The Revd Robert Norwood writes:
ROSEMARIE COCKAYNE, who died on 3 February, was in her younger
years a dancer of great distinction, and later a talented artist
and designer. She was a committed Anglican churchwoman, with a
strongly ecumenical outlook and an active involvement in
Rosemarie (née Biggars), whose father was Scottish
Canadian, was born in Montreal, but came to the UK in her early
childhood. Initially, she attended the once well-known,
fascinatingly progressive Miss Ironside's School, in Kensington.
From there, Rosemarie, who was a wonderful friend to many, formed
friendships that lasted all her life. She went to the Royal Ballet
School, and soon adopted, initially for stage purposes, her
mother's surname Cockayne.
Leaving the Royal Ballet School, her career quickly developed.
She danced internationally, her stage life culminating as prima
ballerina at the Basle State Ballet.
While in Switzerland, she started to paint, and, returning to
England, she studied at St Martin's School of Art and Morley
College. Thereafter, she drew and painted in diverse media, holding
many exhibitions. A close friend and influence was the Revd Tubby
Clayton, whose portrait she drew in pastels. Additionally, she
designed stage sets and costumes; those executed for the Dublin
City Ballet have recently been accepted by the Irish National
Theatre Archive in Limerick.
Rosemarie's contribution to Christian life, particularly in the
diocese of London, was committed and diverse; so only some of her
activities can be mentioned.
An especial love was the Church of St Bartholomew the Less,
where she was churchwarden for many years. She strove always to
make this lovely church a shrine of prayer and a place of Christian
welcome. A lover of nature, she planted and tended a beautiful
garden around the church, while spending regular hours as a
compassionate hospital visitor in Barts. In recent years, she was a
volunteer in the chaplaincy team at the Chelsea and Westminster.
This kind lady, with a wonderful smile and gentle manner, was,
indeed, still visiting and comforting patients when she knew that
her cancer was terminal.
Rosemarie was for many years involved in the ministry of St
Paul's Cathedral, and later was a keen volunteer at Westminster
Abbey, involving herself there in many ways.
Beyond her use of her talents as an illustrator for Christian
and other publications, a very special contribution was her
untiring work in the field of art in the community. She was
artist-in-residence for Provident Row in east London, running
workshops for young people, addicts, and visitors to the drop-in
centre, and was also engaged in similar work in various other
venues. Another strong interest and involvement was the Connection
at St Martin-in-the- Fields, where she played a significant part in
developing the annual service commemorating the homeless who have
died on the streets of London or in hostels.
With her dancing background, she realised how music and movement
could be beneficial to the frail and confused. She formed links
with Roman Catholic and Anglican convents, working in this way with
elderly nuns, some suffering from Alzheimer's.
Rosemarie formed strong links with the Carnegie Hero Fund Trust
when they were providing support to a friend of hers who had been
seriously disabled seeking to save a neighbour who was being
criminally attacked. She herself over many years provided
invaluable loving assistance to this heroic man.
Her love of animals and birds was so strong that her commitment
to animal welfare cannot go unmentioned.
Rosemarie's requiem was celebrated in St John the Baptist's,
Holland Road, which was packed to the doors with people from many
walks of her life, a few being homeless people who had come, having
heard of her death.
Rich though her contributionwas to Christian life in London, she
also always maintained contactwith another St John the Baptist's
Church, her beloved family church in Cockayne Hatley, where her
ashes will be laid to rest in the churchyard.