I am baptised

Marjorie Frances Halliday

born: 26 October 1926

died: 31 January 2005

Eulogy by her son, Ian W Halliday, at Landican Cemetery, 8 February 2005

Tena kotou, tena kotou, tena kotou katoa.

On one hand, a sharp, intelligent and witty woman. On the other hand, someone with a child-like simplicity.

To Mum, however, the most important thing was people, and the recognition of them. She would remember birthdays and anniversaries; sometimes she was the only one who remembered such a date for somebody.

I lost count of how many copies of Now We Are Six she bought for sixth birthday presents. I have no doubt that there are some recipients here today.

When I was a teenager, struggling to find my own way in the world, Mum would generally support me in my goals, urging me to succeed. But when tensions rose, I would often ask what happened when she was a teenager. The answer was always the same: "There was a war on."

Throughout my childhood, and before, and after, the home was dominated by thoughts of the Union and the Labour Party.

Mum worked hard for the Party, as you will know, and in the early 1970s won an election in Sunlight Ward in the old Bebington Council. I remember Radio Merseyside announcing that she was the first woman councillor for Sunlight Ward.

I also remember some of the rules and policies I heard from the Planning Committee over the years.

But pushing at the boundaries and beyond was Mum throughout.

Sometimes she would start a speech with a foreign phrase, which would always catch the attention of the audience, such as the Latin motto of Bebington or the pidgin national motto of Vanuatu, just as I satrted today with a traditional Maori greeting.

Or when her first grandchild was born, she was on a cruise in Alaska. The next day, there was a Grandparents event on board the ship and she went along. I know that under normal circumstances, there was no way that she would ever have attended such a thing.

I'll be telling stories and remembering Mum for the rest of my life. Some of the things are just ridiculous: it said guide dogs only so I didn't go in because I'm not a guide dog.

But some are more serious. After the death of her mother, she said: "I was thinking: that makes me an orphan." In the same way now, a very special woman has been lost to us.

Grandmother, aunt, godmother, friend or other special place in our lives, we will all miss her. As for me, I am now an orphan.

Tena kotou, tena kotou, tena kotou katoa.

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