By Jamie Salter
A kind-hearted woman well known in her community is being remembered for her warmth and friendly spirit.
Diane Beckwith, affectionately known as Di, was devoted to her community and the business in her name – Diane’s Dry Cleaning Boutique in Berwick.
Diane was the proud mother of Juanita and Troy, stepmother to Steven, Shane, Mark, Dean and Ashley and grandmother to 12 grandchildren.
Diane’s funeral was held at the Bunurong Memorial Park and attended by many.
“The funeral was chockablock, you couldn’t fit any more people in there,“ loving husband Lance said.
“Everyone knew Diane – she was such a kind person.“
Diane died at age 73 after she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in February this year.
She was born in Wales, in the town of Merthyr Tydfil on November 18, 1948.
At just nine years old Diane’s mother died followed by her father three years later.
Diane was separated from her sister Pat and taken in by a family before moving to Australia at the age of 15 to live with her older sister Mary.
“Mum said moving to a foreign country to live with complete strangers was terrifying and and she said she cried the whole way on her 28 hour flight,“ Diane’s daughter Juanita said.
“Little did she know she was going to be welcomed with open arms to her new home where Jackie, Sharon, Lindsay and Michelle became like her new siblings.“
Diane settled in and began working at the Notting Hill Hotel where she met her husband Lance 51 years ago, who was struck by her bright smile.
They soon married at a venue in the Dandenong Ranges and were wed for 53 years.
Along with a dry cleaners in Cranbourne, the couple opened the Berwick dry cleaning business about 23 years ago where Diane worked every day.
Juanita described her Mum as “courageous, dignified, and kind right to the end“.
“Mum always knew how to brighten someone else’s day and make them feel loved with that polished, softly spoken voice that made everyone feel welcome. She treated everyone with the same good heartedness and respect,“ she said.
Diane had a fierce love for her children, always ensuring their happiness above all else.
“If we were happy, she was happy,“ Juanita said.
“Mum was all about living selflessly, generously and positively.“
As well as her beloved children, Diane also had a fondness for animals.
Over the years living with horses, cats, chickens and dogs.
“The one thing Mum loved to do for herself was shop for new clothes,“ Juanita said.
Diane also loved to dance and was the perfect host for Christmas, Good Friday and dinner parties, making sure everyone was having a great time.
“I always knew that the moment the song ’Love Is in the Air’ would begin to play that through the crowded room Mum and Dad would come together and dance like no-one was watching,“ Juanita said.
Diane will be remembered for her heart of gold, her courage and her kindness.
“She touched so many lives and warmed so many hearts – our lives will never be the same.“