Tribute to woman who gave heart and soul to her community
THE life of well-loved Pimlico resident Betty Fernance, who cycled until she was 80, played tennis for 76 years and raised a different flag on her home flagpole every day, has been celebrated at a funeral service in West Ballina.
Aged 92, Betty was remembered for her warm heart and as an indefatigable supporter for charity and the Pimlico community.
She passed away on November 21 at Crowley Village in Ballina.
Yesterday family and friends - some who had travelled from as far away as Singapore - came together and remembered her zest for life.
Born Betty Ryder in 1924, she grew up on a dairy farm and lived her whole life in the Lismore area.
Her son Barry, 66, said she met her husband Eric who predeceased her, at a dance when she 15.
"They went to dances through the war years, and she was involved involved in the Red Cross and War Service Fund," he said.
"After dad died, she still had my nine-year-old sister so she had to go to work and was on the domestic staff at the Ballina District Hospital."
There she worked and saved hard to pay off a new house.
"She did not like debt so every cent she paid off as quickly she could, I am so proud of her," Barry said.
Barry said his mum really believed in supporting the community and was always busy helping others.
"Mum co-founded the Pimlico Charitable Organisation, helped fund the Westpac rescue helicopter and raised money for the coast guard," he said.
"They would have 12 fundraising events a year at the local hall, 11 for charities and one for the Pimlico hall upkeep.
"She always had a green thumb and grew up around an orchard.
"For her charity work she grew fruit and vegetables which she sold to raise funds."
Mrs Fernance was also renowned for her her flagpole and the amazing collection of flags and pennants she would fly.
"She had a flag collection of different nations, birthday flags, one for Pimlico and a Christmas flag," Barry recalled.
"Whenever anyone flew overseas their first duty was to bring her home a flag."
Barry recalled her deft touch with gardening, cooking and making a house a home.
A genuine love of people saw her retain a zest for the life right up until the end, Barry said.
"Mum really cared about people and was thrilled by her grandchildren and great grandchildren," he said.
"She always welcome people into her home, there was always a welcoming cup of tea and freshly baked scones and her Christmas card list was astronomical."
Mrs Fernance was also well known because of her long association with The Northern Star through her interest in recording rain statistics which were published in this newspaper.
"She kept rain figures from the 1960s and was the local rain recorder and historian and people rang her from all over the country," he said.