My name is Susan Wood and I am your Celebrant today
We are here today in order to pay our last respects and bid a sad but fond farewell to Gary and to offer our support to his family at this sad and difficult time
Today is a sad day and rightly so, it is never easy to say goodbye to someone we love, but it is also a day to celebrate, honour and pay tribute to Gary, who during his life, was kind loving person, devoted to his family
Weep not for me though I am gone
Gary began his working in a shoe shop followed by book shop, then when he was 16 he decided to join the Army although lying about his age saying he was 18 to get in as he wanted to see the world.
While serving in the army Gary was stationed at an airfield and
started to witness the reality of war as damaged aircraft returned
It is in Burma that Gary would see the world in a different light
now only 18yrs because having lied about his age.
Gary left the Army at 22 (his real age) Meeting Joan in a milk bar in Bolton they married on the 1st January 1947 and had their first child in 1947 Bob, a daughter Linda followed in 1952 and the family was complete with the arrival of Alan.
Gary had always liked playing on the football pools and won a
small fortune in 1955 of £1,600.
Gary was a busy man but had time to spend with his children and
Alan used to accompany his dad on his many visits to the Bakery and
cash and carry and sometimes Gary would call for a swift half on the
way back to the shop.
They would enjoy going on a week's holiday each year to Blackpool
and being fortunate enough to have our own car and park and stay in
a hotel on the front.
Alan can remember his dad teaching him how to play chess, which
Gary had learned how to play in hospital when recovering from his
wounds in Burma and then promptly nicked the chess set and taught
his mates in his platoon how to play.
Now free and Single Gary found new hobbies in dancing, playing
bridge and studying the form and betting on the horses although he
did have some good wins it was more of a hobby to him and would spend
hours reading up on horses, jockeys and courses.
Gary was a patient man, when he sawn Alan at the age of 14 sat
on a wall in Radcliffe smoking as he drove past he said nothing.
Gary helped to buy a motorcycle for Alan in 1976 for the vastly sum of £535 and so he was able to explore the surrounding towns and Blackpool on it.
Around 1987 Gary had a pace maker fitted had it not been for this
marvel of technology life would have been so much different without
Gary was a grandad to Paul, Sarah, Emma, Lisa, he would often
visit Alan and there are lovely memories of him dancing with Emma
and Lisa standing on his feet.
Alan has many memories of spending time with his Dad at his flat
enjoying a brew and chatting about all things in life and getting
plenty of fatherly advice.
Gary formed a special bond with Danny at the home and they referred
to each other as Sergeant (Danny) and private (Noel).
On the 4th of March Gary closed his eyes and went to sleep for
the last time, he was 94.
Speak of me as you have always done.
Could I ask you all to please stand
Gary, you have been supportive and kind to us all these years
and we thank you for all the love and encouragement you have shown.
We rejoice that you lived.
May your memory be a blessing to all who knew you.
Our Father, who art in heaven,
Gary will be missed enormously by his family but he has left them
with a wealth of wonderful memories to look back on and these are
the things that will bring them such comfort in the years ahead.
As we prepare to leave we will listen to My Way by Frank Sinatra
My Grandad was an incredible person, and it's easy to see the qualities he has passed down to my Dad. He had a great sense of humour, a handsome smile and a kind disposition. He was extremely calm and content, but no fool and not afraid to stand up for himself.
Grandad was so laid back that you would almost think that he was completely fearless. I asked him once why he had decided to join the army in the midst of war, and he simply replied 'I was bored'. He seemed to live by his own rules, if he wanted to do something; he'd pretty much do it. In Burma, if he thought his position made him a sitting duck, he'd just move.
He was unlucky enough to be injured twice in the war, and to contract some of the deadliest diseases known; TB, Malaria, but he was lucky enough to survive it all, and then come home and win the pools! I've often joked with friends that he was invincible, and shared some of his miraculous stories, including his French heritage and his beautiful French name, whose beauty gets a bit lost in translation.
As a child I can't remember him without at least a walking stick, but that didn't stop him from teaching us the foxtrot by standing on his shoes. He was always humming an old tune back then. Again with his luck, he was completely independent into his late 80's, and he went about doing what he wanted to do and being content, putting the odd bet on and keeping up with the sport.
When he did begin to lose his independence and stopped driving, he didn't become depressed although it was hard. He looked after himself where he could, but also knew when he needed help and wasn't afraid to seek it. He was incredibly strong and genuine, and I'm very proud he was my Grandad.
I think we can all agree and be grateful that at the age of 94 and the adventures he had been on, he had a good, long life, and in the end, in the excellent care of the staff at Wingates, he had a peaceful passing that he truly deserved.
Garnet aged 11
Garnet 1st in on left 2nd row