Va­lerie en­riched the lives of all she met

Wicklow People (Arklow) - - NEWS -

THE late Va­lerie Nu­gent Hayes was a re­mark­able woman who will be so sadly missed by her heart­bro­ken hus­band Frank, with whom she shared more than 50 years.

Her ab­sence will also be deeply felt by her chil­dren Sa­man­tha, Vic­to­ria, By­ron and Ly­dia, her grand­chil­dren So­phie and Leila, her broth­ers, sis­ters, sis­ter-in-law, her ex­tended fam­ily and a wide cir­cle of friends, po­lit­i­cal com­rades and as­so­ciates.

In an ora­tion to those who gath­ered re­cently to cel­e­brate Va­lerie’s life, Frank said that his wife had a ‘won­der­fully wicked sense of hu­mour’.

‘The best jokes, she al­ways held, con­tained the truth,’ he said.

The Hu­man­ist cer­e­mony at Col­lier’s in Bray in­cluded a per­sonal pro­gramme of po­ems, songs and read­ings, all sig­nif­i­cant in some way to Va­lerie and her mem­ory.

She had asked her beloved fam­ily not to grieve for her, but to cel­e­bra­tee the happy life which they had shared,, and ‘ to con­tinue the work she cher-ished most, scat­ter­ing love, truth, hon­esty, in­tegrity, which she did so ef­fort­lessly, ev­ery day of her life, ev­eryy step of her jour­ney.’ of Frankall was said her that abil­ity Va­lerie’sto cre­ate great­esta war­mgiftf sense of joy in hu­man truth.

‘She worked that quiet magic, no­tot just for me, or for our four chil­drenen and two grand­chil­dren – all of who­mom made her so proud – but for ev­ery­onene and any­one who had the sense to lis­te­nen and learn from her, to fol­low her ex­am­ple. She had grasped early on that the self-in­fat­u­ated ego was the big­gest bar­rier to hu­man hap­pi­ness, and she ap­plied that un­der­stand­ing, that Hu­man­ist prin­ci­ple, in ev­ery as­pect of her life.’

She made a happy home in Grey­stones, she car­ried out ad­vanced work with Sci­en­tific Phi­los­o­phy to which she made sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tions. She worked with dis­ad­van­taged chil­dren, took up and had a gift for story telling. These were just a hand­ful of the many things that made Va­lerie such a spe­cial per­son.

She learned to play the vi­o­lin at the age of 60. The in­stru­ment was a gift from Frank, a mu­si­cian. Va­lerie’s father had played the fid­dle, and she had al­ways had a de­sire to play. She found a won­der­ful teacher and prac­ticed fas­tid­i­ously, be­com­ing a beau­ti­ful player and putting paid to the idea that it is ever too late to learn to play an in­stru­ment.

When Frank and Va­lerie met, he lived in Balls­bridge and she in Par­nell Square. They both went to Black­rock Academy.

‘I thought, and still do think, that she was the most beau­ti­ful thing I ever saw,’ said Frank.

He and a friend were both try­ing to pluck up the courage to ask her out. The friend got the flu one week and, in his ab­sence, Frank found the courage to do it.

‘When I met her that first night, I knew we were go­ing to be soul­mates and that was it,’ he said. Frank, a pi­ano player, in­vited Va­lerie to come and see his band, and they danced at the in­ter­val.

‘We met as chil­dren re­ally,’ said Frank. ‘ We grew to­gether, and we kind of mod­i­fied each other. We be­come what she used to call “a pair of bi­nary op­po­sites”. That came from her par­tic­u­lar eth­i­cal dis­po­si­tion, her whole con­cep­tual frame­work of the world.’

The cou­ple lived to­gether in Dublin be­fore they mar­ried. ‘It wasn’t con­tro­ver­sial for us, but for the day it was. We were a lit­tle bit al­ter­na­tive. We thought we knew it all of course, as ev­ery­body does at that age.’

They both had an in­ter­est in phi­los­o­phy and ppol­i­tics, and they stud­ied com­mu­nity de­vel­op­ment. She wasw a sci­en­tific philoso­pher with­out much time for the mys­ti­cal phi­los­o­phy side of things. She was very much a ma­te­ri­al­ist who based her un­der­stand­ing of the world on sci­en­tif­i­cally ver­i­fi­able ev­i­dence.

She was a mem­ber of an in­ter­na­tional group called the In­ter­na­tional Friends of Ilyenkov, made up of schol­ars, re­searchers and ac­tivists read­ing and ex­plor­ing the work of op­po­si­tional Soviet philoso­pher E V Ilyenkov to help shed light on to­day’s cul­tural, philo­soph­i­cal, ed­u­ca­tional and po­lit­i­cal chal­lenges.

Their house­hold was very in­ter­est­ing. ‘Break­fast time was amaz­ing,’ said Va­lerie’s daugh­ter Sa­man­tha, who de­scribed a lively and on­go­ing dis­course in a happy and open house­hold.

The chil­dren’s friends were al­ways wel­come, and had a friendly ear in Va­lerie. They had love in their house and they all talked to one an­other. There were rows, of course, but they would be re­solved very quickly. As a mum she was just su­perb.

Al­ways busy, one of Va­lerie’s roles was as a leader of the Ir­ish Girl Guides. Her daugh­ters were mem­bers and they en­joyed a great num­ber of ac­tiv­i­ties and trips to­gether.

Va­lerie worked in fi­nan­cial con­trol through­out the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s, then as her fam­ily grew she worked part-time do­ing the same sort of thing.

She worked from the start in ad­min­is­tra­tion with the Liv­ing Life Coun­selling Cen­tre when it was founded, and also worked in Grey­stones Travel.

Af­ter that she went back to com­mu­nity work at Lit­tle Bray Fam­ily Re­source cen­tre, first as her pro­fes­sion and af­ter she re­tired, as a vol­un­teer.

The Hayes fam­ily re­ceived a pack­age from the Lit­tle Bray Fam­ily Re­source Cen­tre. All of the chil­dren she worked with had made cards, writ­ing in them the thing they re­mem­ber most about her.

Va­lerie en­riched the lives of ev­ery­one she met, and played such a huge part in so many peo­ple’s lives.

‘I have been so lucky as a hu­man to find a soul-mate who loved what I loved,’ said Frank.

TheT late Va­lerie Nu­gent Hayes anda (left) with Frank three weeksw af­ter their first date.

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