Memories of Cindy

Cathy Holman and Chris Hughes wrote this wonderful piece about Cindy for the Meeting Book of Memories.

Cindy Tarrant

It was a real gift and a pleasure in our lives to have been a friend of Cindy Tarrant.

Cindy was born on the 9th of October 1961, the middle daughter of Pat and Maurice. Her sister, Jayne was 2 years older and Mandy 4 years younger. Cindy lived in a house by the sea, which her father had built and her love of the sea remained with her throughout her life. Cindy cycled 4 miles daily to her primary school and moved onto secondary in Chichester. She attended two sixth forms in order to study for the A levels she was most interested in. Cindy always enjoyed sewing and knitting and made many of her own clothes. Cindy went on to the University of Surrey, the first person in her family to go to University. She was determined to follow a career path which she knew was for her and all her life took a pride in furthering her knowledge and skills in Home Economics and teaching. During her finals Cindy managed to fit in making her sister’s wedding dress.

Following her degree and her teaching qualification Cindy worked at Sarah Bonnell School in Newham. Cindy loved the work and enjoyed being a member of a hard working team however her love for travelling won out and she began a round the world journey with a good friend, Karen Cseleda. She was always ready to meet new people, travel to new places and was optimistic and cheerful about the future. They travelled through India, Nepal, Tibet, China and Hong Kong arriving in Australia. She made connections with people and formed relationships which endured the years, despite years of little contact. Cindy worked in Australia in the catering industry before heading off to travel again. She met Edward on her travels and they wandered Asia together, meeting many people who were touched by her flair and energy but also by her friendship and care.

They returned to this country for a while and Cindy took up her teaching before heading off again with Edward to South East Asia and Australia. Whilst in Australia Edward applied and was accepted to study at York University and they planned to have children once Edward graduated. However the children did not wait that long to arrive and Toby was born in 1991. Cindy got a temporary job while pregnant and worked after the birth of Toby and after the births of John and Rose. Cindy worked long hours with travelling on top and she did a lot of the work around the house. She did this all with good humour and grace.

Meeting for Worship and Quakers became very important to Cindy, having attended at Westminster when she was working in Newham. When she and Edward moved to York they began attending at Acomb Meeting, which they found friendly and welcoming. They moved to worship at Friargate Meeting following the birth of Toby. Cindy and Edward were married in Friargate on 22nd August 1992. Cindy was a valued member of the Friargate community and had a clear sense of her own spiritual beliefs. She was loved by many. Her wonderful laugh, her dismissal of pomposity or verbosity and her readiness to contribute, enriched our communal life beyond measure. Cindy was never daunted by tasks, no matter their nature or size. Cindy just got on with things. Her cooking and baking were sublime and the residents at the Arc Light project for the homeless regularly thanked Quakers for and commented on her sticky toffee pudding. Cindy took on the jobs no one wanted, including running the Link group, organising rotas and spending many Sunday mornings in crèche or Fox group. She organised numerous meals at Barmoor, enlivened the knitting and book groups and gave us much to think about. She could make things so easily, be it a wedding dress or costumes for John’s dance company. Cindy was hospitable and was really good at connecting with people. She had many friends.

Cindy loved clothes and especially shoes; she adored good coffee and food, loved parties, enjoyed electronic gadgets and was such fun to be with. At the age of 36 and with children aged 6, 2 and 1, Cindy was diagnosed with lung cancer. She had a lung removed followed by radiotherapy and it looked for several years that the cancer had gone. Unfortunately it returned and Cindy faced her illness and the treatment with such an enormous amount of courage and bravery, it left us all staggering.

Cindy was a wonderful mother. She was immensely proud of all her three children, loved them dearly and was determined to continue treating them exactly as she always had, despite knowing that she would not live long. Her love for Edward was clear and as they both struggled at times through some of the horrors of Cindy’s illness we could see how important this was to get them through.

What more to be said – she was hopeless at receiving presents and I suppose compliments too. It is hard to accept that Cindy, our energetic, inspirational, fun-loving, giggly, loving, thoughtful, giving, caring friend has gone and is not coming back. She had so much to offer and in her too short life she was so generous with her time, her friendship and her many talents.

Cindy kept a diary called “Having A Good Time: thoughts about my family and other things.” The very last thing she wrote in it was

“How can I not think every day that time is limited, especially when I wheeze just climbing the stairs. Certainly if there is life after death I am going to be a runner and I will run every day because I can.”

We love her and miss her.

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