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Just to clarify, Ian Hunter started this pub site in Essex.
Dear Essex-UK Listers,
I am very sad to have to announce that Ian died yesterday, 16th September 2003. The only other detail I know is that he had been in Intensive Care in Colchester General Hospital. He made a tremendous contribution to this list and to family history in Essex in general. He will be sorely missed.
Please join me by raising your glasses (good English beer by preference) to a great guy.
Ian was a wonderful Essex historian a kind, generous and
witty contributor to Essex List and a dear friend to me and many others here.
Ian's unique Essex Pub site will always be the standard of good research for
Ian was known almost as much for his wonderful sense of humour as for his stunning Essex pubs website. [Colleen]
Here's my account of Pubby Hunter's funeral:
Hello Elmo and everyone,
We're in the Autumn Solstice now here in pubby's England. Yet It was a beautiful Summers day here in Essex. The shone over the lovely Essex countryside and beamed down like a proud old mother on the slow moving funeral cortege, as Keira and I followed it along the winding country lanes of Tiptree. Wending our way through the ancient villages and rumpety Essex farms and cottages that Ian loved so much, it all seemed such a waste. Ian should have been here to see this Indian Summer.
As we passed the ground of Tiptree United Football club, I remembered him emailing - 'Yes, Yes, YES!!! Its a blinder!' when they won the local league competition last year and all the happy hours he'd spent there. That's where you should be today, Ian, or walking through Pod's Wood with poppy, not here like this, I thought to myself. So I was blabbing before we even got near Colchester.
I looked inside the chapel and thought, don't fancy this bit - then in the back of mind my mind I heard Ian saying, 'We're gonna have to rock and roll with this one.'
Don't usually have much to say about funeral directors, but Eustace King was ace - I'm hopefully, not advertising, Elmo, since I'm the only lister with the remotest chance of requiring the services of his company :-) This little Englishman, who walked in front of the slow moving funeral cortege at either end of our sad journey, is eighty something and looks like everybody's granddad. It was somehow comforting to have him supervising this dreadfully sad occasion. Around 5'5 in his shoes, with wisps of silver hair floating above his capacious, starched, white collar, Eustace has that unique air of dignified solemnity that can only be acquired by a man who has helped launch
a thousand souls into eternity, now he was going to despatch our Ian's too, but if anyone had to do it, Eustace was the one to trust.
The occasion seemed a bit too solemn for our arch wit somehow. Not for long though. The Rev. Phil, a smashing bloke, cheered me up immensely. First he several times insisted that we were there to bury Steve. Great! I thought. We can all go home then, its all been a terrible mistake, some bloke named Steve has been masquerading as Ian. It all seemed so unreal. Then Phil did the most impressive impersonation of the eccentric vicar in Three Weddings and a funeral. Bobbing about all over the place to illustrate his points, punching the air, I was waiting for him to fall off the lectern. But what a lovely, eccentric English rev. he is, and so right for Ian's do. Ian had to be watching this and putting the gremilns in. Yet, despite the errors, the Rev. was very emotionally committed to Ian and to giving him a good funeral.
He appeared to recognise that this was not just any old funeral, we were here to say goodbye to the great man and local hero, pubby. Mary and Dick in the US had got in bottles of Newcastle Brown Ale specially to toast Ian at 2.45pm GMT, early morning US time, only a real man of the people could have inspired that sort of devotion. And so it should be, he inspired us, didn't
The Rev. Phil gave Ian some lovely tributes - our tributes! He'd taken the trouble to look at out tribute site, leave a message for us that its a privilege to conduct Ian's funeral, have a look for yourselves, and had incorporated some of our lovely tributes he found on the site into the
service. So we were all there with Ian in spirit, even if we couldn't be there in person. We heard of the monumental achievements of 'Pubby' and of the help the 'pubster' had given to so many people, we heard of Ian's monumental Essex Pubs site! Ian's gone home to his ancestors, Phil told us, quoting another tribute. Nice touch Rev! But my heart sank then, cos I knew we were at the right funeral after all.
I looked behind me at one stage and there was a strangely familiar face - Rod Neep, of Archive CD Books, who'd driven 230 miles to the service just to honour and remember our Ian! What a good bloke he is. I wouldn't have missed this for anything, Rod said. Ian would have been deeply touched, he greatly admired Rod. There was a woman among the mourners too whom I instinctively felt had to be one of us - and I was right, it was Glynis Morris, good on you, Glynis. Yet how did I know she was one of us, do we have a distinctive look, us lot? How did I recognise her as a fellow Essex lister?
I'd understood that there wouldn't be prayers or music or a clergyman, so
was pleased when the Rev. Phil appeared and prayed, also to hear one song
for Ian, Steve Marriot's 'All or nothing'
'I have been out of my head,
Hanging on by a thread to the world I'm missing.
Did I fall asleep at the wheel,
Get the looks that could kill,
Cos I'm not listening?
So this is, all or nothing!'
There were no hymns and I personally missed the wonderful continuity, comfort and emotional power of these, I don't really feel I'm at a funeral until I'm singing '....point me to the skies!' But 'all or nothing' was great.
I gave Ian's heartbroken mum and dad a hug, they are in their 70s, not the time of life when you need to be mourning your son. What a waste of his young life, his dad said. But Ian has achieved more, and been better loved in his life than most octagenarians, I told them. It was cold comfort to
them of course.
Our wreath was lovely, a large white Essex shield with three red seaxes, 'Ian Hunter' emblazoned on a red ribbon at the top and 'Essex Pride' below. After the funeral, Rod, Keira and I took it to Tiptree and placed it at the foot of the war memorial, it seemed a fitting place for our Essex hero's
floral tribute to go and it looks very impressive out in front of the poppy wreaths already there. I've sent a photo for inclusion on Ian's tribute site.
No more of pubby's emails, no more advice, no more jokes from Ian, seems inconceivable, doesn't it? I gave him instructions for my funeral, thought he'd outlive me.
Keira and I took a walk round Tiptree before setting off for home, and all around were Ian's 'emails' from the place he loved. 'B.....y Nora, they're building a @@!!*@**!! Tesco on Church Road!'...'D'ya wanna copy of the jam
factory book?'...'Bluebells are out in Pod's Wood, wanna pic?'...The Oak's
landlord in 1865 was...'... 'Tiptree Heath is one great swathe of golden
gorse this week, get ya Box Brownie out quick, babe! ;-)'
But, we will always have Ian there advising us on his Essex Pubs website, won't we? Ian's left us a wonderful living legacy, his lasting memorial. Lets build a tribute annex to his site to make it grow the way Ian planned.
What do other listers think, shall we rock and roll with this one?
'They shall have stars at elbow and foot,
And death shall have no dominion' Dylan Thomas.
Send us an email from the stars, Ian, any old star will do.