“Have an interesting day.” The signature sign-off of a women remembered in Steeple Claydon, whose life has been commemorated with a tree planted in her honour.
Environmentally-conscious Betty McBride, originally from Nebraska but to whom North Bucks had been home for nearly 50 years, passed away in June, aged 89.
Friends and family, some travelling 6,000 miles from San Francisco, gathered at Steeple Claydon’s community library on December 9, to plant a tree and hear a touching performance of ‘Somewhere over the Rainbow’, played in tribute by her son Sean.
He said: “Betty was a woman who spent her whole life being interested in things, whether it was the overgrown front lawn where she could count bees, or watching sunsets eating an ice cream, seeing a concert, surfing on the library computer to keep up with social issues, or chatting to the people at the libraries. Believe it or not, she has been known to hug a tree.”
Betty’s son Brennan McBride added: “All these stories about her, it seems like she had a really rich social life here in Steeple Claydon, which I just didn’t know about.
“I’m really pleased to be here, and it’s really great that this could happen.”
Betty and her family moved to Great Horwood in 1969. In her later years, she maintained a love of culture and art through trips out with the help of the Winslow and District Community Bus.
Plans have also been made to dedicate a bookshelf in the library to her memory.
Chair of Steeple Claydon Parish Council Paul Firth said: “We all knew Betty, she was such a character and a very active user of the library.
“The fact she felt at home there is wonderful confirmation of what we’ve done in maintaining the library. We’re here to celebrate the part she played in the development of this village.”