When our friend, Marcia Douglas died recently, she requested no funeral.
However those of us who were her friends and realised how much she had done for our Valley since the nineteen eighties for the Arts and for Red Cross, felt we should hold an afternoon tea where we could all get together to give her a farewell party...
And anyone who knew Marcia, would also know she would be annoyed to have missed such a splendid occasion!
The party was held at the Nambucca Bridge Club on Sunday, where guests were greeted by popular opera hits and a lovely photo of Marcia wearing one of her signature hats!
Marcia was a long-time member of the Bridge Club, life member of the Nambucca Valley Arts Council and founder of same, being one of the people to raise the funds to buy our magnificent grand piano.
She was a long time member and office holder of Red Cross and one of the founding members of Camp Creative (the Summer School held in Bellingen every January). She was also a member of the CWA.
Marcia loved a party and I notice most of the snaps I found in my photo boxes from the year 2000 showed all of us waving champagne glasses around!
(I moved back here from Sydney when it became apparent to me that Nambucca was 'Party Central').
I arrived back here in mid-1992 and was immediately snapped up by Marcia when I appeared at the tennis club ... "There was a monthly meeting of the Red Cross at 1pm - you must come".
And that is how I became publicity officer and clown for our local branch of the Red Cross.
Lesley Smith remembers answering a call from the Red Cross for helpers and when she met Marcia to offer her services, she was immediately entrusted Red Cross Calling Week, which she is still doing twenty three years on!
Before I could catch my breath with Red Cross, Marcia mentioned the Nambucca Valley Arts Council needed a Minutes Secretary so that is how I found myself writing and delivering newsletters into post boxes all over town ... from there it was a short step to running concerts and art shows.
A few years later we met overseas at Folkestone (on the White Cliffs, near Dover). She had been attending the opera at Wexford in Ireland and I had been on a Literary tour of the UK.
I ended up on the Leas at Folkestone in a really awful Bed and Breakfast and Marcia came to join me there - she 'swished' out of the cab in cloak and stylish felt hat and my stocks rose significantly.
Others will tell you their funny times of times shared with Marcia, but mostly we will remember her for her sense of style.
She was a Shelly Belle and swam every morning for many years at Shelly Beach. Amber remembers Marcia and her late friend Marie Dalton setting a very high standard in the latest beach wear, swimming caps and full makeup!
A contingent of people from Camp Creative came to the party with Gillian Helfgott speaking on their behalf.
Marcia had a good innings, 91 nearly 92 - batting like Bradman.
I would like to thank Carol McKee, Amber Fox and Daphne Priestly for organizing the afternoon. Also thanks also to Amber and Lee Abernethy for preparing lovely collages of photos.