Helena Frances Mary Vernon (nee Carey)

  • Born: 15 August 1950
  • Died: 4 September 2020

Helena, who died aged 70, was a committed social worker, avid supporter of the anti-apartheid movement and an advocate of the natural home birth movement. She was a gregarious, fun-loving individual with an irrepressible sense of humour and a tenacious commitment to the welfare of children. Helena trained as a social worker in Bristol where she met Max, the father of her two children Mahalah and Joshua. She worked in Bristol as a social work manager in Child Protection for many years with a loyal team and colleagues who supported children through traumatic and damaging experiences, and helped move them on to better places. Her work with the local anti-apartheid group included hosting numerous South African students in Bristol over a number of years. She was a great advocate of natural birth at home – enabling mothers to experience a less clinical environment during childbirth – and both her own children were born at home, experiences she valued beyond words. She was a welcoming and vibrant personality. Her home was a social hub, with an open door policy to all friends and neighbours. Helena had a large and supportive group of women friends who raised their children together in a boisterous and adventurous way. She was always an enthusiastic participant in any adventure, experience, outing or opportunity for fun. She loved a good trip to Devon, Sardinia, Greece, Wales or Cornwall with a group of friends and children. Helena loved Glastonbury Festival, missing only one festival since it started when her children were unwell. She reveled in the joyous anarchic creativity and the camaraderie of working in a team under pressure. She met her husband Dick when working at Glastonbury. They married in Barbados and remained constant companions for the rest of her life. Travelling gave them both great joy. Although sailing in the Mediterranean was one of Helena’s favourite activities, her highlight was a month crisscrossing the length and breadth of Madagascar. Unfortunately Helena succumbed to the ravages of alcoholism, which blighted her later years and those of her family. She suffered from dementia and latterly cancer, both of which she dealt with stoically and with typical courage. She died at home cared for by her husband. It was a sad end to a dynamic, generous, unpredictable and sometimes infuriating life. Helena is survived by her husband, son, daughter, granddaughter and three siblings. The many messages of condolence from across the world received by Dick and the family since Helena’s death reflect the lasting impression and effect that she had on many lives, both professionally and personally.

Helena, who died aged 70, was a committed social worker, avid supporter of the anti-apartheid movement and an advocate of the natural home birth movement. She was a gregarious, fun-loving individual with an irrepressible sense of humour and a tenacious commitment to the welfare of children. Helena trained as a social worker in Bristol where she met Max, the father of her two children Mahalah and Joshua. She worked in Bristol as a social work manager in Child Protection for many years with a loyal team and colleagues who supported children through traumatic and damaging experiences, and helped move them on to better places. Her work with the local anti-apartheid group included hosting numerous South African students in Bristol over a number of years. She was a great advocate of natural birth at home – enabling mothers to experience a less clinical environment during childbirth – and both her own children were born at home, experiences she valued beyond words. She was a welcoming and vibrant personality. Her home was a social hub, with an open door policy to all friends and neighbours. Helena had a large and supportive group of women friends who raised their children together in a boisterous and adventurous way. She was always an enthusiastic participant in any adventure, experience, outing or opportunity for fun. She loved a good trip to Devon, Sardinia, Greece, Wales or Cornwall with a group of friends and children. Helena loved Glastonbury Festival, missing only one festival since it started when her children were unwell. She reveled in the joyous anarchic creativity and the camaraderie of working in a team under pressure. She met her husband Dick when working at Glastonbury. They married in Barbados and remained constant companions for the rest of her life. Travelling gave them both great joy. Although sailing in the Mediterranean was one of Helena’s favourite activities, her highlight was a month crisscrossing the length and breadth of Madagascar. Unfortunately Helena succumbed to the ravages of alcoholism, which blighted her later years and those of her family. She suffered from dementia and latterly cancer, both of which she dealt with stoically and with typical courage. She died at home cared for by her husband. It was a sad end to a dynamic, generous, unpredictable and sometimes infuriating life. Helena is survived by her husband, son, daughter, granddaughter and three siblings. The many messages of condolence from across the world received by Dick and the family since Helena’s death reflect the lasting impression and effect that she had on many lives, both professionally and personally.