MARGARET Joyce de Bowen was extremely active all her life, until her illness.

She did much church work as the wife of an Anglican priest, especially while the family were living in South Africa, where she ran the church soup kitchen to feed poor children in Port Alfred.

She had a very strong Christian faith, a sense of compassion for those in need, and the courage to put those characteristics into effect; so much so that she was warned by the police to refrain from working in dangerous parts of the townships. For these and other good works, she was invested as Dame of St John , and later awarded the Order of St Lazarus of Jerusalem.

Margaret was born in Epsom, Surrey in 1926. She was happily married to her husband, the Rev Alfred William de Bowen, for 59 years. She was a talented amateur artist, painting portraits, landscapes and heraldic art.

She died on March 30, 2007, at home in Ilminster and the funeral was on April 4 at Yeovil Crematorium.

She leaves her husband, three children, five grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.