NICOLETTE COTTON, born Cunliffe, who lived in Rupert Place, Henley, died two weeks ago, aged 84.
She was an inspiration to her friends, neighbours and family and an abiding example of that quality of selfless love which is the mark of a saint.
Hers is an example to follow for she combined a loving spirit with humour, a regal, gracious poise, good taste, delicacy and great care for others as well as for her husband and family.
Her work with the bereavement counselling service Cruse in Reading was one of many examples of her capacity to listen and support people in their need.
Nicolette learned the virtue of hospitality as a little girl for she was a naval captain’s daughter and when her father Bob entertained the naval cadets at Dartmouth she was expected to help. Her father’s naval career saw Nicolette and her two sisters move with their parents to South Africa and then to Canada, where she trained as a secretary.
Then she returned to England to work in the Foreign Office.
From there, she moved to Paris to work in the British Embassy from 1951 to 1954. She left to marry Robin Cotton.
Their first home was in a village in Nottinghamshire. After two years her husband’s firm needed him to move south and they settled near the famous Kew Gardens.
As Nicolette was a gifted gardener, this move must have been bliss.
The couple had two sons, Richard and Philip, and two daughters, Penelope and Caroline, and 13 grandchildren.
The Cottons moved to Rotherfield Greys in 1974 and then, seven years ago, into Henley.
Nicolette continued to exercise her great gift of hospitality and many who moved here were made welcome at the Cottons’ home where she ensured no one felt left out or un-introduced.
She did, it seemed, everything right, yet never made one feel one was doing anything wrong.
She enjoyed visiting people, including the housebound. She was involved with various charities, particularly the Mothers’ Union, and solid in her support of the church and its ministry of faith, hope and love.
A memorial service will be held at St Mary’s Church, Henley, on May 1 at 2.30pm.