WELCOME & EULOGY - David Van Loock
Hello and welcome everyone.
Thank you all for coming along today to share this occasion with us and a chance to remember, reflect, and above all, celebrate the life of my Dad, Ted Van Loock. He was Ninety Five when he passed away. He lived a very full life and was also full of life, in fact, until recently, he was the most active person for his age I have ever known. He leaves behind his wife, Sheila (our Mum); four children: Sara, myself, Jane and Mark; four grandchildren: Rachel, Michael, Ollie and Emily and three (soon to be four) great-grandchildren: Ted, Chloe, Lottie and, due in October, Oakley.
During this service today we will share with you some of Dad’s favourite pieces of music and readings in tribute of a man who had many passions, but music was always at the forefront of his life.
He was born on 17th May 1928, son of a builder (my Grandfather) who, sadly to say, I never got to meet as he died before I was born. In his early days, Dad lived in Wallington and was looked after by his Aunties, Emily and Edith, while my Grandmother went to work.
At 18 he joined the Army, as part of his National Service, and it was here that he realised his talent for draftsmanship. So, upon leaving the army, he studied surveying at the Brixton School of Building. This led to a very successful career as a Chartered Surveyor and he ran his own practice in Reigate for many years and became a fellow of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.
Alongside his surveying practice, he also bought a shop in the town which my Grandma then ran for many years, selling ladies fashions.
Later he landed his dream job working for Marshall’s charity in Southwark. He worked there for 17 years as Clerk, and managed their portfolio of commercial properties. From the rental of these properties they would give donations to worthy causes, many of which were churches in need of repair, which was right up Dad’s street, as he had a passion for church architecture. One highlight of his career was that, through Marshall’s charitable ventures, he had the opportunity to mix with royalty, when he was invited to a Garden Party at Buckingham Palace hosted by the then Prince Charles and the late Queen Mother.
Dad was involved in many singing and operatic activities and it was through these that he met the love of his life, Sheila, my Mum. They played opposite each other in a performance of Gilbert and Sullivan’s Patience and they were married a year later. Needless to say, my brothers and sisters have been brought up on Gilbert & Sullivan and have seen most productions, multiple times, but probably the proudest one for me was not Gilbert & Sullivan but watching my Dad play the lead in Surrey Opera’s production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni. He was now a celebrity in my eyes.
Dad was always on the go and was never happier than when he was making or repairing things. He would spend hours in his shed and there was evidence of his handiwork all over our family house. Whether it was building wardrobes, shelves or even light fittings, Dad was always there with a DIY solution, and you will hear a little more about ‘Ted’s shed’ from Jane shortly.
If he wasn’t in his shed, you would find him on his allotment at the bottom of his garden. In fact, so passionate was he about his allotment that when Mum and Dad moved to their bungalow round the corner he managed to have the boundaries redrawn, so as to retain his allotment as part of his new garden.
A big part of Dad’s life was his golf. He introduced me to the game when I was about ten and I will always be eternally grateful for the times we spent together on the golf course – and the trips we used to go on to Scotland, and France, as well as days out on society golf events, through the surveyors RICS. I felt I really got to know Dad through playing golf with him.
Dad was a very good golfer, achieving a handicap of seven at one time.
He was Captain of both Redhill & Reigate, and then later at Bletchingley Golf Club, where for those that are coming to the wake you will see evidence of his golfing legacy etched onto the honours boards. He was still playing regularly well into his late 80’s and even shot his age twice. Something that not many people ever achieve.
Above all, Dad was regarded by his friends and peers as a true gentleman. He was always the voice of reason and, whether at work or in his leisure interests, was always on hand to give advice which, more often than not, turned out to be the right advice. I will treasure the moments I spent with him and I am very proud to have had him as my father.
Dad was a religious man. He read the Bible cover to cover and he believed in an afterlife so, Dad, I hope you like the service we have put together for you today and I am sure you will continue to be surrounded by your favourite music. I just hope there is a decent golf course for you to play on.
So now is the difficult time when we have to say goodbye.
Dad wasn’t an emotional person, preferring to demonstrate his love through actions rather than words, but I know he loved his family very much as we did him.
So I wish you farewell Dad. Your wisdom and wit, and your funny monologues, will be be greatly missed. So go – Rest in Peace!
Thank you all again for coming and we would very much like it if you can come along to Bletchingley Golf Club, where we will continue to celebrate Dad’s life over a light buffet. Dad would also very much like you to have a drink on him, which will be Dad’s final round.
We will also play some of Dad’s more eclectic tastes in music, an example of this we will play now as you leave here. This is Flanders & Swann, who was one of Dad’s favourite comic musical duos – and this is their take on Mozart’s Horn Concerto.