Anne Lake had expressed her determination to receive her telegram from the Queen but, sadly, she passed away this month, in her 99th year. Her funeral took place at Bobbing crematorium, on December 19th, 2016.

Brian’s wife, Sandra, taught at the same school as Anne’s daughter, Margaret, and her husband, Mike, some fifty years ago. The ladies had babies around the same time and all our children know each other - the families go way back. It was in Anne’s 87th year that Anne introduced Brian to bowls, at Chatham, and with the realisation (that following winter) that she was losing her sight it was in June, 2005, that Brian took her along to the Blind Bowling Group, where she continued to bowl, until 2011, and still coming on our annual holidays, till 2014. In 2013, at Great Yarmouth, when a carpet was laid in the hotel basement for short mat, she tried that format for the first time, enjoyed it - and even entered the competition we ran. That was two weeks after her 95th birthday.

Brian recalled the first holiday, as Rochester Blind Bowlers, staying at Llandudno, 2009. Bella (who had baked a birthday cake for Anne - who would celebrate her 91st birthday that week) charged Brian with keeping it safe on the long journey, which included switching coaches at that massive interchange off the M25. He still remembers, vividly, Bella’s frequent checks –‘That cake alright?’ en route, but it was worthwhile as the hotel waiting staff brought in the cake on her birthday and made a big fuss of her. The cake had kept both its shape and its splendid taste.

Anne took part, a number of years ago, in a project where individuals recorded reminiscences of their lives; the tapes are in a national archive. Mike kept copies and Anne’s funeral told the story of what many of us knew to be a remarkable life, but added many layers, and it was punctuated by Anne’s own words - as extracts from the tapes were played.

Anne was widowed at 56 and bowling with Chatham Bowls Club became a big part of her life, so she was a very experienced bowler, when she joined the Blind Group - at the age of 87. With his knowledge of both periods, Brian was asked, by the family, to say a few words.

Anne stayed in her own home until the spring of this year, closing in on 98, but then she found a very comfortable place, at Pembroke House, for her final months. Many of the current members of our Group will have had only a brief overlap with Anne’s period of active membership, but Brian kept in touch - as an old family friend. Some of us knew her very well and will remember her with great affection.