Special bus service put on in tribute to 'one in a lifetime' granny

Tributes have been paid to Violet May Butler who came to Ipswich as part of the Windrush generation. 

Tributes have been paid to Violet May Butler who came to Ipswich as part of the Windrush generation. - Credit: Karen Walker

A 'one in a lifetime' granny who came to Ipswich as part of the Windrush generation will receive a dedicated bus route to her funeral.

Violet May Butler was born in 1926 in the parish of Clarendon in Jamaica. 

In her memory, Ipswich Buses has added a special route to transport attendees to her funeral, burial and wake on March 18. 

Violet May Butler was remembered for her giving nature and faith. 

Violet May Butler was remembered for her giving nature and faith. - Credit: Karen Walker

The congregation will be made up of family and friends from across the world, with many arriving from the Caribbean, the USA, and Canada.

Her eldest granddaughter Karen Walker paid tribute to the 95-year-old and said her grandparents empowered her to give back and help raise aspirations within her community.

Karen Walker paid tribute to her granny and Queen Violet May Butler. 

Karen Walker paid tribute to her granny and Queen Violet May Butler. - Credit: Karen Walker

She said: "I have the honour and privilege of being raised by my grandparents.

"Granny you are one in a lifetime. My sadness is comforted with the thoughts that we were together for so many years. My heavy heart is a product of the massive impact you have on my life." 

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As a "sickly child" growing up, Mrs Butler was referred for holistic treatment in Bartolas completing the journey with her sister on a donkey.

The doctor treating her was the aunt of her future husband David Butler. The couple married in 1951 and were together for more than six decades, celebrating their diamond wedding in 2011. 

Violet and David Butler celebrating their diamond wedding anniversary in 2011.

Violet May and David Butler of Ipswich celebrate their Diamond Wedding Anniversary in 2011. - Credit: Lucy Taylor 2011

They moved from Jamaica as part of the Windrush generation, with Mr Butler coming over first to join Cranes of Ipswich in 1957.

He saved up for four years to be able to bring his wife across, with the flight costing £87.

Violet May at the age of 30.

Violet May at the age of 30. - Credit: Karen Walker

The couple then spent the next few years saving to bring across their children and their stories featured at last year's Windrush Exhibition at the Hold.

After moving to Ipswich, Mrs Butler began working in the NHS, starting off at the former Brook Street maternity home, where her granddaughter was born.

Mrs Walker said: "She absolutely loved that job, when it closed down she was gutted."

She recalled how her grandmother would always find a way to cook up a meal - especially fried chicken.

To staff at her local Co-op she was affectionately known as the "chicken lady" as it was often on the shopping list, with more tributes pouring in online.

"She liked cooking for people. Food was a part of her culture. A lot of people know her as mum, granny or aunt Vi," she added.

Violet May 90th birthday celebrations

On her 90th birthday. From l-r children Freddie, Eric, Lynne, Ruby, Violet and friend Ivy Turner, and sons Barry and John. - Credit: MartaSkiba

Mrs Butler, from Castle Hill, died on February 2 at the age of 95 and was the head of five generations, made up of six children, 13 grandchildren, 16 great-grandchildren, 11 great-great-grandchildren and one grandpet. 

Mrs Walker said: "She gave love, she gave advice, she gave a listening ear, she gave financially, that's her secret."

David and Violet May Butler aged 80.

David and Violet May Butler aged 80. - Credit: Karen Walker

Faith was important to Mrs Butler who was a regular member of Bethel Church, where she was baptised in 1987. 

Brother Clement from the church helped the family to arrange the special bus route, which will be signposted under MOTHER BUTLER RIEP bus. 

Mrs Walker said: "Brother Clement has been instrumental in arranging an Ipswich Bus to help with transporting attendees for the day and has also kindly offered to drive the bus himself on the day.

"My response when Clement told me that Ipswich Buses would be running the bus was 'God is good' and tears came to my eyes as I know granny deserves it all. 

"When I extended our thanks to Brother Clement and asked him to pass on our sincere gratitude to Ipswich Buses, his response was 'It's a privilege to serve our family'. 

Violet May Butler moved to Ipswich when her husband David joined Cranes of Ipswich in 1957. 

Violet May Butler moved to Ipswich when her husband David joined Cranes of Ipswich in 1957. - Credit: Karen Walker

"That statement is the evidence of the impact granny has had on everyone she has met in her life and as a family we continue to feel this love and compassion because of this great lady, our Queen."

For more information about the service is available at https://violetbutler.muchloved.com/