I've just had a phone call from Belinda Kalantar to say that her mother, Mary Jane Conway, had died a couple of weeks ago.
She couldn't give details, as the phone line was so noisy (I'd only just reported the problem to Telkom when she phoned), and I'll only be able to post this if there are enough clear second on the line.
Mary Jane Conway (born Parsons), or Jane, as she liked to be known, was born in Bristol, England, on 18 February 1928, so yesterday would have been her 79th birthday. She was my second cousin. Her mother, Nora Amy Hayes (1896-1982), was my father's first cousin.
Since my grandfather, Percy Wynn Hayes, had died when I was 7, I knew very little about our Hayes relatives in the UK, but when we got interested in family history I tried to find out more, and wrote to a lot of Hayes families I could find in the Bristol and Somerset telephone directories. One thing I did know, that my father had a cousin with the rather unusual name of Herrick Hayes, whom he had met when he had gone to England for the Scout Jamboree at the age of 14. One of these letters was passed to Jane Conway, and she wrote to me and we have been in correspondence since 1981.
We never met until a couple of years ago, when Val and I took a holiday in England, visiting ancestral places, and we spent a day with Jane Conway and other Hayes relatives in Bristol and North Somerset.
In the photo are Josephine Tsegaye (born Hayes), her sister Catharine Stokes (born Hayes), Jane Conway, and Steve Hayes.
On that day we fetched Jane in Bristol, and went to visit Josephine at her home in Kelston, near Bath, and then Jane came with us and showed us the ancestral home at Axbridge, and Winscombe, where earlier generations of the Hayes and Allen families had lived
We hoped that one day we would be able to save up enough money to go and see her again, but, sadly, that was not to be.