Sunday, January 31, 2010

Crematorium tribute from Mary

The entrance song (how great thought art) was chosen because dad shared a love of Elvis Presley’s music with my brothers Paul & John.

Tom, our father, was an exceptional man; he was also a marvellous father. I could tell you numerous stories today about how he loved and supported me, my sister and brothers throughout our lives in so many ways but what he really did best was provide us with unconditional love, and that is priceless. To us, his children, he was like a beacon of light, always calm, full of wisdom and ever ready to do another good deed. No matter what happened in our lives we always knew we could rely on dad. He would never judge, never criticise but would always listen and provide rock solid advice. He was always full of enthusiasm for our achievements and had that rare and unique quality of being able to make you believe that you could achieve whatever you wanted to. In what can appear at times a mad mad world dad would always remind us in his calm and gentle manner that there is still beauty in this world and real goodness in people if only we take the time to look.

Dad was devoted to our mother and she was devoted to him. Together they were a real love story, two parts that made a perfect whole. They made the world a better place.

When my children were younger they sent me this poem:

To You My Child

If there could be only one thing in life for me to teach you
I would teach you to love

To respect others so that you may find respect in yourself
To learn the value of giving
So that if ever there comes a time in your life that someone really needs, you will give

To act in a manner that you would wish to be treated
To be proud of yourself
To laugh and smile as much as you can, in order to help bring joy back into the world
To have faith in others
To be understanding

To stand tall in this world and to learn to depend on yourself
To only take from this earth those things which you really need
So there will be enough for others
To not depend on money or material things for your happiness

But, to learn to appreciate the people who love you
The simple beauty god gave you
And to find peace and security within yourself

To you my child, I hope I have taught all of those things
For they are love


They couldn’t have taught us better, by the way they loved us the example they set us and by the beauty and goodness they brought into our lives, the lives of our children and all of those who knew them. They made the world a better place for us all.

One of my abiding memories of mum and dad is of them sitting at home, holding hands, just content in their love and at peace with the world.

Dad’s passing has left a void in our lives that can never be filled. But we hope that he is now reunited with mum, holding hands and at peace. We dad’s children have been truly blessed and it is now up to us to pass those blessings on.

Peace to you all and thank you for the parts you have played in dad’s life and for joining with us today to say a final farewell.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

I Watch The Sunrise

Video montage

Thomas Vincent Cammell from Tom Anderson on Vimeo.


Everyone here will have different memories of my Grandfather, and he would have meant different things to each of us. Overall, despite the different sides of him and times we knew him, there was something constant across all aspects of his personality; his pure goodness of spirit, generosity, and his love of life and people.

Thomas Vincent Cammell was the first child of John Bernard & Alice Cammell. Born 9th August 1922 in Holborn, London. At 16 his father died suddenly, leaving him as the sole breadwinner and male role model for his 5 younger siblings.
At 19 he was conscripted, and served as a signaller in the army. Stationed in North Africa and Italy he was away from home for three years.

Upon returning from the army Tom felt it was his calling in life to join the order of the Catholic Church. This changed however during a pilgrimage to Rome in the holy year of 1950, when he helped a young Monica Thompson with her suitcase.

My Grandad was smitten, and (fortunately for me) married my grandmother in 1952.
They had Paul in 1953, before moving to Swindon in 1957. My mother Annie was born later that year, and over the next 8 years they added Mary and John to the fold. Unfortunately their second son Dominic died at birth.

My Grandad worked first at Vickers, before moving to Square D and then to Raychem, where he worked for 15 years, riding his bike to work every day he finally retired in 1987 at the age of 65.

In retirement he remained active; he volunteered in Charity shops (including “The Shop” in Cavendish Square), and listened to school children read at Holy Family school, and the library in Park South.

I am one of 11 grandchildren, and want to share a few memories I have of my Grandfather:
I remember sitting on his knee, listening to him read me stories from the huge storybook that used to reside on the bookshelf.
He used to greet us with an extended hand and the words “Shake hands with a millionaire.” He believed he was the luckiest man in the world, for meeting and marrying an amazing woman, and for having 4 wonderful children.
I remember getting some new roller skates when I was around 13; after mass one Sunday I somehow convinced him to let me hold on to the back of his bike to “catch a lift” as he rode home. Even at 13 I was not the smallest fellow. If you can imagine the sight of this 70-something gent pulling a gangly teenager along…well, it was quite something.
What remains in my mind the most was his utter and complete devotion to my Grandmother, during their retirement they would walk every day into town to attend mass and to catch up with old friends. As my younger brother observed they were the masters of the stop and chat – catching up with people from all walks of life.

Going through Grandad’s personal affects has been a humbling experience; he appears to have given away all of his suits to charity. In a world of over-indulgence he lived a simple life, few possessions but much knowledge. From his radio (“The Wireless” – permanently tuned to The Irish) to the Catholic paper the Universe, his was a life devoted to god. Going through his bank statements shows a man determined to help those less fortunate than himself, he gave money monthly to many charities, including Help The Aged - bearing in mind that this was a man who was 87 years old.

Grandad would never have any fuss. He was always interested in the lives of his children, grandchildren, and even our friends. He always had something positive to say, and I never once heard him say a bad word about anyone. He had so much knowledge but never forced his ideas on people. All of our lives have benefitted from his wisdom and insight.

His life, full of devotion to his wife, his family, his religion and the wider community, serves as a fine example for us to aspire to. But in his selfless giving to others, he received the gift of true happiness. We are here today not just to mourn the passing of Tom, but to celebrate the life of a man whose spirit will live on in the lives of those he touched: The quintessential English gentleman.

He is reunited now with his sweetheart.

Peace be with you.