Farewell to the Major

This is out of date. I’ve saved it from the ghost town of my old MySpace blog because I think that tributes to people shouldn’t be lost. (2011)

I’ve just got in from a funeral service. We paid our last respects to Major Paul Weller. I’m a friend of Victoria, his daughter, really but I had the privilege of meeting Paul many times.
It does a man great credit, I think, that a place the size of the parish church in Cirencester should be packed for his funeral. I have heard moving tributes, readings and singing and I find myself reflecting that, although I would not want a religious service for myself; I would consider it a fine testament to my life if I were the subject of a memorial service of such warmth, sincerity and honour.
I have been to memorial services that felt artificial, insincere; plagued by that feeling that were it not bad form to speak ill of the dead, tributes would be less glowing. This was not one of them. As befits a former army officer, it was a formal occasion but very much a celebration of a life lived fully.
As strictly a minor player in this particular script, it was not my place to do much but offer condolences to the few people that I knew there today but this blog is my soap box and so here is my own tribute to Major Paul Weller.
He was always the quintessential English host: polite, welcoming and interested. A man of tremendous learning and erudition; he could converse fluently on any subject and was glad so to do. His perception, intellect and background could easily have made him a hugely intimidating figure (and I am sure that the prospective amours of his beautiful daughters were painstakingly scrutinised) but his warmth and interest always made me feel immediately welcome.
I was always made to feel more than welcome -wanted – at his table. His conversation was a joy and made the mind race to keep up with the flow of ideas and there was no requirement to subscribe to his point of view. A man who made me feel that I should read more.
There can be fewer greater tributes to a man than his children. I’ve had the privilege of getting to know his three youngest. All beautiful, intelligent, sensitive and creative. Like their father, they touch the lives of all around them and are impossible to forget.
I count myself as fortunate to have known Major Weller and to know his family. I will remember him with fondness and respect. The world needs more people like him.
Rest in peace.

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