General News

Bob and Sandra Welham

In Memory Of Sandra Welham

This has been a very sad week for the U3A Vall del Pop and the local community as we said goodbye to our long term Secretary and dear friend, Sandra, who sadly lost her battle to cancer after a brave fight.

It had been Sandra and Bob, her husband’s, intention to step down as Secretary and President of the U3A Vall del Pop at the AGM at the beginning of March this year after many years of dedicated service to enable them to enjoy more free time together and to travel more. Sadly this was not to be.

My husband, Chris, and I had agreed to apply for the positions as President and Secretary to allow them to step down, knowing there were successors who would continue their hard work and commitment with the support of the Committee, Associates and members.

Sadly Sandra became unwell in December and she and Bob continued to lead remotely, still very interested and involved and supportive.

They will both be a very hard act to follow and we are grateful to the Committee and Associates who remain in place to support us as we find our feet.

Sandra’s funeral took place at Denia crematorium on Tuesday 5th March on a beautiful sunny day. Unsurprisingly some 170 came to pay their respects, a testament to Sandra’s popularity and the love and affection we all felt for her.

A celebration of her life followed at Casa Claudia’s, Jalon, for close friends and generous donations were made by many on behalf of Cancer Care (Javea) who provided invaluable help, support and care in her final weeks at home. If anyone wishes to make a donation you can do so via:
Pay Pal at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Or via bank transfer: Baco Sabadell
IBAN ES 8200810660030002454149
Please mention it is for Sandra.
We hope to plan a musical celebration of Sandra’s life in the coming months in aid of charity as music was a huge part of her life.
He husband, Bob, wishes to thank everyone who has sent messages of condolence, affection and support and donated in her memory. Please accept this as his personal thanks.
I attach copies of the eulogies which Father Sami and I were honoured to present for those who were unable to attend.
Kind regards
Paula Barrett

sandra india

Eulogy in memory of Sandra Welham

  • 1st Music on entry Love of my Life – Abba
  • Welcome, service and prayers by father Sami
  • 2nd music: Somewhere over the Rainbow – Eva Cassidy
  • Eulogy: In memory of Sandra, a truly inspirational person and very dear friend

I wasn’t fortunate enough to have known Sandra for as long as many of you have, I know there are a lot of long and strong friendships here today and my heart goes out to you all.

But I was blessed to spend a lot of time with her in the past weeks since her diagnosis in December and we talked for hours about anything and everything and I grew to know her well and about her and Bob’s life together.

What came through strongly, as you have heard from Father Sami, was her faith which was very important to Sandra and I spent a very special afternoon with her recently explaining to me what it meant to her and how it brought her comfort and I know it helped her greatly in her final weeks.

Also her very deep love for her “sweetie” aka Bobby. After 42 years of marriage their love was as strong as ever and they truly were best friends, doing everything together, supporting each other and making each other laugh, yes, even at Bob’s jokes!

So where did this love affair between Bob and Sandra start? Sandra was already well established in her career as Head of PE in Bristol and Caldicott when sadly she was widowed in her late 20s. Along came Bob some 2 years later carrying red roses and charming her instantly with his boyish good looks, his book of jokes and a head of hair!

They soon married and built a wonderful life together both in the UK and in Saudi Arabia where Bob further developed his retail career and Sandra quickly became established in the International School for 6 years, enjoying tennis, amateur dramatics, scuba diving and international culture, but no wine! The scuba diving came as a complete surprise to me!

They bought an apartment in Tenerife as a bolt hole which they enjoyed for 18 years and eventually moved back to the UK until it was time to consider retirement to somewhere with a warm, seasonal climate which saw them settle in the Jalon Valley some 16 years ago.

A quiet life certainly wasn’t on the cards though as they threw themselves wholeheartedly into working for Jalon Valley Help and the U3A. After only a year Sandra was established in the newly formed U3A Vall del Pop and was a driving force in it becoming a strong social hub. Together they have worked tirelessly to enrich the lives of others: running the U3A, setting up groups, leading trips, attending endless social events and raising money for charity - always willing, always cheerful, friendly and welcoming – and made many valued friends along the way.

Ladies Dining was established for socialising and is enjoyed today by many and the Goodwill team has gone from strength to strength organising many charity events to raise funds for a spread of charities in the area as well as working with local charities.

Bob and Sandra shared a great love of music and Sandra believed having a brother who was 9 years older who enjoyed listening to Elvis and Rock and Roll meant she was exposed to music from an early age.

She possessed a beautiful, very pure singing voice which we heard last Christmas when she sang a solo at the Christmas General Assembly and we will now hear her again in her rendition of “Wind Beneath my Wings.”

  • 3rd music: Wind Beneath my Wings – Sandra

To further her commitment to socialising and her love of music Sandra formed the Casual choir, the Vall Del Pop singers, was a founder member of The Entertainers, sang with Caprice, the all ladies choir, and the Denia Rock Choir over the years. If that’s not dedication I don’t know what is.

It is all credit to Sandra that the Let’s Sing Together social singing group has blossomed into such a success and brings joy to so many people. Her criteria for it was that members should come away feeling uplifted through the power of music (and coffee and cake!) and with a smile on one’s face. It certainly achieves its criteria and we will continue to sing in your honour.

It should be said that Sandra chose the music for today’s service herself and with Bob’s support.

This is the story of a truly remarkable, inspirational lady who lived her life to the fullest, who loved and laughed and gave so much to so many.

If there were more Sandra’s in this world it would undoubtedly be a better place and her passing leaves a huge hole in all our hearts.

It won’t surprise you to know that even in Sandra’s darkest days she still wanted to know everything that was going on, asked after others, offered advice and support and was patient, tolerant and understanding as was her way.

Gerry and Mary kindly brought Father Sami to see Sandra in hospital on 2 occasions and I know she found this very comforting. When she came home she was very calm and at peace and ready to meet her Mum again who she loved dearly. She was not bitter or angry or complaining, only concerned for Bob, a testament to their love and her exceptional strength of character.

I would like to pay credit to Bob who has been at Sandra’s side constantly whilst in hospital and at home, never leaving her alone and looking after her every need. His response was always “she’s my wife”. Bob, you are 1 in a million. We even managed to laugh that life had become centred around sick bowls and commodes, but you never complained such was your love for Sandra.

Heartfelt thanks must also go to Louisa, Sue and Julie, Sandra’s wonderful carers, who have been angels and supported them both during these past weeks at home. They are very special people indeed and we couldn’t have done it without you. Unfortunately Julie cannot be here today as she is in the UK awaiting a new grandchild, a new life begins.

You were a truly inspirational person, Sandra, and a very dear friend and this is reflected in the many, many messages of affection and admiration Bob has received. You will always be in our hearts. Rest in peace now reunited with your Mum and knowing we will all be here for Bob always.

We will now hear the last of the 4 songs that Sandra chose for today entitled “Slipping through my fingers”- Abba and take the time to reflect and say our private goodbyes before we leave.

bob sandra museum of illusions

Eulogy by Father Sami

I had the honour of meeting Sandra several times recently as she looked for peace in her final weeks.

I met a very special person with a devout practising Catholic faith, strong moral values and qualities, and who had clearly contributed much to her local community and charities for many years as well as to her pupils throughout her teaching career.

Sandra was born in 1950 and was the youngest of 2 children born to Maria and Horace Cole in Wolverhampton, having a brother, Peter, some 9 years older.

Sandra said she was always the “younger kid sister who got in the way” and remembers that her brother always broke her dolls, typical brother and sisterly love.

She was an excellent student at both a Catholic school and college and, not surprising to those of you who knew her, was Head Girl, Head of Sports and Head of Netball and generally a very competitive person who always believed if you are going to do something you should do it to the best of your ability.

She excelled at tennis, lacrosse and netball, but disliked hockey as she considered it too violent.

After school Sandra had to choose between a career as a professional singer or to train as a PE teacher and decided that the safer option long term was to become a teacher which I am sure benefitted many hundreds of pupils over the years.

In later years she also taught General Studies and religious studies which covered a variety of religions, demonstrating her open mindedness and tolerance of others.

I understand Sandra was a very principled lady, a very positive person who saw the best in people, who strove for the best and encouraged others to do the same. A truly admirable human being.

bob sandra


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