Friday, 2 August 2013


Yesterday was the funeral of our dear friend Glynne Davies.

In my life I never before experienced such a thing as a 'happy' funeral, but yesterday was the exception.

When a loved one leaves us, we are apt to say such things as "I never knew how much I loved him", or "I never realised how much we would miss him..." With Glynne it was different, because we all knew how much we loved him, and how much we valued him, his humour, his advice, and his classical mind.

 We also knew, as it became apparent that the end was drawing closer - he was 99 years of age - how much poorer our lives would be without him. We were all aware that he would be irreplaceable in our lives.

When we entered the chapel we saw Glynne, with a lovely framed photograph taken in the 1940s, and his medals displayed by his coffin. Our eyes were drawn to his Normandy Star - Glynne was a D-Day veteran. Glynne could be melancholic at times, and he often spoke to me about his friends who were left behind on those beaches. It was an honour for me to hear those stories at first-hand.

There were around 30 family and friends  - aged 16 to 80+ - and I counted 7 different nationalities there present. The service, Anglican, was informal and very appropriate. There was much music, Welsh of course, and poetry. There was also a certain amount of discussion about Welsh rugby, which always aroused Glynne's passions!

Jean-Claude Hamel, a French Army officer from Normandy who is a former student of Glynne's, gave a poetry recital that was so right for the occasion. I was delighted to sit opposite him at tea, and to hear about his own experiences. It was a great privilege.

We also met members of Glynne's family who had travelled from the UK. It was nice to meet people we had only ever heard about before.

Glynne's good friend Norman Henry, an ex Royal Navy man from Belfast, who works in the European Parliament and who cared for Glynne so well, gave a brief but emotional speech. I myself was proud to be able to say a few words, but it was Glynne's love of literature that shone through. My daughter Odette read the final passage of Llewelyn's 'How Green Was My Valley', and Pat Robbins, who along with her sister Anne, cared for Glynne so tenderly in his final years, read a poem that she had found written by Glynne in his own notebook.

Glynne adored poetry. Somebody remarked yesterday that you only had to speak the first two words of any poem written in the English language, and he would be able to recite the whole thing from memory.

Glynne's ashes were scattered in the same place as those of his beloved wife. We will not really miss him, because he will always live in our hearts and our minds.
And we, his friends, will remember him and love him forever.

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