Yesterday we attended Spike’s funeral at Banbury Crematorium. It was a simple but meaningful civil ceremony where along with his family and, I guess, approaching a hundred of his boating friends we paid tribute to one man (and his dog) who had touched many people’s hearts.
It was a measure of the affection that he was held in that so many folk came or sent messages of condolence. Bones writes about her encounters (so much better than I could) in her blog.
The ceremony opened with Fatboy Slim’s Praise You –
We’ve come a long long way together,
Through the hard times and the good,
I have to celebrate you baby,
I have to praise you like I should
Shaun spoke movingly about his older brother looking out for him as a child and how much Spike had enjoyed the last five years since he had been a boater.
He said Spike had never been one to conform to conventions and the best word he had heard to describe him was a rapscallion – one who is playfully mischievous, which conjures up just the right picture of the man that he was. The card on the wreath from the Canal & River Trust (with whom he occasionally had his disagreements) echoed the sentiment by saying “We shall miss Spike’s cheeky smile and Millie’s waggy tail”
After the ceremony family and friends adjourned to the Castle House in Banbury to drink to his memory and share the buffet which had kindly been provided.
The family plan to scatter Spike’s & Millie’s ashes together later which is just what he would have wanted.
We celebrated the new year quietly on board Wrens-Nest, but the start to the year was marred by finding our neighbour Spike and his Staffy Millie dead aboard their boat on Thursday. I haven’t posted details before until I was sure his next of kin had been informed but have seen his brother Shaun today who has asked that we should let people know.
The emergency services attended (in force, along with a SOCO team, coroner et al.) and their initial thoughts were that it was Carbon Monoxide poisoning, although the results of a toxicology report are awaited and as a ‘Sudden Death’ the case will have to go to a Coroner’s Court.
Those who knew Spike and Millie regarded them with great affection, Spike was always ready with a cheery wave, smile and chat as people passed by and willing to give help when needed. Millie would would always greet you too, ever hopeful that someone would play with her, a vain hope in Catty’s case but they were, however friends and I have seen Millie move in to ‘protect’ her from other less friendly dogs.
Our thoughts and prayers go out his family in their grief and we will post details of funeral arrangements when known so those who knew Spike & Millie can pay their last respects.
The cause of death is still being investigated but Watch Manager John Calloway of Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue issued a statement saying:
“Although the cause of this tragic incident has yet to be determined and is an on-going investigation by the police, there are a number of appliances common to both boats and caravans (as well as houses) that have the ability to produce toxic fumes.
“It is our advice that all such equipment is professionally installed by a qualified technician and serviced regularly in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
“We also recommend that both smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are fitted and tested weekly.”