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Winifred’s beautiful Bayside memorial service in Melbourne

A year before Winifred died in Melbourne at the age of 89, she made a request which surprised her family.

Win asked if they would mind if she donated her body to Melbourne University’s medical department for the purposes of scientific research.

At first, this was a challenging situation for her grown up children, but of course, their deep love for Win, meant that everyone readily agreed to her wish to donate her body to science. And consequently, it led to them researching memorial services, as opposed to a traditional funeral with her coffin present. Win’s last request pushed her family into doing things a little bit differently, which resulted in a ceremony they would become very proud of.

Thinking back on the day, after the memorial, Robert, Winifred’s son said this,

“I was very satisfied with how the day went. Personally, in hindsight, I think a memorial service is far preferable to the traditional church and coffin approach. The feedback that I have had from attendees is that they felt the memorial was lovely.”

Primarily, there was a sense of pride as her children saw their Mum’s choice to donate her body to science, as proof of her incredible generosity and selflessness. Robert said this, “The decision was really representative of Mum in that she always put others first – she was always working for the greater good.”

But planning a memorial service, as opposed to a traditional ceremony, had other surprising advantages. It gave the family many more options when it came to where to host the event and other ways to personalise it.

Robert, his sisters and brother, chose the Beaumaris Motor Yacht Squadron club in Melbourne’s bayside suburbs, overlooking the waves. It was a beautiful day, and the venue coordinators did a great job in setting up seating and audio-visual equipment. This ensured the memorial ceremony, run by Tomorrow’s Head of Memorial’s Kate Morgan ran smoothly. Family members chose to share their stories of Win, and a delightful tribute video was shown too.

Because there was no coffin present, there was no rush to book the event. This meant Win’s family had time to travel from all over Australia, Hong Kong, and Argentina too. The family were surrounded by family and friends at a time when friendship is so very important.

Guests were invited to come to the memorial wearing Win’s favourite colours. The group wore specular bright reds and pinks, and this was matched by Win’s favourite and very colourful flowers which filled the room. It felt happy, sunny and light.

To finish what was an inspiring set of tributes and stories, guests were asked to join in for a surprise sing-along to Winifred’s favourite song, “I’ll Never Find Another You” by ‘The Seekers.’ The song lyrics were handed out and as the group began singing enthusiastically, the curtains were pulled open to welcome in the sunshine across the bay. It was an unforgettable moment and a moving end to a beautiful ceremony.

The final advantage of holding a memorial at an event space like a yacht club meant that the group could move straight on to celebrating Win’s life. Robert said “We loved that the day was seamless.. No need to stand around or travel to other locations.”

Drinks were brought out, toasts were made and delicious food arrived on platters. It turned into one big family reunion, which was a perfect way to remember this wonderful, loving Mum and Grandmother.


Winifred's Memorial funeral

In tribute to Winifred Bakker

“I’ll Never Find Another You” by The Seekers.

There’s a new world somewhere

They call the promised land.

And I’ll be there someday

If you could hold my hand.

I still need you there beside me

No matter what I do

For I know I’ll never find another you.

There is always someone

For each of us, they say.

And you’ll be my someone forever and a day.

I could search the whole world over

until my life is through

But I know I’ll never find another you.

It’s a long, long journey

So stay by my side.

When I walk through the storm

You’ll be my guide, be my guide.

If they gave me a fortune

My pleasure would be small.

I could lose it all tomorrow

And never mind at all.

But if I should lose your love, dear,

I don’t know what I’d do

For I know I’ll never find another you.

But if I should lose your love, dear,

I don’t know what I’d do.

For I know I’ll never find another you.

Another you.

Another you

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