27/3/53 to 20/8/2015
Niccola ( I’m sure you ALL know it’s spelt with TWO C’s) Downey was born Niccola Elizabeth Yvonne Greaves, to doting parents, Bruce and Joyce on 27 March 1953, three years and a day after her sister Lyn.
At Merchant Taylor’s School, Niccy was pensive and studious although she would deny this. She was offered a place to study engineering, at what was then known as UMIST in Manchester. It would not be taken up. She loved home and would never leave until the day she married.
Dad, Bruce, insisted on a ‘post ‘A level’ secretarial course in Liverpool which ensured her employment; firstly in the Liverpool tax office but most enjoyably in the American Consulate in the city as secretary to the Consul. After other positions, culminating in administering to a small private school in Crosby, she pursued many varied hobbies and interests with vigour.
Merchant Taylor’s was able to provide much more than a formal education for Niccy. The joint sixth form ballroom dancing and A level lessons found her a wonderful, gentle and caring husband in Malcolm. They married on 23 August 1975 and were devastated when they learnt they were unable to have the children they desired.
After moving to the edge of Lancashire in Bescar, where Malcolm and Niccy enjoyed 12 idyllic years of rural living in a cosy cottage with a 5 acre field and their two Chocolate Labradors, Tara and Pippa, Niccy joined the local ladies Monday Club and became a committee member of the Lancashire W.I. The latter drew on her attributes as an organiser and ability to extract, with her commanding presence, the best qualities from members and took huge pleasure in being able to help in particular, the older ladies of rural Lancashire.
Even after moving back nearer to civilisation – well, nearer to shops at least, she continued joining groups. The ‘Quality Street’ Girls from Ainsdale will all vouch for her enthusiasm even through her illness. Niccy was a volunteer with ‘Sefton Talking Newspapers’. She loved singing and music and belonged to four choirs and a chimes group.
Niccy and Lyn, often with Joyce, would regularly get together, despite living at opposite ends of the M62. They enjoyed jaunts into the Lancashire countryside, laughing, arguing and enjoying just being family together. This was repeated around North Ferriby in East Yorkshire, Lin’s home territory. It was Niccy’s hope that when Malcolm stopped working, they and mum, Joyce, would move over to East Yorkshire.
Niccy was found to be ill in January of 2015 and she learned only in March that her prognosis was not great. Niccy was able to Internet-locate a suitable property only a few minutes’ drive from Lyn’s home and Malcolm completed all the negotiations in record time. Niccy suffered unexpected and serious reactions to her medication but, through the medical care and help of both Southport Hospital the wonderful Queenscourt Hospice, she improved enough to make the journey, fulfilling her dream to live nearer her sister. It lasted only a short 7 days sadly, when Niccy again became unexpectedly seriously ill and was then transferred to another marvellous Hospice, Dove House, Hull. With Malcolm constantly at her side and her family visiting when treatment allowed, she was cared for wonderfully.
There is no doubt she was greatly loved by those who knew her. Her energy and commitment to her friends was a joy to see. She was also committed to her Christian faith and beliefs and we should all be thankful that she is at now peace with God.
Niccy with her mother Joyce in 2015