Family come together for festive meal with an inspirational mum

Sylvia D'eath, front centre, pictured with her sons and daughters, clockwise left to right, Margaret

Sylvia D'eath, front centre, pictured with her sons and daughters, clockwise left to right, Margaret Tidd, Mary Rose, Teresa Ball, Kay Ebbage, Pat D'eath, Rene Brickley, Joe D'eath and Jane Lown. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Christmas is a time traditionally when families come together to spend time with one another and celebrate their union of love.

And for one family the guest of honour at a special pre-Christmas dinner at the Blue Boar pub in Sprowston was an 'inspirational' 86-year-old Sylvia D'eath who has not let her blindness get in the way of raising nine children, 21 grandchildren and 29 great grandchildren.

Teresa Ball, 53, Mrs D'eath's youngest child, was one of eight siblings who came together for the special lunch at the Wroxham Road pub just before Christmas.

Mrs Ball, from Poringland, said: 'She was there – pride of place.

'It was a little Christmas gathering. It was lovely. She loves it when we all get together.'

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Mrs D'eath, who was born in Suffolk did not go to school until she was 10, came to Norwich aged 16 when she worked at the blind institute in Magpie Road where she met her future husband, Cyril, who was also blind.

The couple, who married in 1952, lived at Magpie Road, before moving to Charlton Road in the city and then Losinga Crescent off Aylsham Road, which would become their family home.

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But Mrs D'eath and her husband, who died in 1989, divorced, meaning she spent many years bringing up her children on her own, but with the support of a home help who came to be viewed as part of the family.

Mrs Ball described her mother as an 'inspiration' who never let the problems with her sight affect her.

She said: 'She didn't see it as anything...because she's never seen. She's always said to me, 'I would rather be blind than deaf'.

'She's just unbelievable, really. She used to play ten-pin bowling, lawn bowls, she could play the piano and the accordion.'

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