Mrs. Helen Braginton of Wrentham, Alberta, much loved daughter of Mr. Walter Braginton and the late Mrs. Annie Braginton, and Mr. beloved wife of Mr. Simon Bateman, passed away at the Raymond Hospital, on Tuesday, May 11, 2021, at the age of 56 years.
This is read to you by Tom Hofer who is just one of many trusted and respected friends.
This is very much for Helen’s father, Wally, and Simon, Helen’s husband and all of her many friends and family- wherever they may be.
Simon would like to thank, the plethora of people who have supported and helped him so much over this time, both sides of the Atlantic. They know who they are, and they army of professional dedicated staff of the Alberta Health Service. Thank you all so much.
Helen was born in the small village Wilstone, Hertfordshire, England at the house that is still the home of her father, Wally, on a blustery day in March of 1965 by the local nurse, nurse Carter. At the age of 5, she started at a local farm her lifelong association with horses. Taught to ride on a black Shetland pony by Cynthia, still a family friend.
In the late 70’s, her father secured a position in the Middle East. So, with her mother and father, she moved to Bahrain. There she was converted to the American lifestyle, due to her two years at the American school on the naval base. Her burgeoning love of horses was boosted by the ladies of the British club who ran a riding school. Her main event there was racing, as she rode for one of the wealthy local Arabs winning some races due to her fierce style of riding and light weight.
From there on, when dad moved, Helen moved, gaining her British airways flyers logbook of which she was very proud.
Returning to England as a teenager, things were not so rosy. Helen was often in trouble at school, until her form master (teacher) had the great idea of letting her bring her pony to class one day. Things changed from that day on.
After leaving school she was employed as a groom for a show jumping team based in Watford, England, traveling to Europe for events. She once won a trophy for best groom at the Horse of The Year show at Olympia, a large and major event in the U.K. During that period, she even spent one summer season as a Jouster on horseback, but even she decided it hurt too much.
That lifestyle continued until 2000. Her mother became ill, so she moved back to the family home and worked in a deli as a cheese specialist, or as Simon called her a “Cheese Queen”. In May 2000 she moved to the next village, near her parents’ home. Long Marston. Her house was next door to Simon’s. After several passing nods, and not so friendly mutual sneers, they finally spoke through Simon playing his drums (badly). She decided it was just too much. She got his attention by throwing stones at his window. When Simon approached her over the garden fence expecting at best some Anglo-Saxon expletives, she surprised him, “if I give you a beer, will you stop your drums?”. Well, that was it. They were off to the races. How little did he know it was actually off to countless horse shows and three day events in a knackered 1978 Bedford-Restored and maintained of course by Wally. And Helen now had her own groom, Simon.
After the sad passing of her mother in August 2000, she bore the loss stoically. Being an outdoor girl, she soon tired of being a Cheese Queen, and with the support of Wally, started her own mobile gardening service, gaining several clients. She was soon off to work locally with her trusty tools, trailer and constant companions, her dogs Ed and Alf.
Naturally she had a horse stabled nearby, and several hours at the start and end of every day were dedicated to “FATS”.
In 2009 we moved to Wrentham, Alberta. A complete lifestyle change for all. And of course, FATS, Ed and Alf came too, as did Wally, for several months he toiled tirelessly in his “Mister fix it” role and has visited a further six times for several months each visit. There were more horses bought and she made contact and helped at some English style riding stables, where people were impressed with her style, manner and knowledge.
There have been several horses come and gone. However, nine years ago she bought two six-month-old foals, notably, “WEED” who unfortunately a couple of years later contracted Laminitus, After consulting vets, the prognosis was not good at all, but with the collaboration of a good friend and respected Farrier, Chris Ferguson, and coupled with her own extensive research, Weed enjoyed six further years of pampered and pain free life. To the extent of the early period of Weed’s recovery laying carpet in the yard for a comfy and cushioning walk from barn to arena.
Although she was not a saint, she was straight talking, would listen, and digest before comment. She abhorred banality and gossip. Respected all folk, so long as reciprocated. Simon’s work takes him away. She toughed it out on her own miles from town. For those that have not experienced such an existence, it is hard to grasp perhaps. In winter it can often be friggin’ brutal. Never did she even once feel like quitting this beautiful, welcoming, country. The province of Alberta and it’s people. She embraced it and loved it. There is a bumper sticker here “Alberta Strong” HELEN
Simon lucked out EH?
To borrow a motto. “Per Ardua ad Astra” or “Through Adversity to The Stars”
My sincerest thanks to you Tom, my good friend.
OUR ENGLISH ROSE.
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