Devoted St Albans couple’s double funeral

THE DOUBLE funeral of a couple who had been married for 55 years was held last Friday at SS Alban and St Stephen Church.

Grahame and Patricia Alwin died just 17 days apart after almost a lifetime together. Friends and family gathered to celebrate the life of a beloved couple who had contributed greatly to the lives of so many.

Patricia was 84 when she died on February 11 at her home in Batchwood Gardens where she had spent all of her married life and made a home for her family. She suffered a fall on December 14 and was admitted to the QEII Hospital. Returning home mid-January, the mother of two was noticeably frailer and too weak to stand.

Just a week after her fall, Patricia’s 86-year-old husband, who was suffering from Alzheimer’s, also took a fall and was admitted to the QEII on December 21. He remained in hospital until he died on February 28.

Their daughter, Jo Rhodes, said that losing one parent was hard but to lose them both was truly devastating. She said: “And yet, it seems quite fitting that they have gone together, that they won’t be apart, after sharing so much of their lives.”

During the service, both Jo and her brother Nic led tributes to their parents. Jo praised her father’s selflessness and dedication to his family, his work and to others.

He was a prominent figure in the local Cub Scout movement, leading St Albans 15th pack for 20 years before retiring. He also cycled to Paris on one occasion, raising thousands of pounds for the Hospice of St Francis. In his later years, Grahame also drove the elderly in a community ambulance.

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Nic told those gathered about his unassuming mother who had held the family together with a quiet strength that he hoped would inspire them all in the coming years as it had done during her life.

The service also included moving self-penned tributes from Grahame and Patricia’s four grandchildren, aged between eight and 24.

The family have asked those wishing to make a donation to do so at the Alzheimer’s Society.