Beating Drum's Funeral

1.30pm on Wednesday 19th January at The Friends Meeting House, Nottingham

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Beating Drum died peacefully in her sleep at 1am on Friday 17th of December 2021.

She was a unique and cherished friend to many people. She was a loving mother to me, and loved deeply by her family, including her siblings Ronan, Theresa and Gay.

Want To Attend?

Too late I’m afraid, it’s over. But you can still check out the photos and videos below.

We are also working on editing footage to upload here.

A big thank you to everybody who attended on the day – in person or via zoom – for making it such a wonderful event. It’s no platitude to say that mum would have loved it, full of balloons, bubbles, colours and laughter.

Live Stream / Recording

We are working on footage to upload – please be patient.

On The Day

Beating Drum was never shy to talk about death, or what she wanted at her own funeral (bubbles, bright clothes, Rod Stewart and Jimmy Cliff). She told anybody who would listen that an anagram of “funeral” was “real fun”. She wanted her funeral to be a party.

Sadly, the party will not be in full swing, due to the pandemic. But there will be music, bubbles, and balloons (provided).

This will be a Quaker funeral.

1.30 PM: Meeting for Worship / Service

There are no formal prayers or service. Instead they accept that the Holy Spirit is present in those gathered together.

Attendees sit in quiet, until someone feels it appropriate to give a thought, or even a prayer if they wish, then the meeting lapses again into silence.

An experienced Quaker will perform the role of chairperson and help to run the meeting. 

2.15 PM: Burial

We shall proceed outside to the garden and bury BD.

2.45 PM: Social?

Mum would have loved her funeral to be a party.

However we have reservations with regard to highly transmissible nature of the latest covid variant .

We will try to hold a small social gathering afterward, the location of which will be announced nearer the time, perhaps on the day, depending on the weather.

The location will be outside and possibly under cover (if required).

Therefore, if you wish to attend, please bring your coat, hat and gloves.


No Flowers Please – Donations to Framework

BD wasn’t a fan of cut flowers (“don’t you think they would be better off left in the ground my darling”).

Instead we are requesting donations to Framework charity, as the homeless were often in her thoughts.    



Mum thought it was great fun being photographed and filmed. Here are a few spontaneous videos I have recorded over the last few years.

About Beating Drum

By Martin, Beating Drum’s Son.

When I was very young, I just found her a bit embarrassing. She would talk to random people in the street, offer a lift to strangers at a bus stop, wear odd coloured shoes and silly hats. And as if that weren’t enough, then she changed her name from Mary to Beating Drum.

As I grew older I began to realise that the embarrassing bits were what made her such a brilliant mum.

Firstly, she felt free to be herself. She never held back. She was true to herself to a fault.

Secondly, she knew how to enjoy herself. She would find fun in even the most mundane activities. She loved meeting people, helping them out and having a chat and a laugh.

Finally, more than anybody else I have ever met, she didn’t give a damn what anybody thought of her.

BD wasn’t a typical mum. She wasn’t the type to keep house – cook, clean and do the washing. That was my job.

But she did things that many other mums didn’t. She let me choose my own school. She treated my friends as her own. She sat up with us until the early hours. And she regularly drove into Market Square at 3am on a Sunday morning, in her bright yellow Ka, to pick us up after the clubs chucked out.

Her conversation was never mundane. She relentlessly pursued spiritual conversation, ideas and inspiration. The Quakers was her regular fix, but she also attended groups such as the Brahma Kumaris, Creative Spirituality and even the AA (she didn’t drink alcohol – but she considered their conversations authentic and “real”).

My dad said: “Mary, if the devil himself showed up you would invite him in for a cup of tea and a chat”

She replied: “Well wouldn’t you, don’t you think it would be bloody interesting?”

BD had a childlike love of bright colours, balloons and bubbles. But she also had a wicked sense of fun.

One of her favourite activities, right up until she died, was batting balloons around the room, ideally with a stick or umbrella. She would laugh and shriek uncontrollably if one hit me in the face, knocked off a lampshade, tipped over a pile of papers, or a knocked over a cup of tea (backed by video evidence).

BD laughed easily and had a wild cackle that could be contagious. She could laugh about almost anything, no matter how depressing, dark or inappropriate. Even during her own suffering, in the months before her death, we had many moments of fun together.

She didn’t take life too seriously. And she didn’t take death too seriously either.

She would tell anybody who would listen that FUNERAL was an anagram of REAL FUN. She asked for a Quaker funeral, a cardboard coffin, bubbles, balloons, Rod Stewart and Jimmy Cliff.

So you know what to expect!

RIP Beating-Drum (aka mum).

By Gay, Beating Drum’s Sister

If you had known my sister when she was a young girl, you would never have imagined that she would mature in the way she did.

She was very popular amongst her group of girlfriends, all of whom seemed to be called “Mary” So there was Mary H, Mary Mc, etc.

She was particularly good with young children and rode a Lambretta which was her pride and joy. Once when trying to make a quick dash to church on a Sunday, a few miles away, she put on her coat over her pyjamas, but unfortunately came a cropper along the road, and had to be rescued!

Beating Drum was born Mary Brocklesby in London in 1934, and moved with the family to Dublin in 1948 when our parents retired. Our father Douglas Brocklesby, was English, from Grimsby, one of 14 children of a medical doctor (who died in 1901!) and our mother, Teresa Ronayne, was from Holyhead, where her Irish father was a sea captain.

There were four of us, Ronan 4 years older (RIP Jan. 2022), then Theresa 3 years older (lives in the USA), and lastly me, 9 years younger.

I live in Dublin, but have also lived in Rome, Pakistan and the Middle East. We lived in Clondalkin, a village suburb of Dublin, where there is a 1,000-year-old round tower built by the Normans. She went to school in the Dominican Convent, Eccles St., and later did a B. Comm. degree in University College, Dublin.

She worked for a while in admin in the Meath Hospital. but then decided to go for a year to teach English in Naples, after which she lived in London, then Birmingham, finally settling in Nottingham.

Seeking alternative approaches to life gradually became her main quest. She was never happier when questioning the norm. Alternative approaches to life, in medicine food, philosophy and religion, etc. were her default position. She explored the most unlikely ideas and joined the most amazing groups and movements. To say that she had an enquiring mind, was an understatement!

Before she finally retired she worked in Out of this World, an organic supermarket whole food shop near her home in Beeston.

By Andrew Parsons

BD was undeniably one of the most very special people in my life from childhood to adulthood. All daily challenges seemed to ease a little in Harmony House, and we had brief chats or long ones coloured by a wisdom, understanding and an extraordinary intuition for people that defined BD. 

She frequently reminded me to “live in the NOW my darling” and every time I swore she reminded me to “mind the ether”.

Coffee mornings on Saturdays with Einar and Martin, Myself could go a little awry, but in a fun with BD governing; sometimes other close friends joined us such as Bee and Judy over the road, but that was part of the day. We played balloon ball or table tennis made up for the morning moments to be replaced in the evening by chilled late night chats by her fire in the second room of HH. – Gorgeous moments.

By Mark and Susan Parsons

We were part of the community that surrounded BD. BD joined in the local wholefood Co-op and she named it Sunflower. This group met regularly for 10 years or so. We met and protested together about nuclear arms during the mid 1980’s Thatcher government. To the point of climbing fences to trespass on the MOD land at Chilwell. Your Mum went to Greenh common and camped with other women outside the airbase. Look it up online. She was also at centre stage when we formed and participated in the local Woodcraft Folk group. Bob and I made the oil barrel wind turbine. Your mum, Sheila and Lindsay with others and got together and decorated harmony house as BD couldn’t manage it on her own.

Einar was BD’s  husband and Martins Father. He came and helped extend into next door which took over a year. He was a good man.

BD’s “Gems”

Beating Drum had a collection of poems and quotes that she called “Gems”.

She was keen to share them and even filed them in a cabinet alphabetically so that she could dish them out to people at a moment’s notice 🙂

“If you love something, set it free. If it comes back, it is yours. If it doesn’t, it never was.”


“You don’t love hatred and evil, of course. You have to practice and see the real gull, the good in every one of them, and to help them see it in themselves. That’s what I mean by love.”

“You have the freedom to be yourself, your true self, here and now, and nothing can stand in your way”

― Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull

I love myself the way I am, there’s nothing I need to change,
I’ll always be the perfect me, nothing to rearrange,
I’m beautiful and capable of being the best me I am,
And I love myself just the way I am.

I love you just the way you are, there’s nothing you need to do,
If I feel the love inside myself, it’s easy to love you,
Behind your fears, your rage and tears, I see your shining star,
And I love you just the way you are.

I love the world the way it is, ‘cause I can clearly see
That all the things I judge are done by people just like me,
So tell the world of peace on earth that only love can bring
And I’ll help it grow by loving everything.

I love myself the way I am and still I want to grow,
The change outside can only come when deep inside I know
I’m beautiful and capable of being the best me I am
And I love myself just the way I am
I love myself just the way I am.

On Being Yourself

You must learn that you cannot be loved by all people.

You can be the finest apple in the world – ripe, juicy, sweet

succulent and offer yourself to all.

But you must remember that there will always be people who

don’t like apples.

You must understand that if you are the world’s finest apple and

someone you love doesn’t like apples,

you have the choice of becoming a banana.

But, you must be warned that if you

choose to become a banana,

you will be a second rate banana.

But you can always be the finest apple!

You must realise that if you become

a second rate banana,

there will always be people

who don’t like bananas.

furthermore, you can spend your life

trying to become the best banana

which is impossible if you are an apple

or, you can try again to be the finest apple.

“We see things not as they are, but as we are”

“Perfect love casts out fear. Where there is love there are no demands, no expectations, no dependency. I do not demand that you make me happy; my happiness does not lie in you. If you were to leave me, I will not feel sorry for myself; I enjoy your company immensely, but I do not cling.”

― Anthony de Mello