Paul's Eulogy for Alec - July 2006
Thanks for coming.
Alec - he was many things to many people. He was Alec, he was dad, he was granddad, he was "the old man", he was the governor - and on occasion other choice names from my grandmother which are wholly inappropriate to repeat here!
Alex was born in 1914, and was by trade a roofer until the Twilleys came along in the form of Doris in 1942 and the scene was set for many enjoyable years - 63 to be precise. It is, of course, well worth remembering here that we had an early sign to his longevity - whilst working on a roof in his thirties, he fell and broke his neck and despite being encased in plaster for months made a full recovery. We should have known that there was a determined and tenacious person there - a trait which apparently runs in the family!
It was, therefore, no surprise to any of us when Alec stopped building and repairing roofs for a change to the licensed trade at the Fentiman and then the Berrylands.
The role of publican always seemed a good one for him and he certainly is not a good advert for those who say that alcohol will shorten life; fond of the product he sold we could set our clocks daily when it was Gin and Tonic time. We were all amused that one of the medicines he was prescribed in his final days had a warning that it contained a high percentage of alcohol - he got his tipple to the very last.
Some of my earliest memories of both Doris and Alec revolved around the fantastic functions which took place at the Berrylands. I am certain that my friends at school at the time thought I came from a particularly strange family as I regaled them with tales of Alec in full pearly king outfit with Doris as the pearly queen, singing along to a band and everyone having a ball. They all seemed to have grandparents who knitted and tinkered with mowers, but I know which I preferred.
I will always remember the wonderful Berrylands Cabarets - with Alec, Doris and the staff and the many others who were roped in to dance, sing, play, make costumes and the rest. There was always a tremendous atmosphere and the excellent music and singing which I am grateful to have been able to remember. These always seemed to have Alec and Doris in a starring role at some point in the proceedings with both singing in truly fine form.
As retirement loomed, Alec spent more of his time tending his garden in Worthing and we in the family all certainly remember the excellent fresh vegetables he produced without fail to accompany Doris' cooking. The staple mainstay of marvelous beans and tomatoes continued through the move back to Ewell and then on up to Spalding.
In recent years Alec had been sadly plagued by ill health although he put up a tremendous fight. I recall sending him a postcard from a business trip in America in 2002 - via priority international delivery as I was concerned that the postcard may not make it to him in time. He proved that despite parts of his self failing, he was determined to make the very best of things and applied some of that tenacity for the next four years. He was still heard to be complaining about the state of the country and the government in the recent weeks!
Some of you have known Alec for much longer than the 30 odd years that I have, but I'm sure that we will all miss him and his musings on life equally.
We can all reflect that he had a thoroughly good innings and I shall leave you with this thought:
As my old grandfather used to say: "Live for today - because tomorrow is but a promise."