Thursday, August 23, 2007

Farewell Wally

Wally Burns was given a great send-off at St Michael's church this afternoon. There were over 150 people present - family and friends, Cathays neighbours, church members, former Cardiff Bus Company colleagues, and Burma Star Association members, who formed a guard of honour with the Association's flag. All the circles of community life that were part of his life paying him tribute. The service concluded with the Kohima epitaph, Last Post and Reveille, played on a bugle. It was the kind of occasion he would have approved of for others, and in a way it was strange that he was not there to oversee the event, to make sure in his warm and easy going way, that all was being done decently and in order. I was happy just to sit at the back, there being no reason for me to take part in its conduct, with Burma Star Branch Chaplain, Bill Barlow on parade with Caroline Downs, Wally's Vicar, and fellow West Midlander - she used to tease him in her broadest Black Country accent (although she's from Coventry), and he loved it. Who will take over at caretaker of St Michael's? Who will take on the secretariat of the Burma Star Branch? Everyone is wondering. It's not longer quite to easy to find good people who will take on such tasks and give so much to them. May he rest in peace.

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