Wednesday, 10 August 2022

'Perfect hostess' remembered at thanksgiving service

A THANKSGIVING service was held for a Hambleden woman described as “the perfect corporate hostess”.

A THANKSGIVING service was held for a Hambleden woman described as “the perfect corporate hostess”.

Mildred “Millie” Palmer passed away peacefully her at home at Burrow Farm on June 25, aged 85.

Her ashes were spread around a sugar maple tree in the family’s arboretum that was planted to mark her golden wedding anniversary in 2000. The tree is native to Alabama, where she was born.

More than 250 people attended the service at the Church of St Mary the Virgin in Hambleden on Thursday last week.

They included David Palmer, her husband of 65 years, and two of three daughters, Katie Bentley and Melanie Rendall.

Her other daughter, author Alice Parsons, was unable to attend as she was caring for her sick son in Australia but was represented by her daughter Kate.

Mr Palmer was chairman of insurance brokers Willis Faber. He served as high sheriff of Buckinghamshire in 1992/93 and remains a deputy lieutenant.

The service was presided over by Rev Jeremy Mais, associate priest of the Hambleden Valley Group of Churches, and Rev Carol Kimberley.

Hymns included Lord Of All Hopefulness, Who Would True Valour See and Mine Eyes Have Seen The Glory.

Readings were given by Mrs Bentley and Mrs Rendall and Mrs Palmer’s sister Nancy O’Neal.

Mrs Rendall read a memoir to her mother. She talked about her life growing up in Alabama and how she met Mr Palmer when on a visit to England. She was then 19 and he was 22. “He took his chance,” said Mrs Rendall. “They were engaged within three months and married 363 days later.

“She was brave and never complained. She will be remembered for her warm face, wonderful sense of humour, generosity and, above all, her smile. She was fun, she was Millie.”

Lord Carrington, a long-time friend of the Palmers, also paid tribute.

He said: “Beautiful, elegant, poised. This is how we all remember Millie. I remember while our families were on holiday together in America and our luggage was lost. All we had was what we were wearing. Despite this, Millie stayed graceful throughout and never complained. She remained calm and capable.

“She was great to be with, interested and interesting. We are lucky to have known her.” The Hambleden Valley Choir sang Make Me A Channel Of Your Peace.

Towards the end of the service Mrs Palmer’s granddaughter Kinvara Bentley read a poem called Late Night Thoughts that was written by Mr Palmer while his wife was in hospital.

There was also a reading by five of her grandchildren, Max Rendall, Cordelia Bentley, Olivia Bentley, Athena Bentley and Edward Bentley, called “Granny-isms”, where they talked about their memories of Mrs Palmer and her legacy.

After the service guests were invited to Burrow Farm barn and gardens for light refreshments.

There was a collection with the proceeds shared between Hambleden Save Our Churches Fund and the Buckinghamshire Community Fund.

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