Book of Memories of


Mary Illing

Giver of great hugs

“It’ll never get better if you keep picking at it”
“It’s better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick”
“Give that a stir for me – Not like that!”
“Come and keep me company while I do this”
“I can’t sing – except for that one song – You’re going to miss me when I’m gone”
“Ooh I’d love a coffee”
“I’m not as green as I am cabbage-looking”
“Don’t tell your father”
“We will have Sunday Night Soup”
“I’ve been running around like an ooslum bird”
“I do love your dad, he’s a good sort. He brings me a cup of tea every morning”
“I don’t wear green – it makes me look like a farmer’s wife”
“If my mother’d seen that she’d have rapped your knuckles with a wooden spoon, or the back of a knife if you were really unlucky”
“You’ve got to get the piece of paper!”
“Guy, Ruth, Dicky, Peter, oooh, Ethel!”
“Whose turn is it to fill the pepper? Is it Ethel or Mr Nobody?”
“My Dad was the kindest man; he would have loved you so very much”
“I don’t feel fully dressed without my perfume”
“You make a better door than a window!”
“We must mix my mincemeat with a jar of shop-bought for the moisture before we make the mumpy-pumpies this year”
“You’ve just been slugged!”
“Send them my love”

Please share your favourite memories with us.

Book Owner: Ruth Illing Palmer
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Allison Dunsmore

Mary (and Dick) came into our lives when Ruth joined our family as an exchange student. Mary was an unexpected bonus and became an integral part of our family. After sharing Ruth with us for a year, she graciously allowed Ruth to come back for our oldest daughter’s wedding. Once arriving from the airport, …

Michelle Ward

Mary, I don’t believe I ever had the honour of meeting you, but I wanted to thank you for having produced such a wonderful daughter as Ruth. She is such a fantastic mother, Scout leader, businesswoman, motivator, inspirator, comforter, helper … you name it, she’s there for everyone. Put simply, she’s the bestest friend …

Loz GR

Dear Aunty M, I have many fond memories of my childhood with you – learning how to make jewellery threading lots of little glass beads in your crafty corner; marching round the Christmas table in crazy hats at Toll House; racing up and downstairs, playing hide & seek at the house in Hillmorton Road …

Wendy Woolaway

 Mary and I became friends as student radiographers in Coventry. She was fun to be with, sunny, warm and generous but also down to earth, non-judgemental and very intelligent.  We could tell each other anything and we would eventually be a bridesmaid for each other at our first weddings. When I think of her …

Connie Tang

A wonderful lady Mrs I,  thank you for accepted me as extended family. I remember the dish you cook when I first visiting you with Ruth,  and the way of welcoming  instantly made me less homesick.  Thank you for the Christmas Angel cross stitch is means a lot to me. I have fond memories …

Ed Creyton

I have nothing but fond memories of Mrs (I) Mary Illing. I spent a lot of time at the Illings home in my teen years and was always welcomed in as one of the family. I loved how Mary would talk to me and all the other rowdy teens stomping about the house, like …


Mrs I was a wonderful lady, I have fond memories of hanging out in the kitchen, being pointed to certain thigs to mix together ‘Get x from that fridge, and y from that cupboard. Here, use this bowl and there’s an ashtray over there’. I still remember how to make blue cheese dip, although …

Jessica Peach

My dear Cousin Mary was one of the kindest. Warmest people I know. I always enjoyed spending time with her and sampling her delicious food when I visited the family on my trips home from the States. She would always ask me how many meals will you need when you are here? She knew …

Liz Marsden

Cousin Mary, was more like an Aunty to me. She was always incredibly welcoming, whenever we came to visit, whipping up tasty food in her warm, full kitchen. I remember being impressed with a table full of sweet treats, that she and Ruth had made for Christmas and being delighted at being sent home …

Joe King

The great and wonderful Mrs I was like a second mum to me, and I’m sure so many of my friends feel the same way. Always very welcoming, provided you mucked in and helped with whatever was needed, and quick to offer a cigarette so you never had to smoke your own. I remember …