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Our memories of Caroline

Memories of Caroline

Our Memories of Caroline

We have collected together some memories of Caroline Murtagh a long standing,
 much respected and loved member of the Barnstaple and District Soroptimists.

Caroline and Jenny on Wolacombe beach


Jenny, Caroline and I took part in the Saunton beach 
clean, arranged by Surfers Against Sewage – Caroline 
coming all the way from Exmoor to take part. Picking 
up the litter we were joined by a lady who was quite 
jolly, and had a lot to say – but wasn’t picking up 
much litter. All of a sudden she stopped, took out 
a hip flask and had a glug of whatever the contents 
were. Caroline’s face was a picture – and from what I 
remember, she was the only one to accept the
invitation to share a drink.
It gave beach cleaning a whole new angle !



I remember Caroline standing tirelessly over 
a hot griddle cooking Athelston cakes at the 
popular stall we use to have at Pilton Green
Man Festival.

Another occasion years ago, and I can’t quite 
recall what it was, but several of us were 
drenched, but smiling, on Barnstaple bridge 
due to the ‘inclement’ weather - and there 
is a photo somewhere to prove it!
I remember Caroline leaving meetings slightly 
early to regularly go to one of the local 
supermarkets to collect donations of unsold
produce from that day, allowing her to create 
some tasty meals the next day for the 

Although she had quite a way to come to 
support Club events it rarely stopped her!

She had a terrific sense of humour which she 
maintained even during lockdown.


Rosemary who ran her own wool and craft shop, 
'Woolcraft' in Caen st, Braunton for many years 
remembers what a wonderfully talented woman 
Caroline was. She remembers being at a craft 
exhibition at Olympia, London looking at the 
quilts that had been made to celebrate the 
2012 Olympic Games in London. The quilts were 
later given to various athletes from around 
the world that had competed.

She saw the most amazing quilt and when she read 
the name she was astounded to see that it had been 
made by Caroline. 

When a woman alongside her praised it, Rosemary was 
able to proudly say that it was made by her friend. 
The woman replied that it was amazing workmanship 
and deserved 110% not 100%. Rosemary remembers 
Caroline as an amazing woman who did so much good.



I remember being at the Women’s Refuge garden one 
wet, cold, Saturday morning. Caroline was with us 
– about five of us in all – intending to rid the 
small, front garden of weeds and plant a few shrubs 
we had acquired, purchased or, In Caroline’s case, 
dug up from her own garden. She had hoisted a 
substantial holly tree out of mud and brought 
it to the Women’s Refuge. The rain started to
pour as we worked – Caroline dug a slushy hole 
in the mud and plantedsaid holly bush, with the c
omment, “Well, there it is. It will either grow 
or not!” She was as muddy as the holly bush
 – still smiling – and we all decamped for the 
usual cafe for coffee, having had to ask the
 owner if he minded so much mud in his café!
 Did it grow? Indeed it did! It thrived, 
despite having been planted in circumstances 
that any gardener would have said were 
entirely wrong! It formed a natural protective 
barrier to one of the ground floor windows, 
and is still there today, thriving, so many 
years later. 

Thank you, Caroline, for this memory 
– one of so many!


I would say that Caroline was a quiet,  calm, 
patient,so talented but modest  person. She 
was always available to drop her life to help 
with yours when  needed. I shall miss her 
example and remember for a very long time. 


Caroline Murtagh
 After joining in 2004, we soon benefitted from one of 
Caroline’s many skills - she catered for our Human 
Trafficking Conference, without any idea of the number 
of attendees. On retirement she was the main cook 
at the ‘Homeless’ Diner, providing hearty meals for 
the most vulnerable as well as being a volunteer 
elsewhere. When diagnosed with cancer she was 
determined to keep going: she made Linus blankets 
and through ‘lockdown’ was sewing scrubs for her 
local Cottage Hospital. Her positivity about her 
treatment was a reflection of how she lived her life 
– with determination, serenity and a ready smile!



Picking black currants to make jam to sell to raise money



Irene talked  about the lovely times spent 
with Caroline picking blackcurrants in her garden. 
We did this for two years, sitting in the sun, 
hardly speaking, but just enjoying the peace 
and quiet –and the sound of the 
birds. Precious times with a very special lady.