Dan’s funeral is this afternoon. It has suddenly hit me. It is final. I will not be there. I wish I could be.
I’ve received calls or Facetime sessions from Deb, Kate, Jude and Keith, a good friend of Deb’s who has helped with the funeral pereparations. It is clear that the funeral went really well indeed. The hall was packed, with people standing at the back. Luckily Deb had booked a double slot at the crematorium as the service lasted the full length.
Kate and Jude says that Deb’s speech – the main one reflecting on his life – was very good. They also contributed, reading out my message to Dan, and thanking people for coming.
Then the two or three fellow councillors who had indicated they would speak before the funeral were followed by a number of impromptu offerings from other councillors and Labour Party members. Typically one just stood up and said he could not resist sharing his memories of Dan. There was even a Conservative councillor who said that he did not normally attend the funerals of fellow councillors, but had such respect for Dan that he made an exception.
As well as the Labour Party friends, there were obviously people from his other interests. A member of the London Welsh rugy team turned up with a London Welsh shirt, signed by all members of the team, which was draped on the coffin.
Kate and Jude (whose husbands Steve and Ed also attended)
were overwhelmed by the evident respect and affection in which Dan was held. Like me it has caused them to reflect on this complex member of our family. How sad that we cannot benefit from this further understanding. in our relations with him.
Apparently pretty well everyone who attended the funeral went on to the pub for the wake – probably over a hundred rather than the 50 we expected!
Special thanks to Deb’s good friends Kay and Alan, and Keith and Niam, who have helped so much over the past two weeks. Alan has recorded the whole service, which I look forward to hearing.
THREE DAYS LATER
I have now listened to the recording of the service. It was an overwhelming experience. Deb’s speech was eloquent and the councillors who followed spoke with such genuine warmth, respect and affection. It made me proud of my brother and the way he overcame problems to make a real contribution to society.