A DEVOTED wife of 52 years and much-loved mother, grandmother and great grandmother, Mary Wilkins was a well-known face in Totton where she was always the first on the dance floor at any party.

Born in 1947, she grew up in Manor Road in Woolston with her five brothers and one sister and discovered her love of dance at the local youth clubs.

She was just 15 when Mary, née Fielder, met the love of her life Rod on the dance floor at The Royal Pier in Southampton and they remained devoted to each other until the very end.

They were engaged on her 18th birthday, married when she was 20 and went on to have three daughters Andrea, Kerry and Emma.

The couple moved to Totton, then Calmore in the 1970s and Mary had various jobs over the years including as a teaching assistant at Calmore School, in Lloyds pharmacy in Totton, at the shop then known as Sperrings on Salisbury Road and at Totton College.

A loving grandmother of six and great grandmother of two, Mary was a dancing queen who loved a night out at the Testwood Club or Totton Social Club and would often be asked to teach impressed onlookers how to jive.

She was also a fan of karaoke and enjoyed dressing up as she holidayed on cruise ships, even being singled out by the Captain and being asked to dine at the Captain’s table. Many milestones, including Rod and Mary’s golden wedding anniversary, were celebrated during cruises to locations including the Caribbean and the entire family enjoyed a special four day break to Bristol just last year.

Daughter Kerry Wheeler said: “She was so vibrant and everyone who knew her loved her. We were so proud of her.

“We will remember her for her fighting spirit and courage right until the end, worrying about everyone else rather than herself.”

Mary passed away earlier this month aged 72 after a long illness. Her funeral is due to take place this week. Numbers are limited due to current restrictions, but a memorial service for Mary will take place at a later date.