Bryan Short’s Funeral – When England gained the Ashes

Bryan Short’s funeral was held on Tuesday June 15th, 2021, at Saints Peter and Paul Church, in the Parish of Borden where Bryan lived and was a Lay Preacher, with Fr. Robert Page as Celebrant.

A calm, balmy, blue-skied, summer’s day.

It was uplifting to see the Staff from Bryan’s era represented by Richard Carter and Bob Sutton, and also Terry Veal’s widow and family.

The Old Bordenian Association was represented by two generations of OBs: Neil Hancock and Mark Sayer. One was leaving Borden as the other was being born.

In a normal year, there would have been a contingent, too, from the present School, however the Coronavirus Pandemic limited the numbers gathered to just 30, making it even more of an honour to be able to pay our Association’s respects in person.

A pause outside the porch door – in the habitual and time-honoured way, as if rushing back in from the field after break – to straighten the tie, make sure the shirt is tucked in (front and back) and a quick finger-comb and pat down of the remaining hair, so as not to be caught by a certain gownéd gentleman in the short corridor leading into the Nave.

Some nods to eyes blinking from behind garlands of face masks, wreathed from ear to ear.

One end of a pew selected, and a compassionate regard transmitted to the napes of the grieving Family in the front row.

Looking forward to a hearty rendition of Bryan’s favourite hymns, Covid regulations dictated that these be played-recordings rather than sung out by the congregation.

But from outside the open, ventilating, church door arose a charming chorus of songbirdsthat even Bryan would have been justly proud of (ah! Split infinitive, boy).   No recall for remedial choir practice required, here.

The hymns chosen were ‘Abide with me’, ‘Great is thy faithfulness’, ‘The Lord’s my Shepherd’ and ‘Thine be the glory’, with readings from Psalm 121 and John 11, 20-44, and the Eulogy delivered by a grandson, himself an OB.

The Churchyard is now closed to new burials – not even a Grammar School Headmaster passing the 87+ gains you entry these days – and the gathering moved to the Garden of England Crematorium in Bobbing for a Service of Committal.

Afterwards, in a hiatus, a more relaxed gathering and a chance to reminisce and share anecdotes.

And so, ends an era.   Or does it live on, in so many of us ?