Maggie Mairura, remembers Mary and her amazing contribution to the work of CAFOD and the continuing legacy of the founding mothers of Holy Spirit, West Bridgford CAFOD group.
It is with sadness that I write that Mary Crosby, long time CAFOD supporter from Holy Spirit parish in West Bridgford died on Sunday 14 January 2018. Over the last few years Mary had undergone treatment for cancer, however when you met her, you never knew how tough it was as she was always so positive and determined. Mary will be very sadly missed by all at CAFOD, the parish and of course her family. Fr Michael Brown, Parish Priest at Holy Spirit said “Mary has been a big part of the Holy Spirit Parish and she tirelessly raised money for CAFOD for 42 years. We are very grateful for the contribution that she made to this parish, she will be greatly missed.”
A photo from the 80s! With Tony Gariff (CAFOD), founding and current members Mary is first right on back row.
I first met Mary through a diary entry when I started working for CAFOD in the Diocese in September 2015; an appointment to visit the parish UCM group the following Lent – I think to say she was organised is an understatement! As well as the amazing work she and the CAFOD group did in the parish, she faithfully supported CAFOD events in the Diocese. Marie Molloy, former CAFOD worker in the Diocese told me about when she first met Mary in 2008, “I visited the parish group, at her invitation, to talk about CAFOD’s (then) new parish scheme Connect2. We seemed to hit it off really well, perhaps both coming from teaching backgrounds helped, and over the years she not only continued to be a fantastic CAFOD Parish Contact but also offered me support and advice in my new role. She was a great sounding board, always honest but constructive in her comments, generous in her praise and certainly never frightened of letting me know when she thought CAFOD was getting in wrong! This attitude was really beneficial to CAFOD when Mary and the group agreed to take part in national CAFOD research into the effectiveness of Connect2.” Marie continued, “What Mary really seemed to enjoy was gatherings of assorted volunteers where she could share experiences with others and gather new ideas, often to be tweaked and tried out in West Bridgford – a Bean Tombola springs to mind! After I left CAFOD in 2015, we kept in touch and met up for coffee on several occasions. Mary truly was a lovely lady, who lived such a busy life supporting others in so many ways and lived with her illness with such dignity and positiveness.”
Celebrating 30 years in 2006
In 2016 the group celebrated 40 years and an article in the nottinghamlocalnews.com states…..”the group, most commonly known as ‘The Friday People’, first came about when six ladies from the parish decided to give something up every Friday and send the money they saved in an envelope to CAFOD.” Mary’s daughter Kate sent me a photo of the original collection tin which was used for group subs! The article continues “parishioner and grandmother Mary Crosby, who joined the group in 1983, worked under the six founders before becoming group secretary and CAFOD parish contact in 1995.’ As well as fundraising activities and cake stalls the group also ran a very successful Traidcraft stall.
The subs tin
Even during her last few months Mary was actively recruiting new members for the CAFOD group and when they met just a few days before she died, Dypmna, who now takes on the role as CAFOD contact for parish, was able to visit Mary the next day and report that 14 members attended the meeting. Dympna tells me “she was delighted with the news and as organised as ever, had the float money ready for our next two CAFOD events during Lent!” Dympna and Mary go back a long way “Mary was a wonderful friend over 35 years. She was a lovely, dignified, calm and especially kind person. Her motivation was inspiring. We share a deep family connection with our two sets of children growing up together and developing their own very special friendships. The Holy Spirit CAFOD group were constantly encouraged to keep working hard at our fundraising.”
Traidcraft Stall in 2010 Una, Ann, Mary C, Dympna, Bernadette, and Mary D
Dympna continued, “her passion and dedication for CAFOD and Traidcraft were reflected in the response and support from the parish for which she was always very grateful and she will always be remembered fondly. We all know we have lost someone very special. Her thumb print remains in the parish, from the backing paper on the displays boards to the homemade donation box made by her husband Tony”.
A Memorial Mass will be held at Holy Spirit, West Bridgford on Saturday 10 March 2018 at 11am.