Maria Lay (1955 – 1990)


24th April 1955 – 9th December 1990

Maria was born in Reading, Berkshire, the eldest child of Iris and Wasyl Jacura. Wasyl known as ‘Jack’ was a Ukranian who came to England after joining the British Army during WW2.  Settling in Reading, he met local girl, Iris and they fell in love and married.

Maria has two younger brothers Gary and Michael.

Carole, a friend of Maria’s had arranged a blind date through her boyfriend, and Maria met me (Peter Lay).  Nearly two years later, we were married at St Saviours in Reading a week after Maria’s 17th Birthday.  We had two sons, Simon and Jonathan.

We bought a house in Reading in 1975 and Simon was born not long after.  Maria began to explore a nursing career with people suffering from mental health.  In 1980 we moved to South Shields as I went to college to study Community and Youth Work at Sunderland Polytechnic (now University).  Jonathan was born in January 1981.

In 1982 we moved to London as I took up a position with the Alexander and Seventh Feathers Youth Club in North Kensington.  During our time in London Maria started volunteering with the local playgroup, before taking up a paid post. Eventually she became an area support worker for playgroups in Hammersmith and North Kensington.  She also became a School Governor at Oxford Gardens Primary School.  At this time Maria had her first brush with cancer, which was treated successfully with lazer treatment.

Just before Christmas 1987 we moved to Gloucester as I took up a new youth work post. Maria took a job as Office Manager at Gardner Bros, footwear distributors in Gloucester.

Maria had drawn over the years a few pictures and had written a little, but was now thinking about a children’s story.

However, at Christmas 1989, Maria was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy and by July 1990 the cancer was gone.  However the prognosis was not good and by September the cancer was back.  Sadly she died at home on the 9th December 1990, aged 35

Much loved and missed by all her family.

Maria Lay, Art