Monday 14 April 2008

Packed Funeral For Ian Windel


The funeral for Ian Windel was held today at the West Wiltshire Crematorium, Semington. The place was packed with people, many having to stand three or four deep at the back or close together along the side-aisles. We are sure that Ian would have been flattered that so many people wanted to pay their last respects to him. But we shouldn't be surprised - Ian's lovely nature and endearing company made him a pleasant friend to hundreds. You couldn't help but like him.

Ian died on 4th February 2008, apparently poisoned by carbon monoxide fumes from an old Rayburn, in his home at Anchor Barton, Horningsham.

The Reverend Alison Wadsworth, who conducted the service, said: "Ian Windel was gentle and compassionate but he was also individual."

The order of the service included a tribute read by Steve Crossman, of Mill Farm, Horningsham. He said:

"Ian Windel, affectionately known as Winnie, came to work at Longleat as groundsman in the early 1980s; with wife Angela, and his two boys Ben and Tom. He meticulously maintained the 500 acres of parkland that surrounds Longleat House, more often than not working alongside the old Lord Bath who shared his love of the countryside."

"In his spare time Ian would keep himself busy doing odd jobs around the village. He cut and strimmed the village grass for the Parish Council and helped out many local farmers with an extra pair of hands at silage making, haymaking and during harvest. Ian was always called on to help when we moved our sheep or cattle through the village and once the job was done would come back to the farm for a coffee (black, no sugar, splash of cold water) and settle down for a chat. Ian liked a chat . . . . during those times he would talk about what his beloved boys (Tom and Ben) were doing – he was so proud of you both!"

"He also talked about his childhood, his family and his great passion for all things equine. Ian particularly enjoyed point-to-point, carriage driving and hunting. He was an active member of the Frome Cheese Show committee, each year helping to organise the show jumping events and always looking superbly smart in his tweeds and bowler hat."

"On leaving Longleat Ian became self-employed, starting his general maintenance and handyman business ‘Make and Mend’. He could turn his hand to most things and did. He enjoyed making trailers from scratch. He carried on grass cutting and expanded into fencing and anything else anybody needed a hand with. One time he even helped my mother-in-law move house, receiving by joint agreement, payment in the form of homemade meat pies."

"Ian worked a lot for the Green family of Roundhill Farm and little by little became indispensable in the lives of Peter, Sally, Bob, David and Lucy. Even though the days were busy there was always time for a cup of tea, a full pipe of tobacco, a piece of Sally’s homemade cake, and a chat . . . ."

"Ian drove a landrover, which always had at least one small dog leaping about in it! He was devastated when one day his landrover was stolen from outside his house, never to be seen again, and worse still all his tools were stolen with it. The police arrived to update Ian on the theft on a day when things were going from bad to worse: no landrover, no tools, and the washing machine leaking all over the kitchen floor. Ian’s mood obviously worried the policeman, who excused himself for a few minutes and came back with the Samaritans’ help-line telephone number, just in case Ian wanted a chat . . . . Ian, who was definitely not depressed, thought this was hilarious."

"Ian was a well-known village character who, after a long-working day, could often be found enjoying a pint of his favourite tipple at the Bath Arms, where his many anecdotes, sense of humour and gentle mischief made him a popular figure. He was a true gentleman in all ways and will be greatly missed by many."

The funeral director was W.J. Trotman, of Cranmore, near Shepton Mallet.

Donations can be made for the Wiltshire Air Ambulance Appeal.

Tomorrow I shall post my own personal tribute to Ian Windel.