|Written by Terry|
|Monday, 21 July 2008 21:54|
Ernie’s Funeral Service
21st July 2008
St. James Church, Bermondsey, East London
Margaret and I left home at 6:5am and, in spite of the M1 road works south of Luton adding half an hour to the journey, we arrived at Stanmore at 9.20am. The Jubilee line from Stanmore took us straight to Bermondsey by 10.25am and St James Church was just round the corner.
Many mourners had already gathered in the Churchyard. Martin, who had been the link between Ernie, his family and the fans, illustrated the lengths to which people had gone to attend by telling me about Will Haining’s experience. He had played in Italy the previous day and then missed his plane. Martin rescued a distraught Will by booking him on a flight to Luton and picking him up from the airport at 1.00am.
Alan Hardy and John Sheridan represented Latics. There were many players present, some with wives/partners. Stefan Stam from the current team and old boys David Eyres, John Eyre, Chris Killen, Will Haining, Fitz Hall, Mark Hughes, Wayne Andrews, David Beharall and Danny Boshell. There were also players from Rochdale, Boston United and Grays Athletic, and a Macclesfield player who was a mate of Ernie’s. Also present were Iain and Bob Dowie and John Harbin.
A small number of fans had responded to the family’s request to attend in Latics’ football shirts to add a splash of colour.
I went into the Church and asked the Vicar for permission to display the Ernie Flag from the balustrade to the side of the Church entrance. The Vicar agreed and said it could be brought into the Church, but I said we would display it outside.
Mourners were visibly impressed with the flag and some took pictures of it.
There was an official photographer and a video recording of the whole of the proceedings before, during and after the service. Therefore it seemed appropriate to take pictures for the benefit of the many fans who were unable to attend.
As the mourners chatted outside the church a female singer sang from the area in front of the entrance.
The sun shone but there was a cold wind blowing as the funeral cortege arrived.. In addition to the flower-bedecked hearse, there were additional vehicles covered in floral tributes
After the opening prayer, Barry, a family friend, recounted memories of Ernie’s life and read condolence messages. This was followed by a minute’s applause.
A poem was read by Billy McAvoy and Jon Dyer on behalf of the twelve pall bearers.
There was then a video presentation showing Ernie’s goals for Latics and a series of still pictures of Ernie from a baby in 1980, growing up with his late mother and family, through all his various football teams, up to more recent pictures with Louise.
After the playing of ‘You Raise Me Up’, the Vicar read the lesson and gave the address.
Bob Dowie spoke in tribute to Ernie, which was followed by the playing of ‘For All The World’.
After the prayers and commendation, Ernie was carried from the Church to the sound of the gospel song ‘Happy People’.
Mourners chatted outside the Church for about fifteen minutes
before Ernie was driven away to his final resting place.
The fans present were thanked for attending by a family representative with a firm handshake.
All that remained in the Churchyard was the other flag from a group of Latics fans, left as poignant thanks to Ernie for the memories he has left with us.
Rest in peace Ernie.