Diane Mitchell – A Eulogy delivered by Alyson Dugmore (Club President) at the meeting of Sutton Coldfield Speakers Club 8th November 2012.

It is with great sadness that I open tonight’s meeting as we mark the tragic loss of our great friend and fellow club member Diane Mitchell.

As many of you will know, Diane was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer last summer and has been receiving treatment for the last year.  Although we were all devastated to hear the news of Di’s diagnosis at the time, we were always hopeful that the tumour was slow growing and that treatment might keep it at bay.  Unfortunately last weekend we heard the dreadful news from Di’s husband Mike that she had suddenly deteriorated and sadly passed away on Saturday. We remember Di in many ways:-

She was a stalwart of Sutton Coldfield Speakers Club – representing the club at many different levels, both internally as president for 6 years and Area President too.  Di was a formidable speaker winning speech and topics competitions many times over.   Indeed such was her talent for topic speaking, that she went on to win the area and district competitions too.  Recently Di was invited to speak at a medical conference for gastroenterology consultants for which she received enormous praise.  In club meetings, Di was always quick to step in when there were gaps, and her dab hand at topics meant that she always had an impromptu speech up her sleeve.  I think her funniest speech ever though, was about her ‘coming of age’ with technology (mobile phone) and for those of us who knew Di, getting her to use email was always an uphill struggle.

As area president, Di was not only the outward facing member of  our club but also of the West Midlands area – a well known face at numerous local and national functions  She also acted as judge at various competitions including those organised by the Association of Speakers Clubs, Rotary club ‘youth speaks’ and the Sutton Coldfield schools debating competitions.

On a personal note – for me Di was not only a personal friend and fellow club member, she represented all that is great about a true leader – always working hard on behalf of the club, always inspiring others to do the same and at times of difficulty, always doing the right thing.  Her sense of care for the club and its members knew no bounds and in her role as Union official with Tesco too, Di represented many people in need.   She leaves an indelible mark on us all, and although her memory will live on in the club, she is utterly irreplaceable.

Di leaves behind her devoted husband Mike, who has also been a friend of the club for many years and our club auditor; her son, Alex – who recently passed out as an Army Officer; and daughter- in law Kate.  Our thoughts and condolences go out to all of them at this very sad time.

Alyson Dugmore 8/11/12