Memories and feelings about Christa from my brother John in New Zealand

It was always going to be difficult to really get to know Christa when 12,000 miles separated our families. However Sister in law and Aunty she was and we all share very specific memories of this friendly and welcoming lady. Our travel experiences were few and far between in those early days, but in 1987 the kiwi Mounces, by then a family of six, traveled to England for the big tour in the big transit van.

This was the first time we really had quality time with David, Christa and the young Peter. The nieces remember many things, digging the big hole which later turned into a fish pond. Chocolate crackle cake was a favorite from day one. We did some touring in the New Forest and everybody has good memories of that time. Top gun, played loud on the big TV, may well have helped Rachel focus on becoming a pilot!

Since then travel has provided many opportunities for a quick day visit to catch up as families try to do. All of the nieces have spent time variously in the UK or Europe and Christa was the first to call them, to send little cards for no reason, and make these young girls feel welcome and much loved.

At other times, and quite recently, we have walked the shores of Southampton waters, ferried to Brownsea island, enjoyed the odd pub lunch and many a nice meal at Chandlers Ford. We even had a harbour tour in somewhat cold conditions but it was made enjoyable by Christa's humour and determination to do something! Rachel and Harley visited in 2004 on their big adventure and were treated to a trip in the new Mini which really appealed.

Emails have done so much to encourage communications, and Christa has exchanged heaps of chatty emails with us so we feel we knew her quite well in these later years.

The news of her illness and the twists and turns that it has taken was distressing for all. Christa put up a brave and long fight, and always showed a determination to pull through. Even in recent weeks when John was able to visit for a couple of times, and despite some difficulties, Christa was keen to chat, to look at pictures and generally debate family and kids. The effort she made to get up two or three times in that last visit, and to walk outside to show off the new car, will be remembered.

David has been a tower of strength, supporting his beloved through many trials and challenges. Always there for her, he put everything into making her last weeks and days as comfortable as he could. We are so proud of his effort and the support from Peter. The massive support from close neighbours and friends has just been magnificent.

David and Christa knew what was coming and made their plans. Now is the time to acknowledge this fine lady for her life of devotion to her family, for her welcoming ways to all, to her tremendous courage as she faced challenges and lost quality of life but always remained strong and dignified.

David and Christa were joined at the hip, and now they are parted. Memories will not fade and we look forward to seeing David step out into his next journey but on his own, and know that he has the strength to step forward with Christa lending her guiding hand.

John, Lis, Michelle, Rachel, Claire and Heather — the kiwi Mounces

And Harley, Mikayla and Maddison