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From Finland to Somerset for a life on the land

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: September 16, 2013

Meeri (Marie) Bartlett, who has died aged 83, was employed at Barrow Court, Galhampton, Somerset, by Colonel Boles and family around 1950

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Meeri (Marie) Bartlett, who has died aged 83, was born to a farming family in Finland but lived most of her life in Somerset. Mrs Bartlett, of Galhampton, died suddenly but peacefully at her home.

At a service of thanksgiving for her life, the Reverend Tristram Rae Smith said: "Marie was born to a farming family in Pusula, Finland in 1930. She came to England with her brother Oliver to train as a cook and was employed at Barrow Court near Galhampton by Colonel Boles and family around 1950. She met Trevor Bartlett, her future husband due to the fact he was working on his father's farm at Firtree which was conveniently next door. Romance blossomed, and whilst Oliver continued his travelling, finally running a hotel in Australia, Marie stayed and settled in Somerset, marrying Trevor in 1953.

"They had two sons, Reijo and Timo, whilst farming at Merrylands, which continues to be the family home. There are many happy memories of hay making with the rest of the family all mucking in, and some favourite memories are of suppers around the kitchen table at Cockhill Farm with Gilbert and Joan Lee, Maureen and Alison, Robin Bartlett and various local policemen, usually including Gwyn Phillips. There was always a crate of Newcastle Brown Ale under the table." Rev Smith added: "Similar good memories were day trips to Exmoor or Charmouth with the same people and Jean, John, Alex and Dougal Pilgrim, when it always seemed sunny often accompanied by Roy, who was always prone to wandering off. Exmoor always remained a favourite spot for Trevor and Marie, who spent many days exploring and enjoying its tranquillity, and visiting brother Pat and Jean.

"Marie always had a smile and time to chat to all her many friends and would always be first to help out, latterly working in a charity shop in Castle Cary until ill health forced her to stop. Her good character has been passed down to her three grandchildren, Kerry, James and Daniel, who she was always extremely proud of.

"She would be the last person to want to see everyone in sadness and I hope this day can be taken more as a celebration of a very wonderful and lovely lady, who will always be much loved and missed. She would be the first to say chin up and enjoy life to the full. She endured her losses with great strength and always looked forward, not back. I hope that her friends and family here today will do the same, as she would have wished."

On the Thursday after the thanksgiving service, August 29, her ashes were interred at St Mary the Virgin churchyard, Yarlington, with her late husband Trevor.

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