A Fond Farewell

Post date: Mar 9, 2017 10:49:18 PM

On Wednesday we said a final farewell to Paul Sensei. There was a very good turnout for his funeral. Indeed it was standing room only in the crematorium, which gives some indication of how much Paul touched people’s lives. Karateka from near and far were present in good number, including Alan Sensei, Mike Gude Sensei, Richard and Louis, all of whom had travelled some distance to be there. Some former club members (Doreen, Oliver and Moz) came also to pay tribute. And, of course, all the current adult members of the club Robin, Shambu, Louis, Chris, Deb, Sidi, Jacqui and Alison) were present, as well as Sami who managed to get time off school. Even Kagawa Shihan was present in the guise of a letter of condolence, which Alan Sensei presented to Christine and the family.

The ceremony was more of a celebration of Paul’s life than a mourning of his passing. The welcome music was Elbow’s “One Day Like This” and we filed in and stood at the back and round the sides until the entire room was filled to capacity. After a brief introduction from the vicar (Rev Ray Biddiss) and a prayer of hope there was a moving tribute to Paul, a man devoted to his family and especially his wife Christine. As the story goes, they couldn’t stand each other when first they met but as fair fortune had it they met again a year later and just hit it off. Second only to his family was karate. As we all know, Paul loved his karate. Indeed, we were told afterwards that he was lain in the coffin dressed in his karate dogi, his belt properly tied, as overseen by his brother Mark, himself an accomplished martial artist.

After the tribute came a few moments of reflection, accompanied by The Hollies singing “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother”. Then following a prayer of thanksgiving for Paul’s life came the committal. At this point the coffin is usually removed from view. On this occasion, however, it remained for people to come up and pay their own personal tribute. Morecambe and Wise sang their signature song “Bring Me Sunshine” as people began to file towards the coffin or out of the door. The karate fraternity waited to the end and gathered round the coffin and, taking our lead from Alan Sensei, bowed and stood in respectful silence for some minutes. It was a highly emotional experience.

We gathered afterwards at The Royal Oak in Eccleshill where photos of Paul’s life adorned the room. We chatted and drank and nibbled and learned more about Paul’s condition. The cancer in his bowel had spread to his brain and it was that that had proved fatal.

And so the chapter ends but the story continues. Paul will be sorely missed but in JKS Bradford his spirit lives on.