This eulogy for Richard
(Tim) Cranmer Dening was delivered by Philip Mellor, Tim's nephew by marriage, at St
Mary's Church, East Lavant, Chichester, West Sussex on 15th July 2005.
It is an honour and a privilege to be given the task of
giving a eulogy on behalf of the family to Richard Cranmer Dening, more affectionately
known as Tim. I first looked up in the Oxford Dictionary the meaning of the word eulogy
and read as follows;
"A speech in commendation of the
character and services of a person."
Tim had completed many services both in the service of
his country during the war years as a captain in the 19th King George V Own Lancers and
also in Northern Rhodesia as a member of the Administrative Service, where he put his
further skills and ingenuity into practice for the next 24 years. One such task was
designing a bridge, crossing a river and having it built, even though his MA was in
Economics from Clare College, Cambridge. His services were always associated with helping
others and this continued throughout his life. However, I wish to dwell more on the
character of this uncle of mine of whom I have much affection and respect.
Happy in a mud hut or a palace, all those present who
knew him were touched with his sense of humour and dedication to whatever task was set. A
lover of entomology and a Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society, he had a set of moths
and butterflies that could not be surpassed and had great knowledge of the subject, which
he shared with many. A saying comes to mind for the entomologists amongst you:
||" Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued is
always just beyond our grasp - but which, if you sit down quietly may alight upon
Tim was a stickler for getting things
right. He dotted every 'i' and crossed every 't' and whatever subject matter you may have
been discussing with him, there would have been a paper written for you to see the
evidence. I have enormous admiration for Tim's generation and it was men like him that
made Great Britain great. It always amazed me to see the research and detail he had
amassed on whatever topic we discussed, but I did try to avoid getting into conversation
over alternative medicine, as it was a subject to which I could not relate.
Wounded during the war years, even with the injury he
was active and played squash up until three years ago. He always gave 150% effort and
concentration to whatever activity in which he was engaged.
My favourite passion is cars, fast and sleek, and Tim
had a similar passion with a British Leyland Allegro. On production, this vehicle had the
reputation of being unreliable and was known as the Austin 'Aggro', but Tim proved all the
critics wrong. He told me with pride how he had driven this vehicle from Ceylon to the
United Kingdom with only two breakdowns, one a shattered windscreen and the other a
leaking radiator that required some welding and a new part to be made. A local person made
the repair in Iran and it is still on the vehicle today. The vehicle has never been sold
and is one of his prized possessions.
Determined, sometimes stubborn, he depicted all the
good characteristics that England stands for. Tim, you will be sadly missed by all who
knew you and especially your wife, my Aunt Betty and the three lovely daughters you
produced. Our heart-felt feelings are with them and their families today. As Churchill
once said when asked what he thought of death, he replied, "Everyone will have equal
rights in heaven."
In conclusion, I would like to take you back to the
butterflies that he loved so much and the freedom they portrayed. I leave you with this
poem that is given from the heart.
Don't grieve for me, for now I'm free
I'm following the path God has laid you see.
I took his hand when I heard him call
I turned my back and left it all.
I could not stay another day
To laugh, to love, to work, to play.
Tasks left undone must stay that way
I found that peace at the close of day.
If my parting has left a void
Then fill it with remembered joy.
A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss
Oh yes, these things I too will miss.
Be not burdened with times of sorrow
I wish you the sunshine of tomorrow.
My life's been full, I savoured much
Good friends, good times, a loved one's touch.
Perhaps my time seemed all too brief
Don't lengthen it now with undue grief.
Lift up your hearts and peace to thee
God wanted me now; He set me free.
SO TIM BE FREE AND REST IN PEACE
Tim's ashes are buried in the churchyard of St. Mary's.
Each year, on the anniversary of his death, those family members who are able to attend
convene in the churchyard to sit and share a picnic cream tea in his honour. Tim adored
cream and especially cream teas, so it seems a fitting way to commemorate him!