Couple devoted their lives to Salvation Army

MajorsBlake2007: A loving Norwich husband and wife who devoted their lives to the work of the Salvation Army have died within weeks of each other.

Family members and colleagues have paid tribute to Major Eric Blake, 73, and his wife Major Valerie Blake, 75, who served in the Salvation Army for 50 years.

Major Valerie Blake died on June 7, 2007, and her husband on June 21, the day after his wife's funeral. Both deaths were from natural causes.

Major Ray Begley, who leads the Norwich Salvation Army, said: “They carried on working for us even after they had retired. That just goes to show the energy and vitality with which they consistently tried to help people.

“They were partners in work, love and parenting and now in their passing too.”

The couple, who celebrated their golden wedding anniversary in October last year, are survived by two children - Estelle, 38, and Marston, 46 - and one grandchild.

They moved to Norwich in 1985, and set about helping some of the city's poorest people as leaders of Norwich's Salvation Army for five years.

In 1990 the couple moved to Manchester to work with the Salvation Army, but returned to Norwich eight years later, where they stayed until their deaths.

Major Valerie Blake was heavily involved in the East Norwich Youth Project in the Dussindale area, where both she and her husband lived. Her husband focused on outreach projects helping Norwich's homeless.

Daughter Estelle Blake, who also works for the Salvation Army in London, said: “They were very involved with the young people and wanted to do the best they could for the community. We always said they never really retired; they saw the work of the Salvation Army and helping others as their vocation in life.

“Everyone in the family is so proud of what they have done and achieved. We have had cards and tributes coming in from people all over the world, as far away as New Zealand and North America. It shows how much they did.”

A service of thanksgiving for Major Blake took place at the Norwich Salvation Army in St Giles Street, Norwich, on Monday July 2, followed by a private family burial.

Article courtesy of www.eveningnews24.co.uk


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Published: 03/07/2007