My dear cousin Alan who was born on 4th December 1935, passed away from stomach cancer on 17th July 2012.
As soon as I learned the date of the funeral I changed my holiday plans so that I would be up ‘home’ at the time to enable me to attend his funeral.
As Alan lived in Co. Durham and I was staying at my sister’s in Northumberland we had an hour’s journey before arriving at the Wear Valley Crematorium where there was to be a Humanist celebration of his life which would be followed by the interment at St. Paul’s Church, Hunwick.
Funerals are never happy, enjoyable occasions, however I must admit that this celebration of Alan’s life was so well thought out by his wife and daughters which made it a lovely occasion. I certainly learned a lot about Alan’s early life from the reading which was done and as I am researching our family tree it was very interesting. I have asked for a copy of the reading to put in the book I am writing.
After this beautiful ceremony we got back into our car and set off for St. Paul’s Church. The sun was still shining beautifully as we drove into the cemetery, there was just one road in which ended abruptly and just became a grassy field. The setting was absolutely beautiful and so fitting for Alan who has worked on the land for so many years and was such an animal lover – there is a lovely view across the countryside with sheep bleating away in the background. Soil to throw onto the top of the coffin, from Northumberland had been provided by Alan’s brother-in-law, as although he lived in Co. Durham he was born in Northumberland.
Next stop was The Red Lion pub, North Bitchburn which was there local and originally they lived in the little row of terraced houses behind there before buying a larger property with a few acres of land. Inside was a display of old and new photographs of Alan and his family, plus of course hot and cold drinks and yummy food.
This has to be one of the nicest funerals I have ever attended and the memory of it and Alan will stay with me forever.
R.I.P. Alan – you will be sadly missed.