PM at funeral of his 'much-loved' war hero uncle.
THE Prime Minister revealed treasured childhood memories of watching Aston Villa with his war hero uncle as he led mourners at Sir William Dugdale's funeral.
David Cameron rushed from an earlier engagement at JCB's Staffordshire headquarters to pay his respects to the former Villa chairman, from whom he inherited his love of the claret and blues.
He arrived at the Church of Our Lady at Merevale, near Atherstone, A flanked by bodyguards and afterwards told relatives that watching the club with Sir William were among his happiest boyhood memories.
Sir William, who died earlier this month aged 92, won the Military Cross for his Second World War service with the Grenadier Guards and was at Monte Cassino and Anzio.
His medals were placed on his cof-cof fin during the service as the band of the Grenadier Guards performed The Last Post and The Grenadiers' Return.
He was Villa chairman from 1975 to 1982, a period which saw the club become champions of England and Europe.
White told the congregation that Sir William - who was also a Grand National jockey and held sevpassionately Merevale's new vicar Dr John White told the congregation that Sir William - who was also a Grand National jockey and held several positions in public life - made light of his many achievements.
"He lived life as something delicious, adventurously, passionately and aware of the One who gave it," Dr White said.
and aware of the One who gave it," Dr White said.
The funeral took place in Sir William | The funeral took place in the 13th century estate church near Merevale Hall, the great house where he was born in 1922 into a family of mine-owners, heralds and country squires.
More than 350 mourners packed into the church where he had been treasurer for many years and around 300 more followed the service on TV in an adjoining marquee. They included Sir Bill's beloved gamekeepers - immaculate in Dugdale tweed knickerbockers and jackets.
Sir Bill, as he liked to be known, had personally planned his service and ordered there be no eulogy.
Instead three of his six children from his two marriages, including his heir Sir Matthew Dugdale, gave biblical readings and his six grandsons read verses from the poem by Robert Southey, "You are Old, Father William".
from his two marriages, including his heir Sir Matthew Dugdale, gave biblical readings and his six grandsons read verses from the poem by Robert Southey, "You are Old, Father William".
Mr Cameron, whose mother Mary is the sister of Sir William's widow Cylla, had earlier given a key speech on immigration at JCB.
whose mother Mary is the sister of Sir William's widow Cylla, had earlier given a key speech on immigration at JCB. Dugdale But he then told the audience: "I'm sorry, I can't take more questions.
"I've got to go to the funeral of a much-loved relative, a man who fought at Monte Cassino, landed on the beaches of Anzio, rode a horse in the Grand National and was chairman of the world's greatest football club, Aston Villa.
"So I don't want to dishonour him by being late."
on on Sir William Dugdale |
Prime Minister David Cameron arriving at the funeral of Sir William Dugdale at Merevale church, near Atherstone |