Special bus service put on to bring people to Ipswich woman's funeral

Hundreds of people gathered today to celebrate the life of Violet May Butler, who died in February aged 95

Hundreds of people gathered today to celebrate the life of Violet May Butler, who died in February aged 95. She was loved by so many people in the community, and she will be sorely missed. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown / Karen Walker

Hundreds of people gathered in Ipswich to say goodbye to a beloved “Caribbean Queen”. 

Violet May Butler was a beloved wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and great-great-grandmother, known for her big heart and generous nature. She died on February 2, aged 95.

Many arrived in style on a dedicated bus service in her honour, bearing the message ‘Mother Butler RIP.’ 

“There were around 400 people here today,” said Karen Walker, Mrs Butler’s eldest granddaughter.  

“It has been a total day of celebration. It’s been emotional, it’s been upbeat. People have been giving their tributes, singing songs, songs of worship. 

“We've had laughter and fun and jokes, we’ve danced, and this is everything Granny loves. 

“She's an amazing lady, and it was a total privilege to have experienced some of my life with this woman, and so say all of our family and everyone who was here.” 

Karen Walker is Violet's eldest granddaughter. She said it was an 'honour and privilege' to be raised by her grandparents.

Karen Walker is Violet's eldest granddaughter. She said it was an 'honour and privilege' to be raised by her grandparents. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Hundreds of people gathered for the funeral of Violet May Butler. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown

Hundreds of people gathered for the funeral of Violet May Butler. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Violet May Butler was a much loved mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and great-great-grandmother.

Violet May Butler was a much loved mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and great-great-grandmother. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Hundreds of people were in attendance at Violet May Butler's funeral, to pay tribute to a life well lived.

Violet May Butler was beloved by many people. Hundreds of people were in attendance at her funeral, to pay tribute to a life well lived. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

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Mrs Butler arrived in the UK as part of the Windrush generation. Her husband, David, had joined Cranes of Ipswich in 1957, and saved up for four years for Violet to join him. 

She worked in the NHS after moving to Ipswich, starting work at the former Brook Street maternity home, where Karen was born. 

Among the congregation were friends and relatives from all over the world, with many travelling from as far as the Caribbean, Canada and United States.  

However, many of Violet’s Ipswich friends and family arrived on the dedicated bus service, which was driven by Brother Clement of Bethel Church.

Hundreds of people gathered for the funeral of Violet May Butler

Hundreds of people gathered for the funeral of Violet May Butler, with many arriving on a dedicated bus service in her honour. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

The dedicated bus service arrived bearing the message 'Mother Butler RIP.'

The dedicated bus service arrived bearing the message 'Mother Butler RIP.' Violet's family are very grateful to Brother Clement of Bethel Church, who was instrumental in arranging this special service. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Friends and family have come from far and wide to celebrate the life of Violet May Butler.

Friends and family have come from far and wide to celebrate the life of Violet May Butler. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Pastor Nathan Simmonds at the funeral of Violet May Butler. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown

Pastor Nathan Simmonds at the funeral of Violet May Butler. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Violet’s faith was very important to her, and she was a regular member of Bethel Church, where she was baptised in 1987. 

“The bus was amazing. I travelled on the bus to the cemetery, there and back, and it was completely full,” said Miss Walker. 

“The feedback has been that it’s been the best funeral anyone has ever been to.  

“And the sun was shining – on our Caribbean Queen!” 

Violet May Butler will be remembered not only by her family, but by the whole Ipswich community. 

She leaves behind six children, 13 grandchildren, 16 great-grandchildren and 11 great-great-grandchildren.