The funeral of Allan Rimmer

Funeral service 12:30pm 1st November 2007 at All Saints Church, Staplehurst, Kent

There were about 400 people present which was more than expected and it was standing room only for those arriving later on. Copies of the "Order of Service" ran out long before people stopped coming in. There were no seats left for the last few people so they had stand at the back. The occasion made a big impression on the 46* Redhillians (approx.) present, not to mention everyone else. The Rimmer family members bore up well in spite of the obvious emotion of the occasion. Allan's three children (Oliver, Mark and Amelia) were present as were all the grandchildren.

The day started out damp grey and dismal. By the time of the funeral the sun started to break through the clouds and it had become a fine autumn day. Reverend Gillian Calver presided at the service. Within the meditation speech at the start of the service Rev. John MacKenzie said that basically you could look at the day and Allan's passing in one of two ways. Either be sad, sorrowful and mourn his loss or be happy and celebrate his life and what he has left behind. The day was completely the latter - a great celebration. In the service Sue Rimmer had one of their favourite poems read and some of the music was played that both she and Allan appreciated. David Dennis (RHS 1960-1967) asked Sue Rimmer if he could play the organ for the service, and she was very happy for him to do this. There were a few tears but also a lot of laughs as different memories of fun times came up.

Adrian Gray read the RHS tributes (written by Peter Still & David Cox) and gave a perfect account from a Red Hill School boys perspective. Within the portion written by Peter the reference to a reward of a cigarette raised quite a titter! As Alex Heylin put it "The RHS portion of the tribute said everything I've never been able to say about Allan". Adrian's delivery of the RHS tribute was excellent and very heart-felt. In fact, all of the speakers did well. A picture emerged of a man who was loved by a lot of people and who gave of himself in many ways. Besides Adrian's speech, tributes were also given by friends and associates - Richard Hamer (an old family friend), Bill Piper (for the Staplehurst Society), John Visser (for the School of Education, University of Birmingham and SEBDA - formerly AWMC) and David Wilson (for the Red Hill Trust).

The service finished after 90 minutes at the end of which everyone faced the back of the church as the coffin was carried out. Attendees then walked (while some also chatted) to the reception at the Village Centre some 500 yards away, which just about fitted everyone in. Sue Rimmer was extremely strong and courageous, spending a lot of time at the reception looking after everyone and also attending to the caterers. She was welcoming people coming to the reception for well over an hour. A visitors book was available for people to sign at the church and at the reception hall.

Allan was cremated at a private and undisclosed location.

The Bell Inn, just opposite the church, made many Old Redhillians welcome before the service.

by Terry Wilson (November 2007)

Please scroll down to see the photos. To see tributes as read at the service (by David Wilson, Adrian Gray on behalf of RHS boys, John Visser and Marion Bennathan** ) click on Tribute 1 (David), Tribute 2 (Adrian), Tribute 3 (John) and Tribute 4 (Marion).

To see the Order of Service click on Service (4 pages)


With thanks to Phil Culmer, Clive Dawson, Mark Dell, David Dennis, Adrian Gray, Alex Heylin, Richard Himson, Nick Hendley, Andrew Martin, Lester Smart, Peter Still, Nigel Tegg, John Welch and David Wilson from whom portions of their accounts of the day were used.

* in attendance (ex-RHS) were: Ronald Allen, Darren Blowers (& wife), Kevin Brookes, Ken Bruce, James Bunting (& wife), Che Coxshall, Phil Culmer, Clive Dawson, Mark Dell, David Dennis, Paul Downie, Iain Foster, Kieran Gallagher, Adrian Gray, Jason Haiselden (& girlfriend), Kevin Hall, Chris Harvey, Bernard Head (& wife), Nick Hendley, Alex Heylin, Richard Himson, Pam Hogan, Andy Keynes, Belinda Keynes (nee Tabor), Mike Lacey, Brett Lanham, Peter Larking (former Red Hill Trust Manager), Marc Maclachlan, Sue MacPherson, Andrew Martin, Lawrence Mills, Simon Morgan, George Nicol, Kevin Nunn, Bob Piggott, Sheila Simons, Reg Slade, Lester Smart, Peter Still, Daphne Styles (& husband), Dinah Surfleet, Nigel Tegg (& girlfriend), John Welch, Ron White (formerly Ron Reeves), David Wilson (Chairman of Red Hill Trust), Ken Woodland.

** Marion could not be at the funeral. Her tribute to Allan was not read - John Visser from the same organisations provided his own text.

The following would have attended but could not due to health reasons: Jack Hazelgrove, Phyllis Oliver, Mike Warren, Stuart Wilshaw and Terry Wilson. Eddie Wearing was going to come but work commitments arose.

All photos below taken by David Wilson (except where noted on photo).Click on image for larger version.

To see all 24 photos that Phil Culmer took at the reception go to: