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Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Penny Jordan

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This is going to be a hard post to write. Yesterday I attended the funeral of friend and writer Penny Jordan. Penny was 65, but looked and acted and had the drive and outlook of someone far, far younger. We were members of the same email group, to which she was posting right up until the day we heard that she had been taken into hospital gravely ill.

It was cancer. We'd known she had 'boring tummy trouble' for quite a while, but no one had any idea how serious it was. She hadn't wanted it widely known, because she didn't want to be treated any differently to normal.

Penny always knew what she wanted. She was a perfectionist in her home and in her writing and in the wonderful parties that she threw. She was also modest and unassuming. These twin facets of her character were reflected in her funeral and the gathering that followed. There must have been something like two hundred people in the very handsome St Mary's Church, Nantwich. Wintry sun flooded through the stained glass to light up the brickwork with unexpected colour. Everyone in their best - not necessarily black - as Penny had asked. There were family, friends, neighbours, writers, editors, publishers, representatives of the RNA, of her local chapter and email groups, other people Penny had worked with over the years.

The service was simple, but uplifting. A compassionate vicar, poems read by her nieces, heartfelt singing, the coffin - absurdly slight for such a hard-working, dynamic person - mounded with white roses.

And then afterwards at the elegant restaurant she often went to, with good food, good wine, good company.

I believe she was with us, slipping in between the guests, just checking all was well. Rest in peace, Penny. You will never be forgotten.

Penny wrote as Penny Jordan for Harlequin Mills&Boon and as Annie Groves for HarperCollins. She was awarded a Lifetime Achievement star by the Romantic Novelists' Association in 2011. 
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20 comments:

Julie Cohen said...

I wish I could have been there. Thank you for telling us about it, Jan. So sad, but it sounds as if it was beautiful.

Judy Astley said...

Thank you Jan - beautifully expressed as always. Feel so sad about Penny but the funeral sounds just as she'd have wanted it. xxx

Susie Vereker said...

Thank you for posting, Jan. Still thinking about you all, and Penny.

Shirley Wells said...

Thanks for sharing such a difficult post, Jan. It's so sad but it does sound as if her funeral was how she would have wanted it. You're right in that she'll never be forgotten.

Jan Jones said...

Thanks all. I missed a lot out - so difficult to write it all.

Rebecca said...

Thanks for posting this, Jan, and for representing her friends who were unable to be there. My thoughts were with you, Jenny, Penny and her family all day. She will always be missed, loved and, as you say, never forgotten.

montyandrosie said...

Thank you, Jan, for this post. What a star you are. Am so sad about Penny, but lovely to think she'd have approved of how things went yesterday. Hugs to you.

Gilli Allan said...

Thank you Jan. You brought the occasion movingly and beautifully to light. The RNA has lost a star and many of its members have lost a friend. So sad.

Elizabeth Chadwick said...

Simply Thank you Jan.
Penny was a dear friend and one of the nicest, wisest people I have ever met.

J. Fishler said...

Having recently lost a dear friend I know this post had to be a difficult one to write. But you did it - and did it beautifully. xxx

Carol McGrath said...

Thank you for this post, a lovely tribute and it seems that it was a sad and very beautiful funeral.

liz fenwick said...

Thank you Jan...beautiful
lx

Chris Stovell said...

Thank you, Jan. How very tough that must have been for you.

Jo said...

A very touching tribute, Jan. You've done Penny proud.

Henriette said...

Thank you, Jan, for sharing this very moving post. I wish I could have been there, but I was with you in spirit. Had decided not to wear black that day either - instead I wore a lovely mid-blue tank top and thought of Penny when I pinned a blingey purple broach on it.
Henri

Emma Lee-Potter said...

A very moving post, Jan, and lovely tribute to an inspiring writer.

Liz Harris said...

What a moving account of a very sad day, Jan. Thank you for it.

Liz x

Victoria Connelly said...

That's brought a tear to my eye, Jan. Still can't believe she's gone.

Sally Zigmond said...

Very moving, Jan. I didn't know Penny personally but I knew of her and have heard nothing but good. A sad day.

Jessica Hart said...

A wonderful tribute to an amazing writer and a very nice woman. Thanks, Jan, for sharing a sad day.