For many people in our church, and indeed, in the community at Eynsford, Lily Robinson would have been an unknown figure, even an unknown name. But for those who have known her, she has been a very distinctive person. As we celebrate her life of 103 years, we begin to discover some of the things we never knew, and then we know these few things will only be a small amount of what Lily has been.
It was during the first world war that Lily was born in Boston, continuing there until her marriage in 1939 and the outbreak of war. While there she was very much part of the local Methodist Church, teaching in the Sunday School, active in the Wesley Guild and a member of the choir. In fact, music was very part of her life sharing in the local Operatic Choral Society, and also in Drama Groups and in the Tennis Club.
It was during the war while her husband was serving in the RAF that he was killed in 1943. Two years later she remarried and then she moved to Orpington in 1946. There her two daughters, Ruth and Judith were born but after only 10 years of marriage her husband, Sam, died.
In Orpington Lily worked as the secretary at a local school in St Paul’s Cray, continuing when over 20 years later she moved to Eynsford in 1974. While there she also worked as a medical receptionist in Sevenoaks, from which she did not retire until she was 80 years old.
But Lily was a community person, helping with meals on wheels and the local baby clinic. In due course she became a member of U3A, finding interest in French, painting, scrabble and Keep Fit. Her love of music led her into Kentish Opera and the Darent Valley Choir. But her interests were never insular, for she loved travelling, going to many parts of the world including Germany, France and Greece to see her daughters but to many other places on cruises and holidays. Some of this she did with her very good friend Helen, as well as with others. In thinking of where she had been, it would probably be easier to work out where she had not been. This record of some of the things in which Lily was involved gives a little picture of the kind of person she has been and for which we give thanks today. Most of this record she wrote herself some 15 years ago.
Behind all of this, however, was a strong faith in God expressed wherever she has been and most recently here in Otford. Once more the choir was part of her life, as was the Women’s Fellowship, quite apart from her regular attendance on a Sunday. It is her faith in the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ which means that we are thankful not just for what Lily has been and has done, but even more for who she is now. Recently Dr Billy Graham died, but before he died he said when you read of my death I will not have died, I will just have changed my address. That is what we believe about Lily, that she is free from the infirmity that age inevitably brought to her body though not to her mind, and from the difficulties which she had faced through her long years. Now she has entered fully into a new life, better than any of us can imagine, and which is there for all who put their trust in Jesus Christ. By her death, as by her life, she calls us to put our trust in Jesus, for all of us must travel this same way.