It is not possible to do justice to Ann in 500 words. This piece includes only the bare bones of fact along with some apposite quotations and comments supplied by her partner Reg Wright, brother Ian Harper and sister Christine Skeats (Harper).
Ann was born on Thursday 8th May 1958 at Queen Mary's hospital in the Eastend of London. As this is “within the sound of Bow bells” she was a true Cockney and remained proud of this throughout her life.
Ann died on Monday 3rd February 2014 at five o'clock in the afternoon; quietly at home with Reg in Leigh-on-Sea.
She was educated at infant school in Stratford, Monega Road junior school, Sarah Bonnel grammar school and Laindon High Road comprehensive school.
Ann lived in: Seven Kings, London; Forest Gate, London; Basildon, Essex; Laindon, Essex; and for her last 23 years in Leigh-On-Sea, Essex.
Ann had many talents and her hobbies included; Dancing (ballet), Playing the oboe (and practising the saxophone), Reading, throughout her entire life, Knitting, Playing darts, Sewing (including cross stitch), Quizzing (as a very successful contestant), Films & TV, and everything related to them, from long before she was born, The Music of David Bowie, Pink Floyd, Madness and many others (occasionally live). Holidaying, mainly in Greece. Real Ale (as a member of HASSRALE).
She played the oboe on Friday 19th March 1971 as part of the “Newham Goes To Town” Concert at London's Royal Festival Hall and was proud of this stage appearance which she hoped to repeat in retirement.
She worked at several agency jobs such as, Avon, Sylvan Eve, Charisma as well as for large employers such as Access (Mastercard). Most of her working life was with National Government as part of the Civil Service. Laterly she was responsible for International Education Programmes. Despite visiting 10 Downing Street, being invited to foreign embassies, travelling abroad and making presentations at many schools, where she was always well-liked and respected, she was very modest about her achievements and spoke little of them.
To prove her professionalism Ann studied for and, on 17th April 1998, obtained Membership of the Institute of Personnel and Development
“A wondrous thing a dolphin blue,
But no more wonderful than you.
That you may know and others see,
Accept this dolphin ring from me.”
Reg Wright On our 10th Anniversary 27th August 2001. (With a gold ring comprising ten circling dolphins with sapphire eyes.)
“My Dearest Darling Ann, we had a good little life and I miss you so very much. You will be remembered not just by today's ceremony but in our hearts and minds, in our thoughts, memories, photographs and conversations. While ever your star (Lyra RA 18h 59m 28.55s D 35° 27' ) shines.”
Reg Wright Order Of Cremation Ceremony 17th February 2014.
“All I would like to say is that I could not have wished for a better sister and auntie / great auntie for my children / grandchildren. She was the best and we were very lucky to have her in our lives. It probably goes without saying but we loved her dearly and the void she leaves can never be filled.
Ann meant the world to us xxx.”
Christine Harper As part of the eulogy 17th February 2014.
“…..we are part of nature, built of the same stuff as stars....Our protons and neutrons have been around since the earliest times, glued together into heavy elements in the nuclear furnaces of long-dead ancient suns, blasted out into the universe and re-sculpted from diffuse interstellar dust clouds by the gentle hand of gravity. ….When the pattern of atoms known as you ceases to be, the building blocks will return to the voids of space and in a billion years or more they may take their place in another structure so beautiful that a future mind may perceive it to be the work of a god.”
Brian Cox The Large Hadron Collider: A Scientific Creation Story.
Ann took early retirement in 2011. She did not live to learn to play the saxophone (though she did manage the opening notes of Yellow Submarine), develop her cooking abilities, undertake voluntary work or write her novel as she had hoped.
Everything is summed up by Ann's brother, Ian
“Just say I loved her”