“I’ve had the best time. Time to go."

Those were the parting words of Annabelle Simpson, the much-loved former executive chairman of the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt League of Friends, which were displayed at a memorial service in her honour last week.

The great and good of Shropshire gathered at St John the Baptist Church in Whittington on Friday to pay their respects to Mrs Simpson who died last month, including former Lord Lieutenant Sir Algernon Heber-Percy and Lady Jane, Peter David, League of Friends Chairman, The Rt Hon Lady Trevor (League of Friends Vice-Chairman), and Mark Brandreth, chief executive officer at the Orthopaedic in Gobowen.

They were joined League of Friends Trustees, members, volunteers – decked out in aprons – and staff.

League of Friends charity director Victoria Sugden said the service was well-planned out and perfectly remembered a remarkable woman.

"It was a beautiful service presided over by the wonderful Reverend Prebendary David North who had known Annabelle for many years," she said. "Annabelle had given very clear instructions including that the service should not last more than one hour. This was achieved along with beautiful readings, songs and prayers from loved ones.

"Annabelle’s grandson, Alastair Preston, movingly read ‘Sonnet 18’ by William Shakespeare and his sister, Aurelia Preston, sang ‘Where is Love?’ from ‘Oliver’ both chosen by Annabelle.

"The congregation were incredibly touched – Annabelle would have been enormously proud of them both.

"Her dear friends Jackie Scarratt and Sophie Bignell gave readings and ‘An Appreciation’ was delivered by Helen Hughes, who worked with Annabelle for 25 years during her time as organising secretary for The League of Friends.

"Helen spoke of the tireless work Annabelle had led to support the hospital and her many achievements, not least the delivery of the £1.5 million hydrotherapy pool project. There were hilarious reflections too, including the time fox hounds demonstrating at the annual summer fete were overwhelmingly attracted by the food in the marquees and ran riot!

"Hounds could be seen chasing across the hospital field with full Victoria sponge cakes in their mouths."

The Eulogy was given by Erica Lockett, a school friend who spoke of some happy memories of their time at school and later in a shared flat in London, among other reflections.

Erica also talked of Annabelle’s time as a model and travelling across the world on her way back from Hong Kong.

Victoria added: "League of Friends members wore their aprons as a mark of the high regard and love for Annabelle at the end of the service – we think it would have amused her greatly!

"Finally the service closed and we were left with Annabelle’s last written words, printed so poignantly on the order of service.

"Annabelle will be sorely missed by those that had the privilege to know and love her."