26-Jan-2019 : Ermellina Elena Lacchin – ‘Lina’

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Mum sadly passed away on Sunday 26th January 2019 after struggling bravely with motor neurone disease for some time.

A service was held at St Peter’s  in Gloucester, conducted by Deacon Colm Robinson, followed by a gathering of her family and friends at Walls Social Club where some of Mum’s favourite music was played alongside a slideshow of many photographs taken at various times in her life, the oldest taken when she was just thirteen.

You can read her Eulogy below.

Ermellina Elena Lacchin – ‘Lina’


Read by Deacon Colm Robinson

Lina was born in a small village in north-east Italy at the foot of the Dolomite mountains, just a mile from the village where the Lacchin family lived.  When Frank was 24 and Lina was 18, he spotted her at a circus and fell in love with her.  He wrote her a letter but her parents didn’t approve, and Lina ended up going to Venice to work.  But Frank didn’t give up – he followed her and got a job there himself, and three months later he managed to track her down.  He persuaded her that he was serious and, more importantly, persuaded his future in-laws that he was serious, and they became engaged.

In 1951 Frank came over to England and got a job at an up-and-coming Italian restaurant in Worcester Street, the Don Pasquale, and by 1953 when he had established himself and found somewhere to live, he went back to Italy and married his sweetheart, and they came back to Gloucester and started building a new life for themselves.

Lina had two children, Rudy and Sonia, and worked hard to look after the home and bring up her children.  She was nearly sixty before she stopped going out to work as a seamstress, preferring instead to stay home and concentrate on helping out with her growing family of six grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.  She was very talented and could create an outfit seemingly overnight purely by looking at a photograph of it, and was always knitting – usually without needing to look at a pattern.  All the while Lina and Frank were sending money back to Italy to have a house built for their family over there.

Lina made a wide circle of friends as you can see if you look around you, and her family have been touched by the kind remarks they’ve received – that she was a lovely lady, and that she was so kind and helpful to others.  She was always very fit and active until a year ago, and used to walk everywhere.  In fact she was in her mid-70’s and still used to help out regularly at a nearby church.  She made every effort to attend because she said she “didn’t want to disappoint the old people”… many of which were younger than her!

Her illness was doubly cruel in that it affected her hands first, and she was forced to give up her handiwork.  She commented that what concerned her most was not being able to do other people’s sewing, and was worried that she might not be able to pick up her newest great-grandchildren, Daisy and Freya.

Lina was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, and would come running if help was needed, often looking after all six grandchildren for the entire day in their house in Stroud Road, where she would make up games for them to play in the garden – no computers or mobile phones in those days, just good old-fashioned children’s games.

I’ll mention a couple of these games now which I’m sure her grandchildren will remember…  One where Lina strapped cushions on to them, armed them with large sticks, and set them loose for some “harmless fun”.   Another where she placed large cardboard boxes over them and encouraged them to run headlong into each other.

Most of these games ended with everyone concerned collapsing in a fit of giggles, but that’s what grandmothers are for, isn’t it?  Rudy and Sonia only found out what their little darlings had been up to at “Nonna’s” because she recorded the events on a video camera for them to enjoy again afterwards!

But they never came to any harm –  if anything it did them a lot of good, and it was nice seeing the six cousins grow up so close to each other, a bond which persists to this day.  In any case, she was always there with sticking plasters in case of accidents and, of course, tons of pasta smothered in the famous Signora Bolognese sauce whose ingredients remain a closely guarded secret to this day despite her writing them down several times, always slightly differently and always with the suspicion that she was putting something in the saucepan which she wasn’t prepare to reveal to anyone else.

Lina loved deeply, and was deeply loved in return by every one of her family.  When she met that handsome 24-year-old from the next village all those years ago she couldn’t have guessed that she would be with him for the next sixty-six years.  She will be greatly missed by him and all her family but the happy memories she created will surely live on in their hearts for ever.