Posted in Thanks for a life

Edward Stuart Ashfield

 

 

A Celebration of the Life

of

EDWARD (STUART) ASHFIELD

Légion d’Honneur

1923 – 2017

Tuesday 31st January 2017 at Thorhill Crematorium, Cardiff

 

 Entrance  –  An Evening’s Pastorale by Wilfred Shaw

 

Prayer

Heavenly Father, you have not made us for darkness and death, but for life with you for ever. Without you we have nothing to hope for; with you we have nothing to fear. Speak to us now your words of eternal life. Lift us from anxiety and sadness to the light and peace of your presence and set the glory of your love before us.

Through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

On hehalf of the family I welcome you here this afternoon. You will never know how much your presence here is appreciated. Thank you.

Stuart Ashfield was a lovely man. He was kind, thoughtful and was never one to complain, whatever life threw at him. We are here this afternoon to celebrate his wonderful life.

Stuart was a man who loved and was loved, by his family, wide circle of friends and indeed all who knew him

In the difficult times of life I often find that human words often fall short of what we would like them to say.  But it is then that the Bible speaks to us with power and healing if we will but listen.  These words come across nearly thirty centuries. They seem like ancient dusty history to many who look from a distance.  But if we will listen, the Bible speaks them to each one of us.

Ecclesiastes 3

A Time for Everything

For everything there is a season,
a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.
 A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
 A time to search and a time to quit searching.
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
 A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
 A time to love and a time to hate.
A time for war and a time for peace.

God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.

 

 

A Tribute to Stuart Ashfield

Read by Mrs Angela Ashfield

Stuart has written this with Andrea’s help and I am reading this on his behalf.

I was thinking the other day, as you do when reflecting on the loss of a loved one, how much Mum, Andrea, Angela, Phil and I loved dad.

Both Andrea and I were very lucky to grow up with a great Dad. Some don’t have that good fortune, or for as long as we did.  We had a great Dad –  and here are some of the reasons why.

Dad was hard working. He had a number of jobs during his life from delivery boy up to Warehouse Manager, always giving everything he could to the job. Latterly he was a Director for Bateman’s the Welsh Grocers who were a family firm and probably the first major supermarket chain in Wales, and many of the Bateman family are here today. He was always known to all the staff as Mr A.

Dad was thoughtful. He would always put others before himself and frequently offer assistance to anyone who needed it.

Dad was adventurous. Organising  family holidays to many places, even overland trips in a campervan through France and into Southern Spain. This trip was groundbreaking in the early 1960s when package holidays were still in their infancy.

Dad was fun – Always helping us as kids with the latest project or fad like building a “bogie” (for you younger ones, this was what a ten year old would class as playtime before the invention of the iPad). It was a short plank of wood on wheels, and you could steer the front wheels with a piece of string and set off down a steep hill with only your shoe leather as a brake. When I grew up we spent many a happy evening together supporting Cardiff Devils ice hockey team, with dad loudly ringing his hand bell to cheer them on and deafening me in the process.

Andrea also had a beautiful relationship with Dad and has so many memories of him she said she found it hard to pinpoint just one. Dad really enjoyed her visits especially for one particular reason. He loved his tea piping hot and relentlessly teased Mum about Andrea being able to make a better and hotter cuppa.

Dad was brave – The word “Hero” is used too easily these days. If you can play sport well you are described as a hero, but that is not  heroic. You are fortunate to have a skill that you are good at but you are not a Hero. A hero is someone like Dad and his comrades who put their lives on the line for the freedom their Country.

 

Dad was proud– He was a long time member of the “Royal Engineers Association” and was very active within it. Being a standard bearer with a keen eye for detail, such as making sure the brass finial was polished so that you could see your face in it. He was also the treasurer for a number of years.

Recently Dad was very proud and honoured to be awarded the medal Legion d’honneur by the French Government for his part in the freedom of France during the Second World War.

It was presented to him by the French Consul and the Lord Mayor of Cardiff at a ceremony a week before he went into hospital. The picture on the front of the Order of Service was taken at the ceremony.

Dad was caring. Always making sure everyone was looked after, and enquiring if he could do anything to help out.

During the final chat I had with Dad at Llandough Hospital before the last 10 days in which he became very ill and was not able to converse properly, he was still asking how everyone was and saying what a strain it must be for the family to see him like this and that his quality of life had gone.

Dad was loving and protective– Always making sure that Mum and Andrea were safe, and looked after.

I could go on describing what made him a great Dad, however, it can all be summed up in saying he was not just a great Dad but the best Dad we could have had and we will miss him deeply.

Angela’s extra- For my part I will always remember how Stuart (and Mo of course) made me feel very much part of the family, as he also did with Andrea’s beloved Phil, and I will miss him very much.

Here is a poem entitled “Our Hero” – which Andrea found and completely sums up how we feel.

 

You held our hands

When we were small

You caught us when we fell

You’re the hero of our childhood

And our later years as well

And every time we think of you

Our hearts still fill with pride

And though we’ll always miss you dad

We know you are by our side

In laughter and in sorrow

In sunshine and through rain

We know you’re watching over us

Until we meet again.

 

Thoughts from Sandra Thorne in Australia

Malcolm and I are so sorry to have to miss this celebration of dear Stuart’s life . Young Stuart wanted me to mention my memories of his Dad. The main thing that I would have mentioned is his patience with his girl friend’s niece. How many young men would agree to take his girl friend’s niece out on a date with them?! Well, I went on many a date with Mo and Stuart. After they got married Stuart bought a motor bike and guess who went on the pillion? Yes, me! Mo had to go in the side-car. I was taken with them to the speedway every Thursday to watch the Cardiff Dragons. Mo made cheese and pickle sandwiches and a flask of tea. I took all this for granted but now realise that Stuart was a very special man. Malcolm loved Stuart as much as I did. Stuart welcomed him into the clan with open arms and warm friendship. Malcolm and I are so deeply sorry not to be at the funeral, but are hearts will be there. I can’t remember a time when Stuart wasn’t in my life. How lucky I’ve been.

 

 

 

From Len Bateman in New Zealand

I’m so sorry to hear about the passing of Stuart, he was a great and fun guy. I do miss him, give my condolences to his family.

 

From Theo, Stuart’s nephew in South Africa

I am so sorry that I am not able to be present at this most solemn occasion. Stuart was a man who gave so much for his country. He was an adoring husband and a loving father. He always had a smile for everyone and a wonderful sense of humour.

 

From Paul Bateman in Margate, Kent

I will always remember the holidays I had when Uncle Stuart drove Auntie Mo, Stuart, Andrea and me to Spain on holiday. We had such fun and Uncle Stuart always showed me kindness. I will never forget him.

 

Hymn

I watch the sunrise.

Stuart loved to lie in bed and watch the beautiful sunrise over his home.

 

Address

Mr Roger Newberry

Ecclesiastes Ch 3

 

The Bible tell us in Ecclesiastes 3 that death is not an unforeseen accident.  It is not something left out of the purpose of our Creator.   It is something well planned and necessary in the sight of God. I believe God knew Stuart needed to rest.  It is an appointed event that will come to all of us.

Stuart left us peacefully on 15th January 2017 and we are here because of his influence on our lives.  For you Maureen, Stuart, Angela and Andrea – you are his wife and children and your lives were intertwined with his for many years. For others of us who are here, our lives crossed Stuart’s at different times and different contexts in the course of time.  No matter what our connection with Stuart, we will never be the same again because of the man he was.  We are all a part of the wonderful legacy he left behind.

This afternoon as we mourn his passing, we can also give thanks for Stuart’s life.

I believe life is a gift from God.  The Bible tells us there is a time to be born. God has made us and given us life. God blesses our lives and makes them full of experiences, people and events.  Each day is a blessing and a gift from above.  It is my belief that Stuart was a person who was given to us by God.  We had the privilege of knowing him and loving him and walking along the path of life with him. In knowing Stuart we have, hopefully become better people.  We have stored memories and experiences.  These are gifts from God.

 

But death robs us of much – never again will we have Stuart with us, no longer hear his voice, see his smile – no more of his wonderful sense of humour. Gone is the chance to tell him things you wanted to say

Wonder how you will deal with it?  With the promises of the Bible.

Let’s go back to the Bible

Jesus said, “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust in me. There are many rooms in my Father’s house; I would not tell you this if it were not true. I am going there to prepare a place for you. After I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me so that you may be where I am. 

 “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. The only way to the Father is through me.

God gave us something else to help – a great and wonderful gift. The gift of memory – a powerful capacity to remember. That is what God wants you to do with Stuart.

Remember him as your husband, father, father in law  and your friend. Talk about him often. Talk about him with each other and keep his memory alive. Remember the love that he had for family, his willingness to serve his country in the dark days of war.

Stuart was a hero. Any young man who willingly stepped out onto those Normandy beaches in 1944, will always to my mind be a hero. Juno Beach in June 1944 would not have been a great place to be.

G.K. Chesterton, English author once said….
The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.

In 2015 we have heard that Stuart was given the French Legion d’Honneur – The French Legion of Honour. It was given to all surviving D. Day veterans to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the landings. The Legion of Honour is the highest national decoration. For two centuries, it has been rewarding the outstanding merits of citizens and designating them as models of French civic service. It was created by Napoleon Bonaparte in the early 1800s

What the creation of the Legion of Honour heralded was important: it was not given to privileged people, you couldn’t buy one, the only way to get one was to earn one by serving the country and people of France

General de Gaulle undertook a major reform of the system of national decorations in 1962. For the Legion of Honour, to preserve its special status he set a maximum number of living members (125,000).  Stuart is part of a very select group of people.

Two days after Stuart died, Maureen was hanging clothes in the washing line when three geese flew very low overhead – usually there are about thirty in such a group. When she went back into the house and shared this with Andrea, her response was… ‘That’s dad’s flypast!  (Andrea has obviously inherited Stuart’s quick sense of humour!

The separateness and uniqueness of each human life is the basis of our grief in bereavement. We could look through the whole world and there is no one like Stuart.

He still lives on in our memories. Though no longer a visible part of our lives, he will always remain a member of your family or circle through the influence he has had on you and the special part he played in your lives. We know that the value and meaning of life consists in living it and living it well. People who have been a strength and comfort to others and have worked for future generations, deriving fulfilment and satisfaction from so doing, these are the people who bring value and meaning to life.

Our biggest gift to him now is to be thankful that he is at peace and to seek to be as strong and courageous in our loss as he was in throughout his life.

May God bless his memory to us.

Dear family

  • I commend to you those memories that are yours alone. The Stuart that you knew was special to you as a family in ways that no one outside could know. You have every reason to be proud of his life

 

  • I commend you to the care of Almighty God and trust that you will find in Him the strength and peace that He alone can bring.

 

 

 

He Is Gone

You can shed tears that he is gone
Or you can smile because he has lived

You can close your eyes and pray that he will come back
Or you can open your eyes and see all that he has left

Your heart can be empty because you can’t see him
Or you can be full of the love that you shared

You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday
Or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday

You can remember him and only that he is gone
Or you can cherish his memory and let it live on

You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back
Or you can do what Stuart would want:

Smile, open your eyes, love each other and go on.

 

The Committal

Would you please stand for the committal…

Earlier I read

To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose on

earth, a time to be born and a time to die.

Here in this last act, in sorrow but without fear, in love and appreciation, and since it has pleased Almighty God to take to himself the soul of our dear husband, father and friend Stuart, we commit his body to be cremated, ashes to ashes in the sure and certain knowledge that the Judge of all the earth will do right.

 

The last post .

Benediction

May the Lord bless you and keep you.

May the Lord show you His kindness and have mercy on you.
May the Lord watch over you and give you peace.

Amen

 

As you leave today please be aware that the family would invite you to The Manor Park to enjoy some refreshments and an opportunity to share memories of dear Stuart. I hope, like me, you will leave with a feeling of having shared in something very special, for a very special man.

 

Exit: The Royal Engineer’s March.

 

Roger Newberry – January 2017

Author:

Full time, husband, father and grandfather.

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