The Parish Church of St George the Martyr, Waterlooville


Well over 300 friends cram-packed St George’s Church on Tuesday 1st February to give thanks for the life of Jules Shepherd. Amongst the tributes was this letter from her friend Sophie who lives in Australia:

Australia, 2011

Dear Jules

I am sorry that I cannot be there in person to join in the celebration of your life, but I would like to share a little of what you meant to me.

Remember how we first met? You, as organiser (such a Jules role) were in Cairns recruiting crew for the Venus and I was one of a group hoping to join the boat. What a motley bunch. Good job we were paying for the privilege! Fortunately, you and I hit it off straight away. I love the fact that you were game for anything and everything. It was crazy how we took that tinny into shark-infested waters, were attacked by green ants on a tiny island, dived off the rigging of the Venus and got lost in a nudist beach, but how we laughed. Everyone was caught up in that infectious smile of yours, that bubbling to the surface of the joy of living.  

And what about hitching to Alice? Whose idea was that? Yours, of course, even though you had to be back in Brisbane in 10 days. Unfortunately, none of the trucks were going our way so we just went in the direction of the traffic - to the Top End. That devil may care; ‘can do’ attitude of yours took us 5,930km from Townsville to Darwin and back to Brisbane in 9 days. And still we managed a weekend 4-wheel driving at Kakadu National Park. What an adventure, driving 24 hours round the clock, taking turns to sleep in the trucks while the other kept the driver awake, seeing people and places way off the beaten track. I’ll never forget it.

You even ventured to the Outback to see me at ‘Paracoonah’, the sheep station I was staying on. As soon as you arrived you wanted to try everything and I have photos of you riding a motorbike, driving the bulldozer, towing a huge scrub breaker with a ute and ready for take-off with Smithy in the plane.  Your appetite for new experiences was insatiable and you embraced each one with great gusto and humour, even skinny dipping in a muddy dam, though that may not have been number 1.

During our travels, it was uncanny how many similarities in our upbringing we discovered and to cap it all off, what luck, our parents lived only 25 miles apart back in England. How I loved those day trips, the hot-air ballooning, the college summer balls and weddings we went to on our return. With you, it was always ‘Lets do it”, including that trip to Portugal - like travelling again but in so much more style and comfort.

I’m glad that after my permanent return to Australia our friendship continued and whilst written correspondence was sporadic, catching up during my trips to UK proved nothing changed. The advent of a husband and children meant that you put the same drive and energy into your family that you expressed through all your life.

So my dear friend, I want to close by saying that though I will miss you, your famous Shepherd, nee Patterson grin, your enthusiasm, exuberance and your zest for life, you will live on in my heart, as you will in the hearts of all those who had the joy of knowing you.

Safe Travelling

Love you Jules


Winter Edition 2011

Jules Shepherd 1963-2011