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Remembering Eileen

by Michael Ford last modified 10 Jul, 2020 11:31 PM

Funerals are now able to take place back inside our buildings where it is safe to do so, but for one Dorset Traveller, a graveside funeral was fitting.

Over 150 Travellers gathered around Poundbury Cemetery to pay their respects to well-known Dorset Traveller Eileen Rawlings.

Eileen, along with Dave Rawlings, were among the last Romany Gypsies to travel by horse and wagon.

The Revd Jonathan Herbert, our Chaplain to Gypsies and Travellers who took the funeral said:

"Eileen and Dave were strong Christians from the Pentecostal tradition and when they finally settled at Piddle Hinton site, he attended the local parish church.

"They travelled throughout the Diocese for over 50 years. Living a hard but joyful life, depending on the work of their hands. Collecting wood and water to cook with, making clothes pegs and paper flowers to sell.

"Eileen’s aunt Caroline Hughes was a fine singer discovered by Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger, and sang on their Radio 4 production ‘Songs of the Travelling People’.

"Her short funeral took place on a wet windswept day in Dorchester at the graveside, but Eileen wouldn’t have minded as she spent most of her life outdoors in all weathers."

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