer leaves the crease,
you never know whether she’s gone
And it could be me, but it was thee
And so was the sting in the tale
When the moment comes and the gathering stands
and the clock turns back to reflect
On the years of grace as those footsteps trace
for the last time out of the act
If sometimes you’re catching a fleeting glimpse
of a twelfth man at silly mid–off
If only life was always like Cricket
Over after over, sadly Sue was bowled out too early
Without playing her final wicket
When an old cricketer leaves the crease,
you never know whether she’s gone
The pain won’t last forever
but the memories will

From Margaret Mead, dear friend

Lovely Sue

Twenty seven years ago Batman and Robin (alias Patrick and Peter) bounded into my house followed by you Sue -- their lovely Mum. You Loved them to bits and you told me "Boys are great" as our children jumped off the stairs as super heroes! That day was the start of a truly lovely friendship with you Mark and the boys that I will always treasure.

Our children became such good friends as did we and I am so grateful to them for bringing us together. We shared Pre-school days together, parties and happy days at Bleakhouse. Our boys were great at making mud ponds, painting floors green and making dens out of bales, memories I hope they will treasure as we do. I am so pleased to know that our children are still the best of friends. I think they all turned out as great as you said they were, definitely children to be proud of.

Our friendship grew and grew, we spent lovely days organising charity balls, enjoying dinner dances as well as celebrating our birthdays and New Year in Cornwall. And the best times of all on our annual old folks trips to Ilkley, Dublin, Paris, Derby and Lincoln and lots more, good friends sharing good times together. Such special times x

Dear Sue we will miss you so very very much. Thank you for all the lovely times we have had together and for the truly lovely friendship we have. I know our children will always stay friends as we will and I promise to help look after your lovely Mark.

Rest in peace Sue, we love you x

All our love Mag, and Peter xxx

From Tricia and Norman Maydon, more dear friends

I wanted to say something about our dear friend Sue, I know there will of been many people already that will of said that Sue was one of life's nicest people, she always welcomed you with a smile, always pleased to see you, she was great fun too, remember the dinner party when we ate Radom insects and unusual meat who else would of thought of that, then your 40th birthday bash in the village hall what a great night was had by all, how about News year day after a night of drinking playing hockey Sue managed to hit Norman with the stick broke his nose, Alison sprung into action put it back in place, said that was all they would do at the hospital any way, even this is a happy and funny memory, because when with Sue you would always see the funny side of things and the most amazing thing of all for all of us friends she put on a brave face and remained all of these things to the end she even said to me just two weeks before she died when she was so weak and in pain, when I said to her, don't worry Sue if you are too tired to talk I will massage your hands and you can have a sleep, she said thank you but I feel rude, even then she was thoughtful of me.

Diana's and my birthdays will never be the same again without our dear friend Sue we have celebrated them together for at least 20 years, but we will be sure to raise a glass or two and remember all the good times together.

With love from Tricia and Norman

From Louise Rose and family, long term friends

Sue and I first met when I began babysitting for her boys and that must have been over 20yrs ago. After the boys grew up we stayed in touch because Sue became a friend. She always was there to talk to, to listen, to help, to care and to have fun with. I have many happy memories of the times we spent with each other, from messing around when I was younger to me becoming a mum and Sue becoming Susie Sue. Susie Sue was a surrogate auntie to Emily and Benjamin, she always made time to see us and remembered them both at Christmas and on their birthdays. They remember playing games with her, going out for lunch, playing hide and seek and chatting about football!

Susie Sue was an inspirational lady, when she first told me she had MND she was more worried about me being upset then herself. She was a trooper who always saw the good in every situation, when she had a wheelchair with pink spokes I made sure I wore my pink DM's so we matched. This made us both giggle and so I would wear pink shoes when I came round. The time I made fish finger sandwiches comes to mind as that was yet another fun afternoon with Susie Sue. I am so glad We knew Susie Sue and that my children had her in their lives, they have lost a wonderful role model but I know we will remember her always.

With all our love, Lou, Matt, Emily and Benji xxx=