I have been to Bristol for a couple of days to attend the funeral of my friend, Nocker, who died recently. It was a Humanist service at the crematorium, Nocker had planned it all out because he knew his time with us was probably going to be short – born with a cleft palate and heart problems, he hadn’t been expected to leave the hospital after birth, let alone to reach 50. At the end, his music teacher found him collapsed over his keyboard, after he suffered a heart attack. Music he chose for the ceremony included “When the Levee Breaks” (Led Zepp), “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” and “The Galaxy Song” (Monty Python), and “The Timewarp”, which he had requested that everyone should dance to.
The first time I met him he had shaved his head for charity, apart from a long ginger plait which hung down his back and complimeted the black NHS spectales and his skinny pink frame. He was practising swordsmanship in my friend’s back garden, with another member of the Sealed Knot. He was also a keen biker, and built up his strength so that he could ride and handle his own bikes, as well as taking part in charity rides from Lands End to John O’Groats. His name came from the sound one of his bikes made when the crankshaft (or something technical) fell off. He fought with the Viking re-enactment society too, carrying an extra 3 stone of armour, and was a great character. His brother described him as “a medium rare Cornish pasty … half-baked!”
He loved life, travel, his friends and family, his wife and his cats, not necessarily in that order. There was a great turn-out at the funeral, including a cortege of bikers and friends from the Vikings, the Sealed Knot, the Moonrakers (Tewkesbury) and other bikers from Devizes. Unfortunately someone attending the previous funeral collapsed in the chapel, and we had to wait for an ambulance to pick them up before Nocker’s funeral could go ahead. His brother joked that Nocker would have laughed at being late for his own funeral.
All in all, a life well lived, and although I’m sorry he has gone, I’m proud to have known him. Thanks, Nocker.