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Celebrating the Life of Jessie Lenora Belsey

Jessie Lenora Belsey
27th April 1920 - 22nd January 2009

We had the privilege to meet Jessie on only one occasion, Jessie was born in Westwood Thanet. As a child Jessie helped her dad tend his
pigs and she learned to read sitting on his lap as he read the newspaper.

Her happy, early years were brought to a sudden end when she was 11, with an unexpected arrival. Her parents never told her
and Jessie didn't notice anything until her mum returned home with a baby boy, Joseph Randolph. Jessie never really forgave him!!

Randolph left home first. He was evacuated, aged 9, the day after Dunkirk in 1940. In 1941 Jessie volunteered for work of national
importance and worked in Reading at Huntley and Palmer's packing biscuits.

In 1942 Jessie was called up to join the Auxillary Territorial Service. She was assigned to the Anti-Aircraft Brigade and worked on
the secret 'radio location', as she strongly preferred to call what the Brits Invented and the Yanks went on to term 'radar'

Jessie worked in a team as'no4' operated in a mobile radio location unit and twice refused her Lance Corporal badge, as she didn't
want to be tranferred away from her friends. Together the girls searched the skies for enemy aircraft.

Jessie helped defend every corner of Britian from Cornwall to Scotland, with 11 postings as Randolph remembers clearly because he
wrote to her. Randolph also remembers walking alongside Rugely canel with Jessie and the lavender scent she loved to wear.

After the war Jessie wasn't demobbed until 1946 and worked in London with the pay Corps, to amongst other
duties, process demob papers.

Back in civillian life, Jessie returned to 30 Gordon Road and into retail then office work. She worked longest in Woolworths
haberdashery and Pottons' gentleman's oufitters, both in then posh Cliftonville.

After her father died and Randolph moved to start his National Service, and with just her mother to share
number 30 Jessie developed her interests.

The first of these was to own a pet. Over 15 years there were 3 much loved pedigree Siamese cats. Somewhat eccentrically Jessie
took each for walks on a lead. There was also a dog, naturally another pedigree.

Jessie's next job, as a Cost Clerk with Cementation, was tranferred from Westwood to London. She went with it and made new
friends with her fellow train commuters and, partly as a result, developed two new hobbies: travel and photography.

She took her mother with her on an increasingly ambitious series of trips to the Lakes, Scotland, Holland ans even Italy. On one of
the early trips to the Lakes, Jessie and her mum, with stout walking shoes and raincoats, they ascended a good chunk
of the 2300 foot high Blencartha.

The travelling years were Jessie's happiest and the result of many photos and treasured possessions.

In 1965 Jessie was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She endured the painful treatment and made a full recovery. But afterwards
she always felt tired. Soon, her mother's eyes deterioted. A month of test in a London Hospital left her mother
dispirited, still with failing eyessight and now confined to a wheelchair. This conbination brought on Jessie's early retirement
and she helped care for her mother until she passed away in 1970.

If Jessie lived an active life up to 1970, after this she gradually withdraw from the world.

She stayed close to her two neighbours Mrs Wild and Ruby Greenstreet up to when they died. Jessie cycled everywhere in
search of bargains. In this pre-crarity shop era Jessie loved jumble sales and she became friendly with a number of old
ladies, for whom she set-up and ran a jigsaw library. In turn they too passed away, leaving 700 jigswas
piled in Number 30's front room.

In 1994 Jessie fell, fractured her skull and broke an arm, but after weeks in intensive care and hospital she returned
to Number 30. Then in 2002 an infection took hold and she entered hospital with just half her body weight. Once again her stronge
constitution enabled her to fight back and Jessie was soon demonstrating to anyone who showed concern she was still
quite capable of touching her toes!

The fall left Jessie with headaches and less energy, although she was able to beat an intruder out of Number 30 with her fists. But after
1994 Jessie was never independent. She gave up cycling and Randolph with Christine increasingly supported her, from providing lifts
to the shops to later doing her shopping and washing. This enabled Jessie to stay
in her own home. For which she was grateful.

Jessie's last two years were peppered with stints in hospital due to infection, 7 in all, each followed a pattern of
decline then a bounce back.

Her last autumn, it became clear that she was unable to live independently. After living in Number 30 for 73 years she
spent 7 happy weeks in Tree Tops home for the elderly. She put on weight , looked years younger and read vociferously. When
infection resurfaced it was spotted immediately. Jessie was back in hospital.

Sadly, despite touching her toes only 3 weeks earlier and dismissing another doctor with'go away I'm quite well' she went
quickly down hill and passed away peacefully on Thursday 22 January.

Jessie will be greatly missed by her loving family, Randolph, Christine and their children Peter, Andy and Cory, plus
her surrogated grandchildren Bethany, Sarah, Joel, Sam, Will and Ben

May God Rest Her Sole

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