Felixstowe High School
Thomas Bennett School
Newry High School
Kirkton High School
|Ask the Family
Some years ago, I was especially asked by the wife of a departed colleague, if I would say a few words at the funeral service. Some of you now here were also present at that service for a mutual friend. It seems right somehow, for someone who has been a close friend, to be a link between those of us who are here and the friend who has just left us. So I am mindful, that I am perhaps representative of you all here present.
Kit, who we are remembering now, was also attending that funeral service. And it seems that she too remembered the few words that I spoke on that occasion, to the extent that it was her recent wish that I too would find a few words, maybe, a few comforting words, that she is able to take with her.
I am happy to be able to fulfil that wish of Kitís since I only arrived from abroad a few days ago and I shall be leaving again tomorrow.
I first met Kit, shortly after the end of the war. I had finished my wartime service and had returned to civilian life and was then back at work. It was then that I met her husband Harry.
One lunch time he drove me from Park Royal to his home at Torrington Drive in South Harrow, petrol was rationed still and we drove in his Morris 8 - the same car that he was to teach me to drive in. So I met Kit for the first time, as a young mother she was holding a baby of some few months old. That baby was David, now so grown up and long before the time that Martin was due on the scene. Later Kit was to become especially proud of Martinís scholastic achievement.
In many ways, Kit was a unique person; I cannot recall any time that she had something bad to say about anybody. She was very charitable in her outlook and showed great concern for the under-dog. She had a good enlightened mind, and was not afraid to stand by her views, whatever.
Kit had her set-backs in life but she had special talents, one of them for committee work which ensured that she was always in demand in the many organisations to which she belonged. Latterly she was press officer for her local club.
I remember again, as if it were yesterday, and yet it was some years ago, the time goes so quickly. Kit had organised a night of poetry reading, pieces of prose and poetry submitted by people of all walks of life and of all ages. I was again privileged to be asked by Kit if I would undertake a reading. I do not remember the details now, but it was a rather well written piece, with good rhyming lines, in a modern style by some young person, in a very jabberwocky way. It was quite a hit and the whole evening was a success as a result or Kitís efforts.
There was another time when she had organised an evening in support of her Business Womanís Guild. There were a good many people there with something like a dozen or so different nationalities. The highlight of the evening was the lighting of the Candle ceremony. Being an International Night, prayers were said as the central candle was lit, then the other candle bearers, each representing their country, lit their candle one from the other so that symbolically speaking the spreading light stood for peace and enlightenment amongst nations.
That now is how I feel about Kit, the light from her candle has touched many other candles and the light from her work is still spreading outwards. Kit was not a very sentimental person, she was too straightforward. In her role of wife, mother, and friend the light that she gave will still continue to burn. In recent months she showed great fortitude and bravery in coming to terms with her illness, she was ready to meet her maker and one thing I am sure of is that she would not want anyone to go away in sadness but always remembering the light that still shines from her small candle.
My brother phoned me to say that my father was in A&E with a suspected stroke so on the following morning I had to drive over to Harlow. He had been placed on the Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP) for the terminally ill. I visited my father in hospital on the Monday evening and again on the Tuesday morning and afternoon. He was not really conscious and he passed away on the Tuesday evening. It was good timing that he didn't linger longer and that I was there to see him.
"He's had a long and well-lived life, and although this was unexpected, it is good that his suffering has been kept to a minimum."
Susan (his neice) wrote:
"He had a good long life and a loving family around him. He thought the world about you boys as you did him."
Sue from Westbourne wrote:
"He had 'a good innings', as they say, and you would not have wanted him to suffer for months on end."
Sue from Swindon wrote:
"Harry was a lovely gentleman & I will always remember the laughs I had with him."
"I look back on last year's cruise (M1212) spent with you both with fond memories."
"I remember meeting him when I lived in Swindon, a very charming gentleman."
"Good that you were not away somewhere and were able to be there."
Jacqueline (his neice) wrote:
"He was a good old boy and I always enjoyed his biting humour."
"I am so sure he was proud of his children."
My brother started falling over and eventually had to be taken in to hospital, where he went downhill quickly. I visited him here on Sunday the 7th of July with my sister-in-law Pam, but he was not really aware of us. Treatment for his multiple conditions was stopped that evening. He passed away on Wednesday the 10th, probably of motor neurone diasease. His funeral took place on Friday the 26th of July.
Our cousin Sue wrote:
"Oh dear, we are both sorry to hear this. Please can you keep me informed of how things progress as I would not want to bother Pam at this worrying time. When you speak to her say that you have let us know and we are hoping things get better for him and they are able to find out what is wrong. We send our love to you all."
"We are very sorry to hear from Pam about David passing away so suddenly, it must have been a great shock to you all. At least you were back here when he was taken ill and were able to go to see him in the hospital. Our thoughts are with you and Pam at this time. All our love."
"We are very sorry to hear David is so poorly Martin. We will be thinking of you all and send our love."
"We are so very sorry to hear David passed away while we were on holiday. Itís good that you will be back and able to go to his funeral, will be thinking of you at this very sad time and especially on Friday."
Our cousin Jacqueline wrote:
"Oh Martin ... I am so sorry to hear that. Please keep me informed as to what the condition could be. I suppose he is in his early seventies."
"Pam sent me an email today ...very sad news. Jean and I send our sympathies."
My neighbours wrote:
"Really sorry to hear your very sad news. Please accept our deepest sympathy. Our thoughts are with you."
"Brian joins me in offering our condolences on the sad passing of your brother David."
"So sorry to hear of your brotherís death."
"So sorry to read about your brotherís death."
"Sorry to hear about your brother."
"Harlow - Friday the 26th of July 2019
We frittered away the morning, until Pam's brother Peter and his wife Kathy arrived from Sandy in Bedfordshire. At 11:45 the hearse and stretch limousine arrived. I sat with Pam in the middle seats with Peter & Kathy in the back. We got to the crematorium ready for the service at 12:15. We went in to the Dambusters theme and left to the Great Escape! The front row consisted of Pam, Peter, Kathy, myself, Marion (their eldest sister) and her husband Pete.
There were about 150 people present, so they spilled out of the chapel into the porch. Debbie the celebrant had known my brother David from the age of 14, so she was able to give an accurate portrayal of his life. We sang Jerusalem, but it wasn't a religious service. Outside again, Pam had to greet all those people who weren't coming back to the wake. I chatted with several people including my father's dear friend Renťe and her two daughters Hazel and Anita. I recognised and spoke to Anne Barnes, formerly Spartley.
When everyone had been spoken to, we departed again in the stretch limo bound for the Royal British Legion, of which Pam and David had been long time members. About 100 people came for the extensive buffet and free bar. I chatted with various people including Marion & Pete, but sat with Jill & Roy. The neighbours from opposite were Clare and Ian, the latter a kiwi!
I spoke to the two little old ladies who had accosted me on a cruise, but who had now had to give up cruising. I remembered David's old best friend Eric from Milton Keynes, but not his wife Carole. The last guests didn't leave until five o'clock, when we walked back just 200 yards down the road.
When Peter & Kathy left to drive back to Sandy, I offered to take Pam out for dinner. I used their mobile phone booking service to reserve a table at David's favourite restaurant, the Harvester in North Weald at 8 o'clock. We both had the salad starter and the rump steak, Pam finishing with the mini cheesecake and me with the enormous Rocky Horror sundae. We had the unlimited soft drinks package for refreshment. Back at Pam's place we went to bed at 10:30."