On Tuesday June 16th in the morning we had our meeting of the New Wine Group. It was a good time of worship, prayer and praise. It was the perfect way to prepare to go to Cathy’s husband Ken’s father’s funeral that afternoon.
It was a fitting memorial for a man who had worked hard and been a tireless campaigner for an indoor bowling club. He and a few people used to bowl at Hammerain House, until it was unexpectedly closed. Eric then went to the Council in search of a building he and his fellow players could use as a new bowling club; he continued to go regularly to ask about a possible available building, until finally a large shed became available. Eric and the other players came to view the building which Ken’s Mum Margaret thought was in a mess. However Eric with his draftsman’s eye could immediately see its potential and that it was well built.
Then they began to raise the money needed to transform the building into a bowling club; coffee mornings and other small fund raising activities were embarked upon, but they needed to get larger sums. Eric nothing daunted welcomed a sum of money from Harrogate Council, but set off to Liverpool and even London in the pursuit of further funds. Finally just over £20,000 from the money needed to begin the transformation of the building into an indoor bowling club. Eric gathered together all interested people into a full room; then he asked them to invest in the project as ––much or as little as they could afford. He said that as soon as the project was up and running and making a profit the loans would be repaid. Soon he had reached the target and the work could begin.
That was about 20 years ago and there is now a thriving bowling club, with a bar, an eating area subsequently added. Eric’s persistence paid off. Margaret had compiled a tribute to the man who was a respected and honoured father, family man. Ken had always said that he had been so blessed to have such a father, who encouraged him, brought him up as a real gentleman.
I am blessed to have such a son in law who is making my younger daughter Cathy so happy. At the service at the Crematorium we sang ‘Now the day is over’ and we heard ‘Ave Maria’; a piece of music which had moved Eric to tears, when he had heard it being played and sung in a church near which he was sitting. I was privileged to meet more members of Eric’s family and fellow members of the Indoor Bowling Club after the funeral at the Bowling Club. I was glad I had met Eric and felt welcomed by him. I know Cathy always valued his welcome and support of her in the 9 years since she had met him; she was so pleased that he was able with Margaret to be at their wedding. It was his idea to travel in the vintage bus from the wedding to the reception at Betty’s restaurant, which made the experience very special.