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Lasting memorial for ‘lovely’ Vivienne

John De Vries on the memorial bench

John De Vries on the memorial bench

The family of a woman who loved her life in Boston have dedicated a bench in Central Park to her memory and to the town that took it to its heart.

Vivienne de Vries died, aged 68, after a brave fight against cancer

Her husband, John, said: “We had a life together full of humour. She was my travelling companion through her life, indulging her sense of adventure and enjoying life to the full.

“We settled in Sleaford Road, Boston, in 1978, raised a family and immersed ourselves in the life of the town which she always loved. The family thought a fitting tribute would be a lovely bench in Central Park where others could sit and remember Vivienne’s lovely smile, admired by all who knew her.

“The bench, apart from a memorial to my wife, is a gift to the people of Boston for the friendship and happiness that we experienced during the 35 years that Vivienne lived here.

“I and my family want to thank Matt Fisher (Boston Borough Council, Operations Manager) and his team for kindly installing the York bench in Central Park.”

Vivienne worked as a payroll and purchase ledger clerk at the Ford dealer in Grimsby before moving to Boston and after living in Trinidad, West Indies, for two years with children, James and April.

On their return to England second son Jonathan was born.

Vivienne worked part time as an adviser for the Citizens’ Advice Bureau.

The family relocated to Boston with John’s new job as Hardy and Collins computer manager.

Vivienne went to Boston College, and then became ward receptionist on the maternity ward at Pilgrim Hospital, remaining in the job for 15 years.

In her spare time Vivienne was an active member of the National Women’s Register. Vivienne and John were keen cyclists and were members of the Cycle Touring Club.

For a time Vivienne served as magazine editor and John was treasurer and then chairman.

This shared interest provided them with many cycle camping holidays all over the world.

In 1995, Vivienne cycled with a friend, Glenys Kirton, from Land’s End to John O’Groats in 17 days so they could get back for work. She was a member of the Princess Royal Sports Arena and had many friends there through aqua fit and swimming.

John enjoyed motorcycling and Vivienne was not happy as a pillion passenger, telling him: “John, I’m not prepared to look at the world over your right shoulder.”

Aged 57 she too became a motorcyclist, and together they circumnavigated Australia, travelling 12,500 miles.

After that, they toured in France, Spain, Portugal and Scotland. It was when Vivienne developed arthritis in her hip in 2007 that she had to give it up.

Vivienne was a member of Boston Book Group, an excellent cook and keen gardener.

She fought cancer since 2011, undergoing courses of chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant.

John said: “She never gave in and remained cheerful and determined throughout her illness.”

In fact, in June 2012, just eight weeks before her Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma returned, Vivienne went on the cycle tour they delayed from the previous year.

They began in St Malo and went first to the Loire, and then they followed the canals to Basel in Switzerland. From there they followed the Rhine to Rotterdam where they caught the ferry to Hull. In addition, from Hull, they cycled home. In six weeks, they had covered 1,280 miles a huge undertaking for someone in perfect health!

Vivienne eventually became bedridden – but she still smiled and made the most of every day. John thanked the help she received from Macmillan, St Barnabas and Marie Curie nurses, enabling him to care for Vivienne at home.

She leaves grandchildren Terry, Jake and William, Nicky, Joe, Cody, Luke, Amber and Heather and great grandchildren Tia, new arrival Finlay, and Declan.

 

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