It was time to say goodbye to Richard at the local crematorium yesterday afternoon. The place was packed and the ceremony was non-religious, officiated by a humanist celebrant.
Richard had lived and worked in Sheffield all his life. He married and raised a family here. His house is but two hundred yards from the house he was born in, just round the corner from our house.
Since childhood he had borne the nickname Bean because when he was in primary school he was the bean bag monitor. Bean bags were sometimes used in physical education in place of balls. If you threw a bean bag across the school hall it wouldn't bounce away. The name Bean just stuck and he couldn't cast it off.
Apart from football, Richard also loved opera and had a fine singing voice. He had been an active member of several operatic societies through the years and plenty of his old opera friends attended the gathering at the crematorium.
Halfway through the ceremony, the celebrant invited those who knew the song "Eagle High" to stand and sing it. Songsheets were provided. It is a song I had never heard before. It comes from a less well-known opera by Gilbert and Sullivan called "Utopia Limited".
Forget the guy at the beginning of this YouTube clip. That part was omitted as about forty people rose to sing "Eagle High" for Richard or as they knew him - Bean. It was very moving and very personal. They sang their hearts out in love and respect for a friend who lived with gusto, positivity and humour:-
It sounds like it was a fitting, respectful farewell to your friend, Yorkie. The memories of Richard will linger long...and be cherished....hopefully with smiles.ReplyDelete
The date...6th June...means a lot to me. My brother, Graham passed away on the 6th June, 1998. I have no idea where those 20 years have disappeared to...they flew by so fast.
Your bond with your brother was very special. I know this from what you have said about him in your blog. It's no wonder that you still feel his loss deep in your heart.Delete
I understand why it was moving; I was weepy just listening to this piece and imagining it at a service.ReplyDelete
It sounds like Richard was a man of a wide range of interests, sports to opera.
I liked his curmudgeonly attitude to many things. In that sense I guess he was rather like me!Delete
What a lovely memorial. It seems that your friend Richard did live a full life. So his childhood nickname followed him all the way into his obituary...this is why people move away from home, sometimes as far as they can get; so they can re-invent themselves. Had Richard moved to, say, John of Groats, he could have introduced himself to a whole new set of people as Richard, but everyone calls me Hulk.ReplyDelete
Thanks for your thoughts Vivian - also known as The Fox.Delete
I think people sing with gusto for the people they have loved most.ReplyDelete
I could tell that the singers were pulling out all the stops for this tribute.Delete
I believe the whole world suffers just a little with the passing of a good, gentle man.ReplyDelete
When someone we have known and respected, loved or enjoyed dies we also die a little.Delete
I'm sorry for your loss . Some people are larger than life.ReplyDelete
That's true. He was one such man.Delete
I'm sorry to hear of the loss of a special person. The song is a beautiful gift to Richard and to the family and friends mourning him.ReplyDelete
I have been to quite a few funerals but I never encountered a musical moment like that one before.Delete