Doreen Diamant (née Coke-Smyth)

It Is a pity that the party celebrating Dee's ninetieth birthday did not include a resume of what, by any standards, was an unusual and far from dull life. For the sake of family history, therefore, here are a few notes.

Mother, a tough Yorkshire type, further toughened through having been a Ward of Court, was fond of music, and determined that Dee should play the violin for a living. Dee was sent to study under the mother of Isolde Menges, a world class player at the time; a long traipse from Palmer's Green to Barnes. I was sore afflicted by the trios played weekly by Dee and Mother (piano) and Dr. Ransome (cello). The last was our doctor and lived in a large Georgian house at Old Southgate where the Underground station now is, and near which there was a blacksmiths/farrier - fascinating to small boys.

Dee went to Miss Howl's school at Palmers Green and was 'best friend' to Stevie Smith the poet. Singing lessons were added to the violin, and Dee often performed in Sunday concerts at the London palladium. There were also summer Concert party engagements at Ventnor and Shanklin, and she organised Trios at various big hotels, including the Grand Hotel at Scarborough, then owned by Dr. Herman Diamant - whom In due course she married. Dr. Diamant although a good doctor was really a property speculator, and various large houses In the West End and Regents Park passed through his hands. Finally No. 24 Park Lane was bought which was where the Hilton Hotel now Is. Problems with this and a block of flats on Streatham Hill. and the 'depression' eventually led to bankruptcy for the Dr was ahead of his time, although meanwhile he had been a director of "Challen" pianos.

After living for a time at Hurstpierpoint a move was made to Shortlands, near Bromley, and helped by Gordon Saunders of John D. Wood & Co. more property deals began to appear and were successful. In fact Dee became a builder, and there was money to spend again. When the Dr. died the connection with the Saunders family expanded and Dee came to live in Barnet, first at Hadley Hurst, then the Chase and now at Aynho. Life was pleasant, sociable and exciting, especially enjoyable were the gorgeous holidays in Scotland, hosting fishing parties at the 'Lodges' on Loch Quoich and Loch Afric.

One must mention in conclusion that the family has benefited enormously from Dee's generous support and - dare I say it - advice. Like her mother she always knows best. We all owe both gratitude end admiration

JRCS at Dee’s funeral 16 June 1992