has been extremely difficult to write the following
tribute so soon after we lost Harold and to ensure that
the right words and expressions which would be demanded
by Harold’s family and friends were included.
I feel that theme of the above passage was appropriate
and during his life Harold did have a profound affect
on the people he encountered.
service was held on an intensely bitter cold spring
morning and the sky appeared to be as dark as the mood
of the assembled congregation at the Church of the Good
Shepherd. The biting northern wind and intermittent
downpours of rain and sleet hastened people to the shelter
of the Church.
mood of deep sorrow seemed to mellow as the people of
old Burradon began to reminisce and recall stories of
Harold over the years. It was evident that everyone
had a unique tale and at the end of each story there
was warm laughter for a real character. The affection
and esteem which people had for Harold was evident and
I imagine would have provided his family with a great
deal of comfort at an extremely emotional and distressing
Harold was a Burradon lad through and through and was
imbued with the values of the old village; forthright
in his opinions, fiercely loyal to family and friends
and the enjoyment of the simple pleasures of life. According
to his mother Gladys, he happiest sharing a pint with
his friends or standing on the line having “a
bit crack” with anyone who passed.
was a man of great humour and sensitivity and he cared
deeply for his family and friends. He was also blessed
with a sharp intellect which he used with outrageous
regularity to embellish and exaggerate the simplest
of stories to the amusement of everyone who gathered
at his knee. People forget that storytelling was a great
tradition of the old mining village which Harry was
more than willing to continue, mind you, I never knew
he had been in the SAS!
a world of frenetic change and materialism, Harold’s
life is an example to all people that it is possible
live a happy and contented life without relentlessly
pursuing possessions. Harold realised many years ago
that friendship was the most valuable possession in
life and judging by the attendance at his service he
was a very, very wealthy man.
recently referred to himself as “a broken thread
in the tapestry of life”. He was correct in one
sense, he was a thread, however, he was not broken rather
he had inextricably woven himself into the lives and
memories of his family and friends. Without him realising,
he had enriched the lives of those around him.
memory will live on with the people most precious to
him and he will continue to raise a laugh when we remember
the happy times spent together in the pursuit of simple
At the beginning of the tribute, I listed many of Harold’s
attributes and I deliberately omitted his greatest,
courage and his dignity during his illness defined him
more than any other quality he possessed and it became
the very essence of the man. Harold had been diagnosed
many years and with each disappointing prognosis his
immediate concern was not himself, rather it was the
affect it would have on his family and particular his
As a consequence, he concealed the severity of the illness
to protect his family which was a selfless and
courageous act and typical of the man. The consultants,
doctors and nurses had immense admiration and respect
and the memory of his stoicism and courage will be enduring.
hope that time will heal the pain and loss that Harold’s
passing has inflicted on his family and friends and
whenever you think of him always remember the good times.
I thought it would be appropriate to end with Britain’s
favourite poem and hopefully the words will remind us
all that his service was a temporary parting and not
a final goodbye.