Noreen Marie Lucas
2nd May 1973 — 21st November 2019
(Noreen’s family asked me to prepare some words to say at her funeral on 27th November. Although I did not speak, here is what I would have said on your behalf.)
I first met Noreen when she was manning the Welcome Desk at the 2012 Jubilee Concert in Geneva. I have a picture of a swarming, seething throng of people wanting tickets. Alone behind the desk was this calm, competent and utterly charming Irish woman, doling out their tickets with a smile and a joke, whipping them all into line, and making them happy. I was not a member of the BRA then and had only intermittent contact with Noreen for some years after.
When I joined the Council, I discovered just how powerful Noreen was in running the association. She was recruited as the BRA Secretary by Joanna Koch in 2002. In Joanna’s words ”Noreen modernised the administration, worked hard on the finances, improved the Bulletin, brought in new members, and so on. Her presence and dedication with the BRA have been wonderful.” Presence and Dedication; Those 2 words sum up what Noreen’s gave to the BRA. Technically she worked 2 days a week for us. In practice she gave much more than that. She not only worked for BRA, she was truly part of its soul.
Noreen was the first point of contact, the “face“, of the BRA even to those who never met her in person. And the face she presented was full of humour, kindness and it said WELCOME. When organising events, on the telephone, or on email, she was the presence; patient, calm under pressure, understanding in all matters — except when anyone misplaced the apostrophe in the British Residents’ Association title!
For “her” members –– and to Noreen they were her members –– she was always ready with words of advice or comfort. She gave them (individually and collectively) her time and her dedication. She went that extra mile to get the best for them. Since I announced Noreen’s death, I have had a stream of replies from BRA members. They are consistent in how they each feel a personal loss but also recognise how much greater the loss must be for Noreen’s family.
I am the eighth BRA Chairman who has been fortunate enough to have had the benefit of Noreen’s support and friendship. Since 2016 she has been my rock, helping me avoid the pitfalls, advising me on what had gone on before and whispering quietly in my ear when she thought that I was going off the rails. I have described Noreen as the Engine Room of the BRA. Today BRA has lost its Chief Engineer. When we were having difficulties, Noreen would say “We two are Taureans. We keep going.” During her long fight against her terrible illness, her Taurean stubborness came through. When I saw her in hospital in October, she said “I will not give up”. The reason she would not give up was because of her love for Charles and the two boys she talked about with such pride. My sympathy and that of all the BRA members goes out to them for their long period of suffering and for their tragic loss of wife and mother.
Today there is mourning, not just here in this church, but in homes throughout Switzerland as this lovely and much-loved lady leaves us and finds peace and rest. Her family can be proud of what she brought to this world in a life, tragically cut short. She will remain not only in the minds of the BRA but also in the hearts of the many she touched with her kindness, generosity and friendship. We will each miss her for different reasons. I especially will miss my confidante, supporter and friend. Though we will all miss her, she has touched each of our lives for the better and we will not forget her.
May she now rest in peace.
27 November 2019