Wednesday 20 May 2020

Today has not been an easy day...

as we said Good Bye to a family friend

BEADNELL George Raymond 'Ray' (83) Born: April 20th, 1937 (Ampleforth, North Yorkshire) Ray joined the Junior Army aged 15, and subsequently served 25 years in the British Military with postings in Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa before an honourable discharge at the rank of Warrant Officer, Class One

I have sifted through my photos and couldn't believe I can't find one of Ray. I have taken one his niece,Julie Hartley, posted of Ray escorting his sister [Julie's mum] to her wedding. When I look more closely at the photo, it is ironically as the lady holding the little girl I am sure is my mum holding me. We did things like that back then, going to watch other villagers getting married . Can't believe we haven't one of him on a shooting day or  from when we used to see him in the pub. But Ray was much more to us all than that.

I used to do his mums hair when I was a mobile hairdresser nearly 50 years ago. Ray was 20 years older than me , married to Pat. Even though he was a good shot I am told Pat was an even better one .They had 2 little boys John and Andrew.. dark haired little chaps  just like their Dad when he was young.
They lived in German and used to come back to the village to the family home on holidays, polite little boys . Life did not deal them a fair hand as Pat suffered a stroke and they came back to England early leaving the Army.  John, the eldest son  later followed in his parent's footsteps into the forces and sadly died at an early age.

When I got the message from Andrew who now lives in Canada that his dad had passed it was very sad. But felt very touched he had let us know with us as we all go back a long way. Ray is part of my Ampleforth roots.
Ray used to go shooting when he came home on leave in the fields that joined on to ours. Been the crack shoot he was, my Dad decide that it was probably a better idea to have him come shooting with us than not. He wasn't going to shoot a few in the wrong field if he could come on a days shooting.  In return he did so much for us .I remember 2 days before we were due to go on holidays he took the engine out of a red cortina we had as something drastic had gone wrong. we drove off to Holland without even having time to test drive it. Ray was there to mend an engine, mend your gun. Ring Ray...he would come to shoot pigeons on the corn fields with his camouflage gear.  I have seen many tributes to him of how he helped the young lads in the village with their motorbikes.  He always serviced our lawn mower too and a few pints were enjoyed in return. A man not to mince his words and swearing can quite natural to him but not in a nasty way .I can hear him now saying to me " What you doing with that silly bugger "meaning he didn't approve of my choice of boyfriend at the time. So as his coffin passed his house for the last time with Phil Thompson stood near the Union Jack ..Ray was a big British Legion man I cried as the hearst passed his old house and he was out of sight . I can see him now back straight as a ram rod in his khakis ,sleeves rolled up,sunburnt arms with the obligatory tattoo on his arms from his travels striding up the street for the last pint.
Then I rushed home to video the live stream service for my Dad. This is the result of the Coronavirus .Poor Andrew and his family were in Canada and so it was left to his grandchildren, John's children Anne-Marie and Christopher to stand at his grave site. As his coffin was lowered into the ground it was quite apt really that even though the little birds were singing in the churchyard a pigeon cooed in the distance. I think there would be a few swear words floating about as the pigeons will be able to eat the crops to their heart content.

R.I.P Ray -