Friday, July 30, 2021

Pamela Gonsalves: The final farewell

It is with great sadness that I stand before you today to bid a final farewell to my dear sister Pam. Along with her dear devoted husband Donald, and daughters Shirley and her family and Aileen, we mourn her sudden passing which was such a shock to us all. Today we look back on Pam!s legacy, with fond memories of her zest for life, tremendous energy and inspiring character.

She was the eldest of 3 children born in Nairobi, Kenya and throughout commanded the role of the elder one, not only with her 2 siblings, but with friends and relatives alike. She trained as a teacher in Kenya and was greatly respected and admired. In the early 1960s she self-funded a PE course in Eastbourne and returned with special qualifications for swimming and physical education.

When she returned, she taught in rural schools in Kenya When she had to leave the country and come to England in the 1970s, she discovered, despite her ample qualifications she had to re-train to UK standards . However, with two young children, in a new country following the Kenya exodus, she was unable to work in the profession she loved.

When the girls had left university and started their careers Pam continued with her studies as a mature student at Middlesex University. After which she was able to return to the classroom as a teacher, a role which she thrived in. She focused on specialist teaching for those with additional learning needs. Pam was very much into justice, equality and fairness in all her undertakings and these are attributes she practiced and imparted by example to all especially her family.

During her time in England she has lived and worked in different places, quickly accommodating and integrating with local communities especially with charitable organisations. She worked tirelessly seeking donations and collections for sales, dances and teas for worthy causes. In the last year Pam helped support her mission for poor and vulnerable in Croydon as well as a health care centre in Kenya. She fundraised for a project that took her, Shirley and 10 young British students out to rural Kenya to help build a classroom in a rural Christian school for girls.

Pam continued to raise awareness on development issues volunteering in the education wings for CAFOD and Christian Aid. As part of her studies in development at Middlesex Pam spent a year studying and teaching in a rural part of China. Pam was popular amongst both students and staff at the teacher training college where she was placed.

As an environmental activist she played an important role in the UK activities of the Save Goa Campaign attempting successfully to stop illegal mineral extraction . She led a very active lifestyle, tirelessly helping others with shopping, organising events and classes. Most recently leading morning exercises here in Whittington College. She had a "Midas touch! when it came to creativity, crafting magnificent giant flowers to adorn my own wedding backdrop.

Her eye for detail and immense artistry produced a breathtakingly beautiful marquee for Aileen!s wedding which wove in hints of Goa and Newbury alike. At Shirley!s Goa wedding, Pam masterminded the decoration, weaving local Goan traditions and cuisine with international tastes and she co-ordinated the travel, accommodation and itineraries for friends attending from around the world. Her love for her family was boundless and her pride for them, exceptional. Although a strong and determined woman, she leaned on Donald for support and assistance. They were a great team and great life partners, keeping each other young and active especially most recently through walks and croquet. Pam never missed a performance or play that Aileen was involved in. She and Don would travel across the country to attend performances from the caves of Devon, castles in Kent to the Barbican.

Pam would use her seamstress skills to mend costumes and take up garments for theatre productions. She kept her children on her toes and even into adulthood reminded Aileen to keep her curls light, and her nails neat. Aileen!s last exchange was a WhatsApp photo of perfectly manicured nails. Pam would have been tickled! Pam was justly proud of her grandson Xavier who has a special place in her heart. She, watched and marvelled as he grew, his charm, intelligence and character. She was keenly looking forward to him spending a week with them this summer and planning activities that would nurture and further strengthen the strong bonds they and Donald, forged together.

As the world moved to a virtual platform last year, sometimes forgetting to mute her mic on Zoom, Pam kept up with technology in order to connect with her family for fun family chats and quizzes and also to participate in Aileen’s productions.

She was a very keen golfer, and captained the team when she lived in Newbury, won prizes and played outdoors in all kinds weather, undeterred by rain, sleet and snow. She still kept her golfing kit handy behind the door, just in case! There have been scores of remembrance cards, phone calls and condolence messages from friends across the world, recollecting her relationships in different parts of the world. All incredulous with disbelief at her passing. But as we mourn our loss, I must explain that this outcome is what she would have wanted. She was not one to tolerate ill health in herself.

Donald was a devoted husband to Pam, caring for her and her Mother Mabel in an understated manner. She was fortunate to have Donald, supportive, caring and conscientious in enabling her to accomplish all she wanted to do. She knew she could rely on him regardless of the plan she had in mind. He was lovingly chided and coerced along, and he never faltered.

Donald, we know you are in pain and feel your immense loss, but we all know she will always be a guardian angel by your side. You have your 2 daughters, son in law and grandson to give you comfort. You have myself and my family as well as scores of dear friends and neighbours to look out for you. Pam’s last day on Earth was industrious, hectic and involved flower arranging, church visits and reaching out to others. It was a happy and productive day. One of her finest. This is a sure sign of divine intervention. Indeed, she loved it here at Whittington, and Donald would often overhear her saying on the phone that ‘this place is like being in heaven!

For now, we can only grieve with you Donald and family and ourselves be comforted because she was such a good person, kind, caring and spiritual, that she is in Heaven, along with her sister, mother and father. They are there interceding on our behalf to enable us to bear this great loss and sorrow.

So dear Pam: “Farewell”.

(Delivered by Pam’s brother Cajie Moniz)




1 comment:

  1. Enjoined Pam's company in Aldona during our extended vacations in Goa.



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