Eileen Brunton

Listed on December 12, 2014 in Blogs!

My blog is not usually a place of personal remembrance but this morning I received the news of death of one of our Patrons – Eileen Brunton.

Eileen and Howard retired to south Somerset about 18 years ago and soon discovered that much of what Dillington offered was right up their street. Howard was an eminent palaeontologist at the Natural History Museum – the world expert on brachiopods no less! Eileen worked there too as a librarian. They married in 1965 but both their lives changed dramatically in a climbing accident which put Howard permanently in a wheelchair. From that moment onwards they enjoined the battle to improve the lot of disabled people. Howard’s physical impairment was not going to limit their sense of adventure and their thirst of knowledge. Well do I remember the field trips up Cadbury Castle and even the surmounting of Bronze Age barrows on Cranborne Chase. And then there was the time when they appeared on the roof of La Casa Mila aka La Pedrera in Barcelona. But none of this beats a photo I saw of them on top of Snowdon having got up the mountain using an all-terrain wheelchair.

Howard died about four years ago and understandably Eileen found life without her best friend very difficult. Illness was faced with great stoicism and she slowly adjusted to a new life only to be challenged one last time. Her last visit to Dillington was very recent when she attended a weekend course on Chaucer and enjoyed the talk given by Kate Adie. She had been booked into a nursing home the following day but that lasted less than 24 hours because it didn’t have Wi-Fi or a satisfactory mobile phone signal. There was never any messing with Eileen if things weren’t right. Her last few days were in the hospice at Yeovil where they looked after her with love. She told me on Monday that all she wanted was to be cherished.

I’ve written this as an appreciation for a dear friend and for an amazing woman. Eileen could be difficult to some but behind that was a person of great generosity and kindness. And for those of us who got to know the real Eileen, a person of real courage and determination.