The first stage of Michael’s funeral was the service at Saint Mary the Virgin, Oxted. The coffin was carried in by brothers Matthew and Sam; son Oliver; cousin Mark; brother-in-law, Errol; and Emily’s partner Sam. I walked behind.
The church was packed with representatives of every walk of my son’s life.
Michael’s daughters, Emily and Alice delivered a heartwarming eulogy, whilst not failing to acknowledge the terrible sadness of the event, presenting a real celebration of an exceptional life. They referred to a number of Soho stories such as ‘Rabbits On The Roof’, and recounted some their own memories, as recorded in ‘The Gite From Hell’.
Tender, at a times struggling to continue, their father would have been proud of them.
Refreshments were made available at The Black Horse in Reigate. So uplifting was this last stage that I stayed much longer than I had anticipated. Not yet ambulant enough to mill among the throng, I stayed seated, where people of all ages visited for conversation and commiserations. I had the pleasure of recognising many who had shared parts of their childhood with Michael and were now in or on the cusp of middle age. Some spoke of shared moments, some of which I had not remembered myself. Eventually I flaked out and Elizabeth drove me home.
Emily and Alice had compiled a full range of photographs of their Dad which ran in a loop throughout the reception. Many of those in their own memories were taken by Heidi, herself an excellent photographer. My archives were relied upon for Michael’s earlier life.
Here is one of the cheeky little chap when his mother was still alive.