Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Philip King

17th November 1913 - 10th February 2008

We are here today to celebrate the long and happy life of Philip King.

Born in Cockermouth, which held a special place in his heart, Philip, his brother Peter and his late sister Pat sadly lost their mother at an early age. So big brother Philip developed a strong and protective relationship with his little brother and sister which continued throughout their lives.

Over the years Philip and Peter affectionately referred to each other as Philpot and Pedro.

Philip could easily be stirred into reminiscences of his mother’s home on the side of Lake Bassenthwaite, the wonders of Cockermouth, his pet pony Joey, Scamp the dog and the livestock yards beside the station where his father would supervise the comings and goings of his stock. Perhaps his days in Keswick boarding school were not quite so enjoyable but obviously equally memorable.

It was these early days which inspired his love of the Lake District and his intimate knowledge of the region.

Here too he became a lifelong connoisseur of the Cumberland sausage and discovered many of the pleasures which he went on to enjoy for the rest of his life, including his beloved golf.

His father remarried and soon young David (deceased) and Mary, who is here with us today, joined the family which was now living in Carlisle and so a new stage in his life began.

Philip completed his studies in 1932 and began his long and productive life as an optician in St Helens where he worked and conducted his own business until the age of 77.

He met his late wife Edith when she was working in the Savoy Building at “The Treasure House” in Bridge Street and he was working in the Optician’s next door.

They fell in love and married on the 21st September, 1940 while Philip was on leave from the Royal Air Force. Together they forged a wonderful partnership over many happy years.

Philip served in the R.A.F. in the Mediterranean where he was attached to a spitfire squadron as an instrument technician. He travelled all around the Mediterranean Sea and in recent years could easily be coaxed to tell of his exploits and travels and his love of the Isle of Capri.

After his return from the war his daughter, Barbara, was born in 1946 and so began a close, loving relationship of a father and his daughter. Their love truly crossed the miles with weekly phone calls and Barbara’s regular visits to St Helens.

Last year was a most rewarding time when Barbara and Paul were able to live with and care for her father.

Edith and Philips’ first St Helens’ home was in Rydal Grove where they soon made friendships which lasted the rest of their lives. Without exception these old and dear friends enjoyed the hospitality of the Kings at their Christmas morning open house for years to come.

His sister Mary recalls many happy visits to their home and the excitement of becoming an aunt for the first time.

Moving to their new home in Kingsley Road in 1958 allowed Philip to develop his passion for gardening and today one can still enjoy the beauty created over many years of loving care.

In his later years Philip was a hard taskmaster for his gardeners who had to take over the heavier work but even as late as 2005, he could be found perched precariously up a ladder, his two hands vigorously engaged in clipping his hedges…….and did they get clipped!!!! He was still able to spend hours at a time in the garden.

Philip’s other passion was his golf and with his clever management he was able to play three rounds of golf each week. He had first played as a young teenager and he developed into an accomplished golfer who was Lancashire County Senior Champion in 1977.

He was made a life member of Grange Park Golf Club in 2003.

Apparently he was always very willing to give unsolicited advice on the care of the greens and was very appreciative of the work done by the artisans.

His golfing competence may have been enhanced by his putting practice on his lovely lawn and no doubt the school behind his house benefited from his many donations to repair broken windows!

It is very pleasing that many of his golfing friends are with us today.

His loving Grandaughter, Elizabeth, was born in 1980 and could challenge his wicked sense of humour from the earliest years. She first flew to England from Australia at seven weeks of age and continued to visit regularly much to the joy of her grandparents. At age 8 she made the 12,000 mile flight by herself. In recent years both Philip and Elizabeth looked forward to enjoying her frequent visits from London.

Sadly, Edith passed away in 1999 and while that left a huge gap in Philip’s life he learnt to manage on his own for several years.

Philip was able to remain in his house until September last year only because of the devoted care of his family and friends… far too many to mention… but some do need special recognition including Marilyn, Ray, Pauline, Jennie, Elizabeth, Peter, Margaret and their families.

His lived his last months in Victoria Care Home which he described as “Quite a good hotel, this”.

He adjusted to a new environment and he managed again to organise things to his own satisfaction including his daily ration of lager, “his” chair in the foyer and a constant supply of chocolates.

The quality of their care was exceptional.

Philip had a wonderful sense of humour, a quick wit, a sharp tongue, “The Look” which could stop a steam train in its tracks, a twinkle in his eye. He was a creature of habit, a charmer, a person of great generosity, one of life’s gentlemen, a wonderful father and grandfather.

He will be sadly missed.


Erin said...

This is lovely, Liz :)

lizzie said...

'Twas the eulogy.

Took many, many phone conversations but it was just right in the end :)