Downton Abbey creator pays tribute to Diss Museum volunteer, dead at 93
The creator of Downton Abbey has paid tribute to his pen-pal cousin, a 93-year-old volunteer at Diss Museum, who died earlier this month.
Tributes have been paid to Elizabeth Mooney, a former nurse from Diss, who died at Walcot Nursing Home on Thursday June 18.
The mother-of-six came from a distinguished family; her father being a clerk of the House of Commons and her cousin, Lord Julian Fellowes, the Academy Award winning writer and creator of ITV drama Downton Abbey.
“She lived a long and interesting life and, I would say, used her time here well,” said Lord Fellowes, 70, who also serves as a Conservative Peer in the House of Lords.
“She was a very affectionate mother – she very much enjoyed bringing up her children, and the people they became. She also liked to keep in touch with the outside world and her views were always worth hearing.”
Mrs Mooney was born in London to Lady Ella Mary Fellowes and Sir Edward Fellowes, who served as the clerk of the House of Commons between 1954 and 1961 and was awarded the military cross for his service during the First World War.
“She was very acute, with her father in such a key political position,” added Lord Fellowes.
“She never lost her desire to be up to the minute, and understanding the issues of tomorrow – she was always interested in what was going on right now; she never got left behind, and I think that was an extraordinary quality, really.”
He added that the nature of their relationship was primarily through letters – something he shared with a number of Death Row inmates, who Mrs Mooney would also write to regularly.
Lord Fellowes added: “I corresponded with her for many years, and I learned a good deal about the family, of course, but also about the events we were living through.
“She was a very intelligent woman, always. I shall miss her very much.”
After meeting her husband Robert Mooney, a former upholsterer, in 1953, the pair moved to Scole, where she instantly became a recognisable figure in the community, working at Scole Nursing Home and the now closed Scole Cafe.
After moving to Gislingham in 1987 and mourning the death of her husband, Mrs Mooney moved to Diss in the late 1990s, when she began volunteering at Diss Museum and working as a volunteer and befriender at Mind in Stowmarket.
Basil Abbott, who works at Diss Museum, described her as a “good friend and great lady”.
He said: “She was a good friend to all who knew her. She was a keen supporter of the museum, always attending and often helping to finance our events.
“In her 90s, she was still walking to the museum to be a steward; and even acting as a steward in the carnival.”
A regular contributor to the Diss Express, Mr Abbott described her letters as having a “genuine concern for the town”.
In addition to her six children, she leaves behind 17 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren.
Her daughter, Roella Trudgill, added: “She was a naturally caring person, and we will all miss her tremendously.”
More by this authorJoe Hadden
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