Despite somewhat inclement weather in the afternoon, we had a good day in Kidwells Park as we joined others as part of Maidenhead Festival.
We met up at 8am to set up the marquees and had a good location in the park, although, due to space issues, we were unfortunately only able to put up one of the marquees.
After completing setup in good time, we enjoyed some coffee and bacon rolls, courtesy of Lesley, before having a short time of prayer.
Like previous years, we had colouring and worksheets available for the children, but this year we also decided to try a new venture and spend some time telling children some of the stories from the Bible.
At 12pm, we had the first of three planned Bible stories during the day as Alan ran through David and Goliath. This was followed by a quiz, based on the story and the children then learnt the chorus, Only a boy called David. The children attending were all given goody bags, containing various invites to activities including the upcoming Holiday Club, a notebook, Parkside pen and a children’s activity tract.
As we approached the time for our final story, the rain seemed to be getting increasingly heavy and numbers in the park seemed to be diminishing. However, the rain ended up drawing people in to take shelter and the final story, Daniel in the Lions’ Den, was probably the best attended of all.
Overall, despite the rain, we were pleased with how the day seemed to go. We had a good number of children in for the stories, while Lesley single-handedly gave out a large number of invites to Toddlers! Numbers for the colouring were down on previous years so it may be worth considering focusing more on stories next year.
It was interesting to note that, despite the large number of stalls in the park, numbers attending the Festival overall seemed to be down on previous years.
Again, we’re thankful to the Lord for answers to prayer for the day.
We had around 140 people join with us to celebrate and give thanks for the life of David.
David was borne aloft into the hall on the shoulders of members of his family to the strains of Be still and know that I am God, played on the piano by John Davies.
The service was led by Victor Michael and he began by welcoming those attending, many of whom had travelled some distance to be there. Victor gave a brief ‘potted history’ of David’s life, highlighting the fact that David and his wife Pamela have been with us at Parkside in Maidenhead for around 50 years and married for 68 years!
David was born in 1925 and grew up in Bristol, becoming a Christian at a children’s meeting at Cumberland Hall. David grew up and went into the RAF, through National Service, spending some time in South Africa. He was married to Pamela in 1948 and the family moved to South Wales and settled in a village called Tondu, where he worked with others to build the local hall in the village, before later moving to Maidenhead in the 1960s.
Victor then introduced the first hymn, ‘Thine is the glory‘, before David Willis came up to open in prayer.
John Peters brought the first tribute, mentioning that he first met David in 1959 and highlighted four things about David’s camp work.
He was a devoted and caring husband.
He was a loving and generous father
He was a wise and resourceful leader
He was a consistent Christian
Richard Harris spoke of David’s time with the Gideons, which he joined in the early 1980s. David was heavily involved in the work of the local Slough, Windsor and Maidenhead branch.
As well as helping out in renewing Bibles in local hotels during the Olympics in 2012, David was engaged in work with the Gideons in churches, hospitals and schools, which were probably his favourite.
Richard also brought a number of Gideon Bibles along, which he offered to the congregation.
Victor gave out the second hymn ‘And is it so – I shall be like Thy Son?‘, before Ken Hill read from 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.
The third tribute was brought by two of David’s grandchildren, Tim and JonathanLuker. Jonathan began by reading some memories supplied by Stanley John, who recounted his first meeting with David after his arrival from India.
Tim brought some memories of his Grandpa, primarily from the Rice side of the family, particularly bringing out stories from holidays and Christmas.
Jonathan added some more memories about the caring nature and generosity of his ‘Gramps’, closing with the words of Philippians 1:21 – For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.
Alan Michael brought the final tribute, reading words given to him by David’s three children, Jane, Sara and Jeremy.
Their memories centred on the ‘larger than life’ character of their father and reminiscences included Christmases and family weddings as well as childhood spent in Bridgend and missions organised in Tondu. They remember him as being full of the Lord and a desire for others to know the one he loved.
Victor then brought a short message, highlighting a few verses which he felt summed David up – Psalm 27:4 and Hebrews 6:9-12 and thinking about David’s past, present and future.
In terms of the past, he spoke of salvation, mentioned in Hebrews 6:9 and highlighted, at David’s request, what salvation is and what happened to David when he became a Christian.
As for the present, Victor thought of David’s service for the Lord, relating back to Psalm 27:4, while here with us at Maidenhead, working in the church, in camp work, in his work for the Gideons, and in his individual witness.
For the future, he reminded us that David will get a reward for his work for the Lord some day. When the Lord returns, David’s body will be raised from the dead and reunited with his soul and will be forever with the Lord. He will receive his reward for his faithfulness in serving the Lord.
The final hymn of the Thanksgiving Service was ‘The sands of time are sinking‘.
Following some closing remarks concerning the committal, Paul Trotman, the son of Trevor Trotman, who worked with David in Tondu, closed the service with prayer.
David was once again carried from the service on the shoulders of family members, this time accompanied by the music of ‘Sing we the King who is coming to reign‘, again played by John Davies.
Some sixty people made the short journey up to Braywick cemetery for the committal service, which took place in warm sunshine and was led by David Angell. It began with the singing of the hymn ‘When peace, like a river, attendeth my way‘.
After the committal at Braywick, refreshments were served back at Parkside.
We will miss David very much here with us in Maidenhead, but we can be thankful for his many years of faithful service for his Lord, while here at Parkside, and we continue to pray for Pamela and the wider family over the coming weeks and months.
You can listen to the service (97 minutes), by playing the file below.
Right-click this link and select ‘Save link as’ to download the service.