‘Unique’ burial attracts large audience

Cluny Chapman with her late mother Ann Mary Johnstone
Cluny Chapman with her late mother Ann Mary Johnstone
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The recent funeral of a Haddenham embroiderer attracted a lot of attention after she was buried in a handmade shroud.

Ann Mary Johnstone passed away in June aged 80 and the unique service at St Mary’s Church in in Haddenham had the village talking.

As an active member of Haddenham’s Witchert Women’s Institute and the Embroiderers’ Guilds in Aylesbury and Yorkshire, Mrs Johnstone’s daughter Cluny Chapman thought it would make a fitting tribute to wrap her in the handmade shroud.

Mrs Chapman said: “What we did was very individual. The church was packed.”

“I had seen these shrouds at an event last year. I remembered it and decided it would be appropriate for her. Everybody who talked to me thought it was a wonderful idea.”

Several members of both the WI and embroiderers’ guilds lent their services to decorate the shroud with individually crafted flowers and leaves, before Mrs Chapman demonstrated the textile skills she had learned from her mother by assembling it.

“We had to do what we felt was appropriate to celebrate my mother’s life,” she said.

“I was not particularly worried what people thought.”

Mrs Chapman also paid tribute to her mother, saying: “I can remember her helping me get started with textiles and always being interested in what I was doing.”

In addition to her roles at the WI and embroiders’ guilds, Mrs Johnstone also worked at Haddenham Museum and was part of the Haddenham Horticultural Show committee.