Marilyn Cantele – A brave and beautiful woman who we will always love and remember

Posted: 6 April, 2024 | Category: Current News Category: Features & Analysis

Marilyn Cantele 1948-2014. Her funeral service was conducted by Father George Webster SJ at St Patrick’s Church Wapping on Wednesday 16 April, 2014. After the ceremony Marilyn’s devoted husband Gabriele and their daughter Lidia spoke to us about a wonderful wife and mother who they will always love.


It’s hard to believe that Marilyn died 10 years ago this month.

Jane and I went to her funeral on April 16, 2014.

There will never be another gathering (in England) of so many people who once had a lot in common, who once knew and worked alongside one another during the end of Rhodesia and start of Zimbabwe.

It was the last time I saw James MacManus, Michael Farr and his lovely wife Anna, and so many other people, including of course Marilyn’s Italian husband and daughter, Christabelle King, Felicity Wood,  Liz McClelland from Raffingora and so many other people there that sad but strangely beautiful day.

I  represented Lawrence Vambe who was unwell and who had been moved into a very pleasant but very expensive centre for elderly people in North London.


Marilyn who will always be remembered with love by all who knew her (Picture: Trevor Grundy)


Lawrence adored Marilyn and so did Lawrence’s late wife, Mary.

John Burns of the ‘New York Times’ turned towards me and said – ‘Which one of us next?’

Sadly, his wife of years standing, Jane Scott- Long, died not so long afterwards.

Of course, Marilyn  had friends around the world. Not all  of them could be in the church that day and then the surprisingly joyful events after the funeral service in a Roman Catholic Church in the East End of London.

I am both happy and sad that I knew Marilyn. Sad, because there was so much left unsaid.

It’s as if a whole world we all once lived in has gone with the wind, with so few understanding what it was all about and why. And I mean events in Africa not just in Rhodesia


Marilyn –  Father Webster SJ described her  at a funeral service in London as ‘ beautiful inside as well as outside.”


The Jesuit priest who conducted the service, Father George Webster, said something so true and so lovely. He said, ‘She was beautiful inside as well as outside.’

 Towards the end, the only man Lawrence Vambe wanted at his side was Father Webster. I managed to get hold of this old and much trusted man but he was ill and he never said goodbye to Lawrence who I miss more and more as the years tick past.

Marilyn – beautiful inside as well as outside.

She certainly was and none of us who knew and loved her will ever forget her.

Marilyn made fiends for life.

I remember some of them – Louise (Gubb), Heidi (Holland/Hull) Dee (Hemmings) Jill (Froud)  Barbara (Jordan)  Laura (Borrell) Michelle (Faul) Maggie (Steber) Elizabeth (McClelland) and Jane (Grundy). And so many more.

  • Trevor Grundy