Vale Hannah Louise (1987 – 2024)

Death leaves a heartache no one can heal
Love heals a memory no one can steal

Great Grandmother – Hannah (Annie) Poole (nee Marks) 1886 – 1925

Hannah was the much loved daughter of Cathy and Tony, sister to Richard, and grand daughter to Dick and Dell Fetherstonhaugh, and Joan and Ivan Taylor. She was born Hannah Louise Fetherstonhaugh on the 2nd November, 1987, and was named after her maternal great grandmother Hannah (Annie) Poole (nee Marks), and her maternal grandmother Joan Louise Taylor (nee Poole).

Grandmother – Joan Louise Taylor (nee Poole) 1923-2015

Hannah’s parents shortened their family surname from Fetherstonhaugh to Fetherston when Hannah was seven. At age 18, Hannah then went on to legally change Fetherston to Morgaine in an act of rebellion against, as she put it, “the patriarchal control of society”. In celebration of her marriage in 2021, Hannah and her wife Rebecca Pigney decided to adopt a different shared surname, that of Wolf. At the time of her death Hannah had not fully completed her change of name, so her death certificate records her as Hannah Morgaine, otherwise known as Hannah Louise Wolf, formally known as Hannah Louise Fetherston. Hannah was most commonly called Hanny or Han by those who loved her.

Hanny out in the paddock at Swan Point with her Dad, Tony

Hannah was a first child and began life living at Swan Point in Lower Kalgan, Albany, in Western Australia (see right). Albany and its surrounds always held a special place in her heart as she grew older and after the family moved to Perth they spent many holidays there visiting her grandfather Dick, who lived at Oyster Harbour. She particularly loved the coastline and places such as Shelley Beach at West Cape Howe (below), Castle Rock and Emu Point

Hannah was a joyful, loving and adventuress child, willing to try out and give anything a go and she had a gentle caring nature that captivated those who came into her path. She was up to exploring anything new and was very mischievous. Something that always stayed with her.

Hannah (16y) & her brother Richard (15y) at the the top of Devils Slide, the highest peak of the Porongurup Ranges 2003

From 3 months of age Hannah loved books and being read to, and by 12 months it was not just one book reading at bedtime but her whole library of (many) books that had to be read, and she would read along to all the words. This beginning saw her speaking and reading much earlier than her peers. As she grew older she was always quicker and knew as many words (or more) than others, which meant it was almost impossible to win an argument with her, even for her parents. She went on to become a talented writer, although she never published. Even from primary school she aspired to own a children’s bookstore when she grew up, or to become a teacher, which she eventually did. Here is an excerpt from a video of Hannah reading to children during the Covid lockdown

Hannah’s childhood held a magical quality for her where she made strong nostalgic attachments to Lenin, her red bear and Hamble, her doll; and traditional events such as Christmas, and birthdays. Her love of the magical led her to collect fairies, a love that extended into adulthood. Such nostalgia also helped to sustain her when she experienced difficult times as she grew older, and she wanted nothing more than to be able to provide such a joyful early life to a child of her own. Sadly, although she had begun the process of assisted reproduction before her death, this never came to pass.

Hanny: I’m a fairy

Xmas at Romford, Essex, 2023

Hannah’s fairy collection

During her primary school years Hanny was very earnest about her learning, always hungry for knowledge and always wanting to do the very best she could. She excelled academically and was also accepted into the music program, learning the cello in Y3, and then later the piano.  Hanny also was fun loving and had a wicked sense of humour from an early age. She particularly loved the Australian and Canadian styles of humour. She adored watching the Red Green Show and Home Improvement with her Dad and thought Corner Gas was terrific, but she also loved the Muppet movies with her Mum!

Hannah’s nature also meant she became very sensitive to the world and its troubles. More than that she had an uncanny ability to read situations and sum up people and relationships in an instant. However, that did mean she found the rocky road of girl friendships very hard in the later years of primary school, – but once she reached high school she found her niche with a great bunch of friends , with whom she could share the challenges of adolescence (slideshow below). At high school she received honours twice in Tournament of the Minds, and was Belle of the Ball at her Year 12 Graduation.

Han & her best friend, Jenny

In her primary school and teen years she also grew to love playing sport, especially netball where she played for Tingara Netball Club for 10 years as wing attack, centre & wing defence, and ultimately went on to umpire the junior teams. She also loved to play cricket and swimming in the backyard pool with her brother and playing football with the boys at school sport. She particularly enjoyed tackling the boys and generally having the opportunity to get the better of them. She would have loved to have had the opportunity to play Aussie rules football in a real team but of course girls and women playing AFL was not available then. She was was a long term Dockers tragic from the time of their inauguration.

When she was 14 she discovered, after hearing a program on the radio, that she was a synesthete. Hannah’s form of synesthesia is that whenever she read, or heard letters, words or numbers, they were also attached to a visual sensation of a certain colour and Italian accents made her nauseous. Until hearing that program she thought everyone interpreted the world around them like she did, and its her synesthesia that has influenced her wonderful love of colour in her life.

In high school she discovered drama, cutting her teeth on school plays, before going onto to standup comedy and acting at university. She performed Standup at the Hyde Park Hotel Comedy Lounge, the Brass Monkey, and Lazy Susan’s Comedy Den, where she also worked, and Hannah also performed in plays with the WA Youth Company; such as Fairytales on Thin Ice by Claire Hooper, on which Hannah was also invited to do some co-writing, and The Stratagem of Interlocking Rings coadapted by her then boyfriend Kit.

Jenny, Hannah, Tani, Gin and Jacob at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2006
Hannah performing Standup at Lazy Susans

Of Standup, Hannah said: ““its pretty suspenseful – waiting for the laughs , but you’ve just got to get up there and give it a shot, otherwise I’d regret for the rest of my life. So I’ve had a couple of gigs around the place, its so much fun. You get to write, direct and act in what is basically your own show. The trick is not to take it too personally, you’re not always going to get a laugh. But when it does work, its the biggest thrill!”

Hannah first studied Law at the University of WA after high school but then left Perth for Melbourne to further her experiences in acting and stand up comedy, and began a Degree in the Performing Arts. However, she began experiencing significant mental health issues and became quite ill, needing to return home to Perth, where she was diagnosed with Bipolar II. Over the years and up to the time of her death she struggled with the management of the disorder, but despite this, she always had a strong drive that propelled her forward in life and she became a strong advocate for the social justice, and particularly the welfare of children. She had immense compassion for others, but also had little patience for those who did not share that compassion or her ideals of social justice and equality.

Once back in Perth she returned to her first love, that of books and writing, which saw her complete a Bachelor in Professional Writing and Publishing. She was also elected Women’s Affairs Officer for the Student Guild at UWA. Although she never completed a book or published, it was her goal to do both, and she was still writing most days, right up to the end, perfecting her craft and planning to publish the book she was working on. After completing this degree she worked at Fremantle Press on the editorial desk.

While working at Fremantle Press Hannah decided to pursue a Masters in Education to become a primary school teacher. She also then became heavily involved in volunteering, with teaching children of the Sudanese migrant community on the weekends (right and below). I like to think she influenced many young lives at this time, and for her work, she won the University of Western Australia’s Chancellor’s Convocation Medal in 2016 (below).

Hannah & Bec 2015

Around 2015 while Hannah was still studying her education degree she met her now wife Bec online, but with London and Perth 9000 miles apart there was at that time no thought of romance. Instead, over time, a close friendship developed culminating in Bec visiting Perth a couple of times. Romance blossomed and developed into something more serious and Bec then ended up staying in Perth for a year. At the end of 2017 they moved, with Hannah’s cat Pidge, to Essex in the UK, to be close to Bec’s home. Hannah then began teaching at Mead Primary School.

Hannah & Pidge

Hannah had lots of challenges as a new teacher having to teach a different year group almost every year during the 6 years she was there. But she loved the kids and was devoted to making their learning experiences the most enjoyable and colourful they could be. She in particular loved sharing stories to illustrate concepts and used props she brought from home to help with their learning. She genuinely loved seeing them learn in a positive environment and made sure they were in the best environment possible from providing basics like food to the kids who came to school without breakfast to sharing or gifting her own books and helping to build their imagination and aspirations. On her LinkedIn page she wrote: ‘I flourish most when teaching complex students experiencing the adverse effects of poverty, trauma, and learning difficulties. I take inspiration from the Circle of Security model, have a proud reputation of being a ‘soft touch’, and believe it is a teacher’s responsibility to see the good in their students. I don’t give up.’

Hannah also loved gardening, photography, dressing up to the nines and cooking – she had 3,400 Instagram followers on her site where she cooked Karen Martini recipes. Hanny also traveled with her Mum in 2023 to explore her Fetherstonhaugh roots in Ireland and her Taylor/Poole Roots in Wiltshire and Wales.

Hannah & Bec became engaged in 2019 and married in 2021 during Covid (slideshow below). Before Covid they had an active social life where Hannah especially loved going to the theatre, seeing musicals, and dancing and she was devoted to the love and care of Bec after Bec developed a chronic illness.  

Over time Hannah devoted more time to study in order to complete a conversion course to become a UK National qualified teacher, and as she settled into her new role in the UK she also became more devoted to the advancement of social justice, equality, LGBTI+, teacher’s rights and occupational fairness. She then became a teacher union representative and before her passing was in training to become a joint union branch secretary.

Hannah’s last months had been difficult for her with continuing physical ill health and increasing depression, for which she was largely unable to access the healthcare attention she needed. After returning to work after a months sick leave in January of 2024 she contracted a Strep A respiratory infection, which quickly became pneumonia and then sepsis, leading to her death at Queens Hospital in Romford, eight hours after her admission. Her death came as a great shock to her loved ones and work community. The many children who meant so much to her, and her to them, wrote many wonderful thoughts and memories (below) as a memorial to her.

‘Remembering Ms Wolf: A tribute to an outstanding teacher who blessed our school with love, light and colour’. Provided with thanks from Mead Primary School

There is of course so much more to tell, but I hope I’ve been able to convey Hannah’s vibrancy, the passion she had for the things that mattered to her and her love for life and those around her. Hannah was not religious but she was spiritual. Hannah was more than her body and her mind. At least for much of her short time here, life was a joy to her and she understood she was part of a stream; a lineage. She and all of us are part of a stream that runs way back to the time of creation. So our beautiful Hannah is reconnecting with her ancestors in the stream that came before her, and which will continue flowing after her.

Although far too soon for us, Hannah has let this body go, let go of feelings, emotions, and all those things we call our identity. Although this person, the mind and body we called Hannah, no longer exists, what does remain is our memory of her as a person who was able to touch the blue sky in a very deep way, and in such moments, awareness manifested itself deeply in her. She was fortunate, as many people never experience this. Farewell Hannah Louise, you are in our hearts forever. We share this final slideshow in honour of Hannah’s memory, – dream big, sparkle and shine brighter, love well and laugh longer, remember Hanny, and always look for the colour and beauty in life.

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die

A poem by Mary Elizabeth Mary Frye 1932

If you knew Hannah we would love to hear your memories and thoughts below

6 thoughts on “Vale Hannah Louise (1987 – 2024)”

  1. My dear dear friend. You accomplished so
    much in your short life. You were amazing and I will treasure every moment I shared with you. We used to have such a giggle in our classroom and you will be sorely missed so much. Thank you Cathy for this perfect tribute to a fantastic person. My heart is with you. Much love ❤️

  2. Cathy, how beautifully written, I can see where Hannah got her writing skills from.
    I first met Hannah when she would’ve been around 10 years old. As we lived a few houses down her street, there was often little chats in passing. Sometimes she and her brother Richard would play with my two children, both being a bit younger.
    Hannah was always quick with her grinning smile and keen searching eyes. Often a question or two to feed her curious mind, followed by some pearl of wisdom from Hannah’s perspective.
    Hannah had an innate way of finding humour in unexpected situations.
    It quickly became apparent to me that Hannah was very bright. She was quick to join the threads of conversations, whether she was a part of them or not.
    As Hannah matured into her teens and beyond, I had less to do with her, but yet enough to see that she was driven to excel in areas where her noted passions lay.
    A great loss to her family, friends, everyone that knew her and humankind.
    Hannah’s selfless generous spirit to improve other people’s lives will always be remembered.

  3. Dear Hanny.
    One of my favourite times was many years ago, at Grandads for a visit over the Christas period.
    Magic time rolling down the sand hills at Nannarup.I was always up for the challenge but could not refuse.No pressure!🥰
    Such fun,you were truly having the best time.
    A walk through the ,”scary,” but beautiful tree’s,followed.You
    asked if you could take a picture with my camera.(Before mobile phones,)A beautiful picture and happy memories transpired.It is still hanging on my wall.
    Think of you often as I walk by or glance at it.Fly high dear Hanny,you will always be missed and loved.
    Aunty Nise.💜

  4. What a splendid young woman. Thank you for sharing this commemoration of Hannah. Much love xx

  5. Oh Kathy,
    I have just finished reading this story of your beautiful Hannah. An amazing person. Sending love. 💜 from Libby.

  6. Oh Cathy, my eyes are weeping and my heart is bleeding for you. Your beautiful daughter and such an impossible loss. But also such a positive impact on those who knew her, few people can say that at the end of their lives. Much love

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