Betty Marrable
  • 81 years old
  • Date of birth: Jan 26, 1935
  • Place of birth:
    Sheffield, United Kingdom
  • Date of passing: Apr 12, 2016
  • Place of passing:
    Spalding, United Kingdom
"You gotta love livin' baby, 'cause dying is a pain in the ass" - Sinatra.


These words speak perfectly of how Betty Marrable lived her life and how she dealt with the final weeks of her life, before she passed away on the afternoon of Tuesday, 12th April, at the age of 81.

Betty is survived by her husband George, her son Steven, and her grandchildren Adam, Stacey, Adele, Danny and Teide.

Betty Sheldon was born in Sheffield, where she lived with her brothers Gilbert and Sid, and went to school in Tinsley. In 1951 she moved to Camberwell Green in London and in 1952 she met George, who had just left the army. And by just, we mean, two days! George was a local boy and of course had never met Betty before - when he asked his friend who this new girl was, he was told ‘She’s stuck up! She doesn’t have anything to do with us!’

But a couple of days later, George saw Betty on her own whilst she was walking to work, and introduced himself - he took a shine to her and asked her on a date. He took her to the West End and Hyde Park, and from that moment onwards they were inseparable. It was Betty and George.

On 19th March, 1955, they married in St Giles Church in Camberwell Green - Betty had one bridesmaid, Maureen, and George’s best man was Burt Keeling. After the ceremony they had a spread put on at Betty’s mothers house, and that evening, they spent the night at the Strand Palace Hotel in London. The next day they took a train up north for their honeymoon. 

They lived in their first flat on Norman Court in London until 1961, when they sold it for £3500, having bought it for £1500! They then moved to Greenwich, and lived there for 32 years. By the time they moved, they already had a son, Steven, and soon after moving, their second boy Andrew was born. She was a fiercely loyal mother, the best. She wasn’t just ‘the kind of mum who would cook school dinners so she could keep an eye on her boys’ - that is exactly what she did!

In 1994, she and George moved to Spalding, where they remained and enjoyed many wonderful times with friends and family, including Joan and Terry, and Jean, who were as much family anyway.

By then, their first grandchild, Adam, had come along, followed by Stacey, the first girl to be born in the family in generations, then another came along - Adele, before Danny, and another girl, Teide. Betty adored all her grandchildren, she supported them in everything they did and would always show off about them all because she was so proud. Over the years they, like Steven and Andy before them, all wore some of her knitware - she was a great knitter who had boxes full of every colour wool you can imagine

When Andy was diagnosed with cancer in 2015, and then passed away later in the year, Betty was supportive and by his side until he passed away. At that point, she herself had taken ill, and it was suspected she had cancer, but she delayed treatment until she had taken care of her son, which sums up the kind of mother she was, even at 81.

This is the story of what she did, but not the story of who she was. She was far from the stuck up girl George had been warned about. She had worked from leaving school, at British Oxygen in Sheffield.

She was house proud, passionate about gardening and cooking. She liked all flowers, though her favourites were freesias - she would potter around her garden all year, and watch her garden bloom in the summer whilst she sat on the back with a g&t. She’d make her own picked onions and piccalilli - it would blow your head off! No trip to Betty’s would end with an empty stomach, and even after treating her guests to a three course meal, the pantry still appeared to be impossibly packed! She enjoyed her holidays - she and George explored much of France, and even after the boys came along, she went to Canada, by herself, to spend some time with George’s sister!

The Frank Sinatra lyrics at the top aren’t just a coincidence; she was a big fan of his, and went to see him five times - she went with George to see him at the Royal Albert Hall.

She was the most fiercely loyal and stubborn person, in a completely positive way, you could wish to meet. The stereotypical matriarch, the head of the family. When Betty and George celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in 2015, they received a telegram from the Queen - but it was suggested to Betty that, as the queen of her own family, maybe she ought to send a telegram back!

No matter the distance, she made sure that she kept involved with the life of her family, with regular visits, phone calls, and as time progressed and technology developed, emails and even Facebook. 

She passed away showing the kind of stubbornness that we’ve all come to know and love; though desperately sad, she was determined to live out her final days at home, and anyone who knew Betty well would tell you that once she had made up her mind, nobody was going to change it. 

She was very much a larger than life character, the kind of person who imposed her presence on others around her, not necessarily through what she did, but who she was and what she stood for. Or, as the case often turned out to be, what she didn’t stand for! So, to say she will be missed is a huge understatement, but it’s also fair to say that she will live on through her legend, not only told in stories that will be passed down, but in the family values that she represented and taught.

Her funeral will be held at South Lincolnshire Crematorium at 2pm on Tuesday May 3rd. All are welcome.

The wake will be held afterwards at the Mermaid Inn in Spalding, and again, all are welcome.

Family flowers only - a donation box will be at the crematorium, with donations to be made to St Barnabas Hospice.

We will remember her forever.  

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This memorial is administered by:

Stacey Barton


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