When Stuart Dagger of the Royal Air Force Association started an on-line campaign to let everyone know that a war veteran was to have no family or friends at his funeral, little did he know how much people would respond to his request. When Stuart contacted BlogPreston we put a call out on our website and Facebook page in hope that we would be able to get Stuarts message across. In no time at all the social and other news media networks were spreading the call-out to as many people as possible.
John Beardwood, who was a former member of the Royal Artillery regiment, died earlier this month at the age of 102 and the only surviving family are two people in their seventies who were unfortunately too ill to travel and attend John’s funeral. When the staff at john’s resident care home, where he had lived for the last twenty years or so, realised that he had no friends or family to attend his funeral they contacted the Preston & District Veterans Council to let them know of the unfortunate predicament and that’s where Stuart Dagger set off on a mission to remedy the situation.
Recipient of two Burma star medals, John Beardwood would have been incredibly humbled and proud if he could have known of the number of people who would be there for him on his last campaign. Apart from the ordinary everyday folks who had learned about the funeral on the on-line social networks and such like, there was a full compliment of Royal British Legion Bikers who made a splendid attendance and stood alongside the ubiquitous Forces Standard Bearers.
Also among those attending were a couple who had travelled from Congleton in Cheshire just for the funeral and another couple who were from Gloucester, on their holidays in North West England, had stopped by as they too had heard about it on local radio.
The service chapel was down to standing room only and a very touching eulogy was read by nurse Cate Robinson who really knew nothing of John’s life but managed to put together some endearing words of what things had happened during John’s lifetime; the sinking of the Titannic, Suffragettes fighting for womens rights and two world wars were among some of the events Cate mentioned. The service ended with a Vera Lynn recording of ‘We’ll meet again’.
Below is a slideshow by Gillian Lawson showing various scenes from the funeral.
Facebook member Neil Dobson, has kindly allowed us to show this video of the playing of ‘The Last Post’ by Sergeant major Gerry Copland
Did you Go to the funeral of John Beardwood? Let us know in the comments below.