Royal Welsh Fusiliers
Royal Regiment of Fusiliers
Died 7th March 2014
Welcome Address by Rev Patricia Tidy former RMP
As we come together today to pay our respects to Stanley Howes I offer you all a warm welcome. I'm Rev. Patricia Tidy an Interfaith Minister and it is my role and my privilege to welcome each and every one of you, whatever your faith or your beliefs as an equal participant as we join together to celebrate the life of Stan who was loved dearly and will be sadly missed.
There have been rites of passage ceremonies since antiquity to mark the significant events in our lives ~ birth, marriage, and of course death. These ceremonies have varied according to the customs and beliefs of the time with religion having no special claim to them.
But when we are grieving, we all share that almost mystical awe which, no matter how rational or secular our beliefs, will hover round us at times of death. Life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one. But it's what we do with the time between birth and death that is so very important and it's why we are here today celebrating all that Stan means to you.
At this time some turn to religious faith for their comfort, whilst others accept that death is a natural process of life and respectfully lay their relative or friend to rest. It is to the latter in which we join together today, celebrating with pride, Stan, a much respected and admired gentleman. You are all here today to give thanks for the privilege of having known Stan and having shared in his life in a whole variety of ways.
And you are here now as Stan's family and friends, to represent the many people who have known and loved him throughout the years of his life and who would wish now to be associated with you in giving thanks for all that Stan has meant to you in the past, and for all that he will go on meaning to you in the future.
As you are aware a fine gentleman has been lost to you, and so as we come here today to remember Stan I ask that you please feel free to be at one with your sorrow, your sadness, your grief and your memories, but also I ask you to recall the happiness you shared and the purpose and the joy of a life well lived.
Stan had a mainly good, happy, and richly varied life and in the short time we have here this afternoon we can barely scratch the surface, but his lovely wife Megan and his beautiful daughters Berni and Debbie has been extremely helpful by providing me with some very fond memories, which will form the basis for our tribute today.
They told me Stan was born in Blackley on 14th February 1935, and so began the life of the man that you gathered here today are proud to call their husband, their father, their brother, grandfather, in-law, uncle and dear friend.
Stan was one of nine children with his sister Marion here today paying her respects and no doubt also remembering her other siblings who are no longer with us.
As a young lad Stan joined the army cadets and although he was working at Cromer Mill the army was all he could think about. And so as soon as he was old enough to enlist in the regular army he did so. He never tired of telling his family about his 21st birthday which he spent in the depths of the Malaysian jungle and that the only present he got was a melted Mars Bar!
Stan had the privilege of serving in Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, the Lancashire Fusiliers and the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers ending his service days as a Sergeant Major in the T.A.
Having had the privilege of being shown several sympathy cards sent to Megan I'd like to include now a quote from a card sent by his former comrades. "Missed by many of his comrades of Shiny 'D' and the parades at Bury will not be the same without the presence of the indomitable 'Stanley Howes.' I'm sure those words ~ and many more that have been written and said this last few days echo the deep and sincere love that is felt for this lovely gentleman we are all honouring today.
Whilst home on leave in Middleton one evening Stan was out with his mate who called Megan over for a chat. She wasn't stricken with Stan as he looked kind-a-weird in the lamp light. It must have been his sun tan, and perhaps he still had some of that melted Mars Bar round his mouth.
Well, Megan didn't have much time to think about anything before Stan picked her up over his shoulder and carried her off to the chippy to get a bag of chips. As you can gather no expense was spared as Stan romanced his lady.
Whilst they were courting Stan would sing to Megan as loud as he could "When I fall in love.. it will be forever.." There was a time when a bobby on his beat came over and said to Stan "I understand your courting mate, but can be a bit quieter."
They married and raised their daughters Bernadette known affectionately as Berni and Deborah known affectionately as Debbie. Stan continued his army career with the T.A. being away most weekends and working weekdays at Avro ~ Hawker Sidley's as a spot welder.
Holidays were always looked forward to and when the children were young they were mostly at Blackpool or the Butlins Holiday Camps with dear friends Ken and Barbara and their family.
Stan had always remained friends with some American Air Force lads from Huntingdon and whilst out in America he's looked them up and spent time with them. That's the kind of guy Stan was ~ friendship meant a lot to him. He's also enjoyed some lovely holidays in Spain with friends and has kept up links via Skype with many.
Stan welcomed into the family his daughters loving partners Stuart and Mike. Sadly Stuart's a scouser and he's paid for it! I know my heart goes out to him too!
For fifteen years Stan and Megan had their own private hire taxi service which was long hours and hard work, but as a team they stuck together. Stan was a good dad who loved and supported his girls through thick and thin, but you know ~ one of dad's "looks" could freeze them in their tracks ~ even the dog shut up!
Being a grandparent is probably the most rewarding role in life. It's a completely different feeling to being a parent, a child or a sibling. It's rewarding and entertaining and Stan has been dearly loved as Pop-Pop to Mark and his loving partner Amy, Jason, Sarah and her loving partner Ryan, and Alex.
Stan has loved being a grandad and his grandchildren have enjoyed many special times in his company ~ perhaps the boys Mark and Jason will remember the days of the old video recorders and how they used to wait till Pop-Pop had left the room so that they could rewind their favourite scenes from the epic film Zulu!
I won't embarrass you both today by telling everyone here which was your favourite 'bits'. But what I will do is invite everyone now to take some time to reflect on the many memories you have of Stan as we listen to the wonderful Men of Harlech from the 1964 film Zulu.
And as we do so you can each remember Stan in your own special way, and those of you that do have a religious faith might like to use this time for your own private prayer.
Time for Reflection Music: Men of Harlech
Thank you for sharing those few moments with your memories of Stan. You know he was quite phenomenal in his own way. Not long after having a hip replacement the family went to Anglesey in North Wales for Debbie's 50th Birthday last year.
It was a part of the world Stan loved and unbelievably before everyone's eyes he climbed to the top of Beaumaris Castle and claimed his kingdom! Debbie the Ghost Whisperer and Berni the Witch couldn't have conjured up a better moment if they had tried.
I think it's time I shut up now and gave someone else a chance. So I'm going to invite grandson Mark to step up front to flex his muscles (something I hear he likes to do for the ladies) and pay tribute to Pop-Pop. And I have it on good authority that Mark is not shy!
Thank you Mark.
Thankfully Stan had granddaughter
Sarah to cheer him up with her incessant babble!
Thank you Jimmy.
In his own words Stan said he was the richest man in the whole world due to his family and friends. Maybe it's because he was always aware of the people around him - their interests, their hopes, their dreams and their aspirations. So what better way to remember him than to serve our family and friends as Stan served his?
Before we bring our service to its closure I'd like to honour Stan and all the brave men and women who have served their country in wars and conflicts with a poem that speaks of Veterans. It was written about male service personnel ~ but please include in your hearts the women too.
Who are these men who march
If the words you have heard today have any meaning at all, then let it be this; in accepting the reality of loss, a change will occur in our values and priorities. Things that once seemed important may become unimportant, and things that were unimportant may take on a new significance. When our values and priorities change so do our lives.
So let's strive together and succeed in overcoming the grief that comes from our love. Let's recognise the beauty and the purpose of these lost lives, and make those lives part of our own. Let them add to our growth, and the quality and strength of our future.
It's important that you now face the future with courage, acceptance and optimism, for this is your healing time adjusting to your loss and learning to continue your lives without Stan around. Now all of this is no small task, no small responsibility - it takes courage and moral strength to let go and move on. So don't be afraid to grieve, for grief is an expression of your love. Think about, talk about and treasure your memories of Stan, and heal in your own way and in your own time.
I believe it can be comforting if we make our lost loved ones part of our future lives. And a way we can do this is to accept the fact that they have left us, but give them a continuing stake in how we live. In this way, they are not just part of the past in our memories or of the present in our grief, but will continue to live and to achieve through whatever we have taken from their lives and added to our own for the benefit of others. And by doing this, we can feel a wonderful closeness to them.
And so now as we continue to embrace Stan with our love and offer him the dignity and respect he so richly deserves I invite you, should you feel able, to stand with me.
It's time now for us to release Stan, and bless his onward journey. You'll always look back on your time with Stan and think of him with love, friendship, courage and admiration. And as we stand now in reflection he is truly missed - but hopefully not with a burdened heart and a bowed head.
So remember Stan for the laughter
you shared; and for his wonderful sense of humour and for his resolute
strength and purpose..... each of you in your own special ways will
remember him and most especially for all the intangible ways that he
touched your hearts, ways that cannot be defined by words.
Bugler plays Last Post
CURTAINS REMAIN OPEN
Please be seated.
On behalf of Stan's family I'd like to thank you all for your kindness, messages of sympathy and cards of condolence received, and also for sharing this time with them.
They also thank you for your kind donations to Springhill Hospice and the good work they do for their patients and their patient's families and friends. Should you wish to contribute then please give your donation to the Funeral Director on the way out.
And Megan offers you all a warm invitation to join her and the family for refreshments and to continue your celebration of Stan's life at Thornberries at the top of Mainway after the service.
We are shortly going to hear the final musical tribute chosen for today, and during this time the family will be bringing up their floral tributes and will place them on the coffin.
The music chosen is Blaze Away which it's hoped will conjure up the two Ronnie's in their uniforms playing and singing their version which kicks off with:-
"Ain't it a pity the pubs
in the city all close at half past ten
And so now before we raise the roof and blaze away I'd like to leave you with a blessing.
Do whatever in your life truly
gives you joy, and may many blessings expand your heart and bring you
TheMinden Drumhead service in Gallipoli Garden
The students who made Shiny D's web site
Shiny "D" Remembrance Day at Tesco Bury