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RIP : Nigel Pendleton

Nigel Pendleton - Funeral

It does not usually feel appropriate to take pictures at a funeral. Weddings Yes! Funerals No!. However I had no such feeling at the funeral of Nigel Pendleton which took place on Monday 26th July at the tiny church of All Saint's, North Scarle.

The Jazz Band
Outside the church

Those of you who know me will be unsurprised to learn that I was late for Nigel's Funeral. In many ways I'm glad I was late, because had I been early I may have missed the funeral procession. And what a procession, led by a New Orleans style jazz band. They were playing a heavily jazzed up version of "The Old Rugged Cross" as I attempted (probably unsuccessfully) to discretely enter the church before the the funeral cortege.

Inside it was pretty much standing room only. The organist played the coffin in to "God So Loved the World" from Stainer's Crucifixion. Then we all stood to sing "Lord of all Hopefulness"

The service was led by the Revd George Goalby who read the classic text from 1 Corinthians 13 that begins "Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal." - King James version! You all know the rest.

He then went on to deliver an exuberant sermon on the subject of love with the fundemental message that Jesus is the floor (or foundation) on which all our love for one another (and of course for Nigel) is built. I honestly thought that he was going to burst at one point.

He then read out a summary of Nigel's life including his life at school, playing rugby, his work in the family business of the timber trade, his love of bellringing, sailing, his wife and family and assorted dogs. He then read a poem that had been found in Nigel's wallet, along with a picture of Soo before they were married. I hope Soo doesn't mind if I re-produce it here. Many of you will recognise it.

The life that I have Is all that I have
And the life that I have Is yours
The love that I have Of the life that I have
Is yours and yours and yours
A sleep I shall have A rest I shall have
Yet death will be but a pause
For the peace of my years In the long green grass
Will be yours and yours and yours

After a few prayers giving thanks for the life of Nigel, the organ struck up for a resounding rendition of "Guide Me O Thou Great Redeemer", which was sung lustily (should one sing lustily in church?) by the congregation.

The coffin was then played out to "O Rest in The Lord" by Mendelssohn.

Outside the church, the jazz band had struck up and were definitely giving it some. Soo and the family greeted everyone as they left the church, which I thought was a really nice touch. Eventually the funeral procession departed, led by the jazz band. They led the coffin and the congregation away to.... the pub! Oh how Nigel would have approved! The jazz band and the congregation somehow managed to get lodged in the pub while the immediate family departed to the Crematorium. I would have loved to have stayed, but unfortunately I had already been away from work far too long, so I reluctantly departed.

It was a beautiful, lively and fitting tribute to a lovely, lovely man!

Rest In Peace Nigel.

Jonathan Clark