Grandad: thats what we always call him when we are talking about him - with much love - in Konstanz, Germany, where I live with my wife Hilde son Kilian and Stepsons Lukas and Gregor and also when conversing with my daughter Anja, who is mostly in Britain, sometimes in Germany and often in Ormskirk and with my Niece and Nephew Annie and Jack. To me though he was always simply Dad and always will be. Dad, Grandad was a GOOD man much loved by Children. I can see some faces here not only second generation Grandchildren, but also some grown up faces, who know that too have had that special experience. And, like me, are glad to have known him when they were children whether they rode on his back three at a time; when, covered with an old blanket, in the back garden in Aughton Street he was being a camel, a rhinoceros or an elephant or a water buffalo, or whatever animal it was, or whether they were privileged enough like I think only my sister and myself where to experience his wonderful handworking skills, all done in secret, unbeknown to us kids until they were finished a wooden dolls house for my sister, a huge, robust climbing frame in the garden for me which in the interests of equal opportunities I must add, may sister Sue was allowed to climb on too as long as she was very nice to me on the other hand I never had much interest in the dolls house, so I never really had to make the effort to be nice to her. But lets talk about Grandad: I remember, as a boy looking forward to Saturday mornings in Ormskirk Church Yard sawing up logs with a double handed saw though when I thought I was doing the pulling he was doing most of the pushing and when I was pushing it was really him who was pulling. The background to this story is that he, as clockmaker, was in charge of maintaining the Parish Church Clock and because of that had somehow organized the rights to all the wind fallen branches in the churchyard to supplement our supplies of coal in those cold winters of the 1960s. But they had to be sawed up. And we did. And that was great being out with him in our windjerkers and check shirts. Saturday morning Lumberjacks. Grandad, Dad was always good at organizing something. And I dont mean that in any shady, sleazy sense of the word at all. He was good at organizing because he had so many friends and acquaintances who HE was always willing to help and always did, so that if he had any problems like where to find a Second hand site hut which might have fallen off the back of a building site, and would do nicely as a superior garden shed, or where to buy a good car from a mechanic he could trust he never had any difficulties, because his friends where always willing to help him as with recently decorating the new flat - Mark, or, as with simply always being there when needed, with advice, support and love over the last years - Auntie Joan, Auntie Mavis, Rose, Jill, Mark, Stephanie, Brian, Barry, Brenda, Linda, Dave, Helen. I have been away in Germany for so many years that I do not know all of you individually by name. I would though, like to take this opportunity to thank you for being there not just for Jack, but for Jack AND June Bibby over the last years. Make no mistake about this: God is not to be fooled; a man reaps what he sows if he sows in the field of the Spirit, the Spirit will bring him a harvest of eternal life. So let us never tire of doing good, for if we do not slacken our efforts, we shall in due time reap our harvest (Galatians 6, verses 7 to 9 (more or less))
It has been a great comfort to me to know that they, Jack and June, have been so secure in their, your, special social network. And it is a continuing comfort to know that June, Mum, will continue to have such great back up! I know pride is considered a vice in fact one of the deadly sins (the most serious one, if I am correctly informed). But when I think about Jack Bibby, when I think about Dad I feel, and I know, through him yes, through Dad, that pride can also be positive. Jack Bibby was a modest man but he was a proud man too. And rightfully so: I know for a fact of at least two things of which he was very proud. His military service in the Lancashire Fusiliers (I quote him: The only Socialist Regiment in the British Army) about which he could tell wonderful stories, and second but actually second none - about being a Lancashire man and specifically an Ormskirkian. In my opinion last Monday Ormskirk lost one of its few remaining citizens for whom Ormskirk, as such, was important. And Ormskirk is poorer for that. As Ive just said, Grandad was a wonderful storyteller. Annie, Anja, Kilian, Jack, family and friends, Im sure youll all agree. He knew a good story when he heard one, and could always embroider on it to make it just a bit better, just a bit more entertaining. Like the one about big scary Liverpudlian thug who desperately wanted to get into the Army but couldnt pass water at the military physical, so Grandad, helpful and friendly as always, did it for him. Sometime later, in Northern India they met again, when the big Liverpudlian, who obviously, on the strength and health of Grandads water, had got into the army, was seconded to Grandads unit. Recognizing Grandad he loudly declared See this fellah here? He pissed for me. Hes my friend Grandad was well protected for the rest of his military career! Last Christmas we were lucky enough to spend in Ormskirk. As it turned out, the last one with Grandad. But one of the best. That story, amongst many others, was repeated then. Id heard it may times before. But it never got boring, just better with age like Grandad. When we departed from Ormskirk after Christmas I put my arms around him, I hugged him and, doing so, said See you again Dad! He looked at me as if Id gone bonkers and said loudly Of course you will. And he was right. I see him here in soul and spirit amongst all of us now. And hes making the best of it. He always did make the best of it. So lets do that now too. Im shedding a tear now and I shed many tears whilst thinking about what to say today. But there were many tears of happiness mingled amongst the tears of sorrow and loss. I am glad, so glad, so thankful to have had a Dad and to have a Dad like Grandad Thank you for listening.
Monday 9th March 2009,
Funeral of Jack Bibby, tribute by David Bibby,
Emmanuel Church Ormskirk