I am grateful to those who came to my father’s funeral on Monday 8th February.
For those who wrote to me saying they could not make it but would like to remember him, I reproduce below my tribute to him at the service.
William Redwood was rooted in decency, buttressed by honesty. His gentle sense of humour and readiness to talk to people brought him many friends and acquaintances. His marriage to Amy ran as the golden thread through his adult years, bringing him both deep friendship and romance.
We meet today to celebrate his long and often happy life.He would be pleased to see you all here, and in his modest way pleasantly surprised.
He was born in 1925 in Ramsgate, an only child. As a young teenager his father’s illness and inability to work touched the small family with financial hardship. His education was disrupted by the outbreak of war, making him an evacuee to Stafford. There poor educational provision for the new arrivals persuaded him to leave school at the first opportunity, a decision reinforced by his generous wish to offer some financial help to his struggling parents. As soon as he could he volunteered for the Royal Navy, joining the crew of HMS Royalist, a cruiser. He saw action in the North Sea, off Naples supporting the Allied landings in Italy, and around the war torn islands of the Mediterranean. Sent home with ill health himself, he met Amy who was a Petty Officer in the Wrens at Portsmouth.
Married life started in a flat in Deal, followed by a move to Canterbury where he lived for much of his life. He made a crucial choice to work for East Kent Packers as their Chief Accountant and later as their Company Secretary. This enabled him to buy a home for his own small family of three. He enjoyed the rising prosperity of 60s and 70 s England, as fitted carpets, central heating, kitchen machines, a telephone and car arrived and became a normal part of his life.
His work with fruit suited him as he was a keen gardener. One of the features of Christmas was the arrival of special large comice pears which he reserved in the summer and got the experts at work to keep in a temperature controlled gas store so they would be mouth wateringly ripe on December 25th.
He weathered the shock of change when his long career there ended prematurely following a takeover. He spent his last working years happily assisting the Bursar of the Kings School Canterbury, where he enjoyed joining in the rhythms and events of a culturally active school.
Ever keen to retire, retirement lived up to billing for him. He revelled in a series of great cruises and holidays which took them to China and the USA, to Norway and down the Rhine.
In his later years he took an interest in modern English history and Politics. When his son stood for the leadership of the Conservative party he found his garden overwhelmed by journalists wishing to talk to him. In his methodical and friendly way he organised them into an orderly queue and gave each one time to answer their questions. He rifled through his carefully tended files to find relevant documents of recent family history for their delectation.
In his late years he and Amy moved to be nearer to their son, and settled in well and quickly with friends and contacts of John and new ones of their own.
Today we should say thank you for knowing William, and for the many acts of kindness and friendship he undertook. We should be happy that he achieved many of the aims he held. He would often say he had been lucky in his life and in his choice of wife. We should be glad that he was able to spend so many days with Amy in a remarkable partnership that meant they never spent a day apart, unless illness divided them as it has again today.