This tribute was given at the funeral of my Uncle Bill Surringer. The service was held in Coychurch, Bridgend on Friday 26th April 2019 – the day my mum – Bill’s sister – would have been 96 years old.
Today is my mum’s birthday. Mum passed away just over nine years ago. She was one of three children. Doris, her elder sister, my mum Phyllis and their younger brother Bill. They were three incredible people, my Nanna Surringer did such a wonderful job bringing them up to be the people they were.
Bill Surringer was the most wonderful man! He was kind, thoughtful and was never one to complain, whatever life threw at him. He was one of the most positive people I have ever met. We are here this afternoon to celebrate his wonderful life.
Bill was a man who loved and was loved, by his family, his circle of friends and indeed all who knew him.
I said at Doris’s funeral…. ‘We have come together this afternoon to thank God for the life of a remarkable lady, Doris Catherine Wilson, but to me always my aunty Doris, the best storyteller I ever knew!!’ I’ll tell you Bill must be the joint holder of that title!
I said in a recent Facebook post that ‘If chatting, telling stories and genuinely being kind was an Olympic competition, my Uncle Bill would win gold every single year!
We come together today not just to mourn his passing but more importantly to celebrate his life.
Bill left us, tragically, on 11thApril and we are here because of his influence on our lives. For Beryl, Lorraine and Linda and your wonderful families – your lives were intertwined with his for many years. For others of us who are here, our lives crossed Bill’s at different times and different contexts in the course of time. No matter what our connection with Bill, all of our lives have been touched by his. We are all a part of the wonderful legacy he leaves behind. Death robs us of much – never again will we have Uncle Bill with us, no longer hear his voice, see his smile – no more of his wonderful sense of humour.
Wonder how you will deal with it? God gave us something to help – a great and wonderful gift… The gift of memory – a powerful capacity to remember.
Bill married Beryl in St Paul’s Church and Grangetown. Their love grew so strong over the years they were together.
I have many memories of this wonderful man. I first knew of him as my uncle, who lived in the front room of my Nan’s house in 201, Penarth Road – one of my favourite places in the world!
They had a strange little kitchen built into that front room. He would often pop into my Nan’s room and feel the pipes leading from the fire to see if it was hot enough for his bath on a Saturday night! He helped me buy my first car – an old split screen Morris Minor and he would often end up doing odd jobs on many of my other cars. John, my brother was always envious of Bill and his Baines Bike. – the Rolls Royce of bikes in those days. I was always fascinated by the fact he had the same name as the football team he played for.
Whatever he worked at he excelled! He was a superb panel beater – a real craftsman, as a car park attendant at the City Hall he was so inspirational, he ended up being the Lord Mayor of Cardiff’s personal attendant.
He loved Cardiff with a passion and got to meet a host of important people and everyone he spoke to would have been captivated by his enthusiasm.
He only loved one thing more than his beloved City and that was his family! You were his life!
Remember him as your father, father in law, grandfather, uncle and as your friend.
Talk about him often. Talk about him with each other and keep his memory alive
Remember the love that he had for you all, his willingness to always work hard in order to provide for his family.
The separateness and uniqueness of each human life is the basis of our grief in bereavement. We could look through the whole world and we would find there is no one like Bill.
He still lives on in our memories. Though no longer a visible part of our lives, he will always remain a member of our family… he will always be our friend, through the influence he has had on you and the special part he played in your lives.
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. We must also, in memory of Doris, Phyllis and Bill promise to remain close as a family and treasure what has been passed down and entrusted to us! You must have no regrets – as his close family you have been so very kind to your precious father and grandfather. Well done and thank you.
I want to thank Bill for all that he gave to us in his long and loving life. Let’s all make sure that the good he showed to us; we will show to others.
Bill Surringer – a man whose life made the world a better place.
Below is a copy of the poem Bill wrote – powerful words, which show us what kind of man he was.
Life racing along at breakneck speed,
No time to play, no time to read
Workdays merge… work to bed..
And all to earn our daily bread.
Little money left to fulfil our dreams,
What are they? I could write reams,
A reliable car, holidays abroad in the sun?
A meal in a bistro, when day is done?
Lazing on a sun soaked beach?
That I’m afraid is out of our reach.
However, things are not all that bad
Experiences shared since I was a lad.
A good marriage and two children fine.
Always food on the table, when I sit to dine.
Satisfaction from a job well done.
These have to be my day in the sun.
Now, many years have passed
Our next will be our last!
No money worries now, enough to pay the bills
Holidays abroad? We have had our fill.
To sit in our garden and remember our lives past,
And a glass of wine with our meal.