ARTHUR FRANCIS BRADSHAW EUL
I feel that our first hymn is an appropriate tribute to Arthur. Today we commend to God, and say farewell to a gentle, courteous, even self-effacing, man; amn who even in church was quiet, polite, never pushed himself forward, and yet had a gentle but deep traditional countryman’s Anglican spirituality. And yet, somehow, this gentleness belies a man who had seen a lot, and who had shown a quiet but real strength in dealing with life.
His life started in Yorkshire, on a small farm just outside Whitby in 1922. His father was a senior official for east African railways for most of Arthur’s childhood, so he was brought up in the Yorkshire countryside by his grandparents. And he never lost his love of the country, and country pursuits. He was a keen follower of hunting, and he learnt young to tickle trout. After leaving Whitby Grammar School, he was proud of his achievements at Archbishop Holgates School in York, of the fact he got his colours as a keen sportsman for not just cricket, but both rugger and football. Like many of his generation, the next 6 years after leaving school were to overtaken by world events. His plans to go to University were stopped. He ended up as a Flt.Lt Bomb aimer in the Lancasters of RAF Bomber Command. Only occasionally would one get glimpses of the impact of those night flights over Germany on Arthur. When talking to him in hospital shortly before he died during the turmoil and confusion of illness, he talked at some length about his in the war.. It gave him great pleasure a few years ago to met of with a handful of those who had survived, but like many of his generation, the real effects on him were kept a private matter.
It was after the war, on being demobbed that he met Christine at a social at what was RAF Westwood. And it was at Westwood he started training for his new career, that of schoolmaster. From a somewhat lonely childhood, as an only child with parents abroad, he came into a large extended family when he married Christine.in 1947.; this new family meant a lot to him, and he took them all to heart.
He started married life and teaching living in Peterborough, but bicycling to ramsey every day a, a 20 mile round trip in all weathers., and then having taught at Woodstone Cp School, and being Dep Head at St John’s Stanground, he became Headmaster of Farcett primary School in 1972. He had three great loves in his life; one was teaching which he loved, another was his family life, and thirdly the countryside..
He remained a Yorkshire countryman at heart, he loved the world of nature , the cycles of the seasons, the springtime and harvest,- the pleasures of God’s creation, hence our third hymn today. He loved gardening, and never lost his love of sport, supporting The Ortoians with his son. He also loved the village of Marholm, which he and Christine came to in 1982, – it was home from home for him; he loved the village, the pub, the church and the people, and never said a bad word about anybody, but always was ready to see the good, whether in the children he taught, or in his neighbours—and would do anything to avoid upsetting people. As a father, and grandfather to James and Alex he was a companion and friend as well.
In the way that some quiet people are, he was also independent, and liked to lead his own life, and also like quiet people with his experience of his life, he had a hidden inner strength, and an English countryman’s quiet, gentle but strong faith.