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OBITUARY: 'The perfect wife' who died 13 days before her husband

PUBLISHED: 11:51 10 November 2019 | UPDATED: 23:42 11 November 2019

Sylvia worked for the Ipswich schools medical service for nearly three decades  Picture: Pink family archive

Sylvia worked for the Ipswich schools medical service for nearly three decades Picture: Pink family archive

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Ipswich woman Sylvia, 93, was born 'over Stoke' and later lived on Maidenhall and Chantry

Sylvia on her honeymoon in April, 1949   Picture: Pink family archiveSylvia on her honeymoon in April, 1949 Picture: Pink family archive

Her family describes Sylvia Pink as "the perfect wife" to Maurice - the man she met while out posting a letter. They'd be married for more than 70 years, and Sylvia would join her husband in everything he wished to do. But she did sometimes get her way…

An example. After being told by Maurice for 20 years that there was no finer resort than Blackpool (he'd lived nearby as a lad) she put her foot down and forced him to book a holiday abroad. This changed their lives, and trips to Spain, Italy, Portugal, Greece and many other destinations followed.

When family holidays with their two sons ended, Maurice and Sylvia went further afield, including Hawaii, Kenya and Egypt.

Despite Maurice's record not being good when it came to ships - he'd twice escaped death during the war, when vessels he was on were sunk in enemy attacks - they booked cruises around the globe, travelling the oceans around Africa, sailing through the Panama Canal to South America, and making many trips to the Mediterranean.

They also visited son Stephen when he was in Sydney, Australia - flying to Perth and getting the train across the continent.

This year - which marked their 70th wedding anniversary - Sylvia and Maurice were at times in extremely poor health. Both had spells in hospital, before being reunited in Spring Lodge Care Home at Woolverstone, near Ipswich.

Sylvia died on October 14 and Maurice 13 days later. She was 93, he 97.

Roots

Sylvia grew up in the Old Stoke area of Ipswich  Picture: Pink family archiveSylvia grew up in the Old Stoke area of Ipswich Picture: Pink family archive

Sylvia Rose Dakin was born on June 25, 1926, in Wherstead Road, Ipswich. She was an only child.

She could later trace her lineage back to 1740 on her father's side (to Nottinghamshire) and to 1790 and Great Yarmouth on her mother's side (the Spinks).

Mum Ethel was one of nine children and worked in munitions during the Great War. She spent some time as a housemaid before marrying.

Husband Ernest was a driver on the railways who had once carried the King on the royal train. He spent much of his spare time at the Ipswich Loco Men's Club in Rectory Road and was a champion snooker and billiard player.

While Ernest died young in 1959 (aged about 60) Ethel reached 95. She lived for a long time in a flat in Station Street with widowed sister Florrie.

THE MAN SHE LOVED: Tribute to ex-HMS Ganges bandsman Maurice Pink

School, and love

Sylvia's husband: Maurice Pink, of the Royal Marines Band  Picture: Pink family archiveSylvia's husband: Maurice Pink, of the Royal Marines Band Picture: Pink family archive

When she was young, Sylvia's family moved to nearby Turin Street to look after her grandfather. The youngster went to Wherstead Road primary and the Central School for girls in Bolton Lane, Ipswich. She played hockey and netball.

After leaving, Sylvia worked at Fram Eggs in Burrell Road and clothing manufacturer Phillips and Piper, near Christchurch Park.

In 1945 she met husband-to-be Maurice Pink by chance, as she posted a letter for her mother. The Royal Marine bandsman was cycling from Ipswich to HMS Ganges at Shotley, where he was based.

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They arranged to meet again at a dance, and married on April 16, 1949, in Lytham St Annes. Home became Maidenhall Approach in Ipswich.

Rode a moped

After having sons Stephen and Clive they moved in 1956 to a council house in Montgomery Road, on the new Maidenhall estate.

Sylvia went back to work the following year. She helped manage the schools medical service for Ipswich from offices in Elm Street, where she worked with doctors and nurses to run vaccination programmes and provide school health services for almost three decades.

Sylvia and Maurice Pink marking their 60th wedding anniversary  Picture: Pink family archiveSylvia and Maurice Pink marking their 60th wedding anniversary Picture: Pink family archive

In the later years, before retiring in 1987, Sylvia specialised in dealing with special schools and handicapped children. She rode a moped to and from work, in all weathers, and bravely rode pillion behind Maurice on all other local journeys.

With a husband and two boys keen on football, Sylvia went to all Ipswich Town home games and numerous away matches, and was a season ticket holder for many years. Her favourite players were Ray Crawford and Mick Mills.

She was instrumental in getting both sons to St Matthew's Church of England Primary School and immensely proud both were named head boy for their year.

Sylvia loved her mother Ethel, who was pivotal in helping her bring up her children.

Both sons are married. Clive lives locally and Stephen is in London. She had two granddaughters: Eluned and Bethan.

Skilled seamstress

Sylvia had precious little time for interests of her own but did love yoga, which she enjoyed for many years.

She was a skilled seamstress - making many of her own dresses and clothes, and knitting jumpers for her sons and then for her granddaughters.

The Pinks. From left, Helen, husband Clive, Sylvia, Maurice, Stephen and wife Sharon  Picture: Pink family archiveThe Pinks. From left, Helen, husband Clive, Sylvia, Maurice, Stephen and wife Sharon Picture: Pink family archive

Sylvia also made all her own curtains and duvet covers, as well as repairing clothes for others. She had extremely good eyesight throughout her life, and also very sensitive hearing - which helped Maurice, whose own hearing had been impaired by the war and, the family suggests, his time in the band.

Sylvia's life in retirement followed her husband's interests in joining Chantry Bowls Club, where they won numerous trophies and served on the committee.

They had earlier taken up ballroom dancing and were then able to concentrate on sequence dancing, travelling to many venues in the Ipswich area and to dance holidays abroad.

Sylvia loved meeting people and was described as a good listener. She got great enjoyment from hearing other people's life stories, which she would then recount to others.

Cheerful and polite

The couple bought their council house, where they had lived for more than 40 years, before deciding to move to a flat in Holcombe Crescent in 1998. Pollard Court was a development where many other bowls club members and friends lived.

The Pinks were active in its social scene and loved participating in the coffee mornings, being famed for their rum punch!

In the last few years Sylvia had Alzheimer's, but was still able to remember everyone, and many details from her past. She enjoyed colouring and continued to knit blankets.

Her family says all her carers expressed joy in looking after her as she was so cheerful and content, and unfailingly polite.

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