While the battle of The Somme was raging in France a little girl was born ina small terraced house in the Welsh village of Loughor. Olive Emma Howellswas born on 9 November 1916, the daughter of William Howells, who was a gas man at the steel works, and Minnie Mardon, a migrant from Devon. Olive was brought up in a home where prayer and the Bible and Sunday worship were important. She had early memories of going with her father to the nearby Welsh chapel on Sunday mornings.
As she grew up dark clouds of the great depression were hovering over the industrial south Wales and Will was for many years out of work. In order to try and raise some income they scratched for cockles in the beds of the Loughor river estuary. It was a difficult period but they found that Jesus provided for their needs.
Although Olive was brought up in a Christian family she started to be rebellious and began to drink and smoke and swear and live a life far from her Christian upbringing. But God had his hand on her life. During a meeting at the Salvation Army when she was 16 the Holy Spirit convicted her of her rebellion and she trusted Jesus as her Saviour. Her life was changed.
Four years later Olive left the security of her South Wales community to travel to Denmark Hill in south London to enter the Salvation Army Training College. The 1937 - 1938 session was called the Enthusiasts which reflected her keenness and desire to make Jesus known. Her first appointment as a Salvation Army officer was to Alysbury, then to Chelsea and to Portslade where she learnt to play tenor horn and also got engaged to Ben Fellingham. They married in Gorseinon on 26 May 1943. In 1945 David was born and Christine in 1949.
By this time Ben and Olive were not full-time SA officers but were fully involved in the Salvation Army at Aldershot where Olive led a very successful children's and youth work. Their home was filled with young people and young soldiers on national service in Aldershot. 39 Grange Road, Tongham was a place of hospitality. In her 40s Olive took over running the women's work (Home League) in which many ladies came to know Jesus as their Saviour. At the same time she used to go out speaking at various women's fellowship, often going off on her bike to remote Surrey villages.
As time went on David married Rosie and Christine married Michael and grandsons Luke, Nathan, John, Simeon, Timothy and James came along. She delighted in all her family and was a great encouragement to them all. It was a lovely sight to see Olive reading to her great grandchildren Lucy, Jesse, Poppy and Ella at her 91st birthday party. And three days before Olive went to her Lord her fifth great grandchild Audrey Mae was born.
Even though she missed Ben a lot when he died in 1993, Olive never lost her joy and continued to show love and hospitality to many of her friends at CCK.
In the last three years she has been wonderfully cared for at The Pilgrim Home in Brighton. And while her memory was dim and her joints were sore she never forgot her Saviour. Her tambourine playing and Welsh singing entertained many. As a child Olive sang. On the street corners Olive sang.In the Salvation Army Songsters Olive sang. And in her last weeks she would sing and pray in her bed. The singing has not stopped, for Olive is now singing among the millions worshipping at the throne of our Redeemer Jesus.