A Tribute to Colin Ashmore
“…..thinking of Colin”
Like me, you too are finding it difficult to come to terms with Colin’s sudden death. It has been such a shock for all of us. First I must apologise for not being much of a support for those who have needed it, because I have found it difficult to accept the reality, that my Colin, your “walking Colin” is no longer with us here in Oxton. Forgive me, and accept my deepest thanks for all your prayers, loving thoughts beautiful cards and flowers.
I feel very strongly that Colin himself would not mind my sharing our last hours together with you, his friends of many years and mine since our marriage 14 years ago. Obviously it was a devastating shock for me, seeing him at around 11 sitting up in bed laughing and talking – then with my son Simon, seeing him, take his last breath in Kingsmill Hospital at 6am. For Colin it was a lovely death, because he really was so happy and seemed to have no pain. He had phoned his daughter around 6pm, as he did every day, and he told her what a wonderful day he had had, going round the village talking to lots of old friends, chatting about shared memories with Julie.
Well – we had been planning his 90th birthday party on Zoom (virtual reality wise) distributing invitations and a drink to be shared in a toast at his 90th Birthday Party. All at social distance. We had posted off 30 bottles the day before and were looking forward to this completely new experience of hosting a Virtual Party, instead of the normal celebration at the Village Hall, which Colin so wanted, remembering the fund raising times, he had led many years ago, but had changed with the threat of Coronavirus looming over social gatherings and celebrations. In less than 12 hours everything was turned upside down. With the help of my granddaughter Hayley, next day we changed the 90th Birthday Party into a Memorial Service to be shared by loads of old and new friends. That very afternoon we completed over 70 more letters to be sent out on the Monday. Friends tell of the shock they got. Having received the invitations and not 24 hours later receiving the invitation to the Memorial Service instead.
What a super event that turned out to be. Thank you so much for everyone who put so much into making it so memorable – in itself. In fact, it was recorded for anyone who would appreciate a copy.
I am very blessed with a family who share my prayers, which are put each morning on the Prayer board in our garden. They started at the beginning of lockdown, almost closed down when the end of Coronavirus attack seemed to be fading. Instead they continued, as did the need for them, introducing essential weather proofing against such winds and rain as was brought by Storm Francis just before Colin died.
Colin and I used to share prayerline prayers first thing in the morning and because of obvious continued need (now prayer 216) I have a newborn website to reach more people who might want to share them. More work needs to be done on this so a new day-to-day routine is developing at 26.
Colin and I had been to some of the Southwell Minster services online and were so looking forward to 26th September communion service in Oxton. This was not to be, and I went there alone. I was not alone actually, because our Oxton friends were there, sharing faith and worship of God, in praise an silent prayer time.
Really I must not grumble because no matter how lonely I feel now, I know as firmly as I know my date of birth, that God is with me specially when grief takes over and loving tears flow.
Colin had such a beautiful death, peaceful and painless when just hours before he was laughing and telling me of the wonderful afternoon he had had, talking with lots of old friends in Oxton. You cannot get better than that. What a wonderful farewell to the village he loved so much.
Thanks be to God. Love and blessings, with deepest thanks to all.
Margaret Cooper adds: Colin came to Oxton as a baby and lived in the village for the rest of his life so his knowledge and memories of Oxton have been invaluable. He was involved in so many village activities but one, in particular, has been of lasting value to the village: the Village Hall. Colin played a key role in launching the idea to build a village hall.
In Colin’s own words:
“Tom Bell, who was the son of Thomas Bell & Son, Be-Ro Flour, made an offer to the village that for every pound the village raised, he would match it, pound for pound, to build a village hall. So we had a meeting and invited all and sundry and the net result was that Colin came away from the meeting as Secretary of the Building Committee for this hall.
So we did four years of raising funds. In the end, Tom Bell said ‘Look we’re going to be forever and the cost of building is going to outpace the cost of raising money’. I think by that time, we’d raised something in the region all-together of £6,500. ‘I will give you the rest; we’ll build a village hall’.
In 1963 all the formalities were done. By that time, Jack Eastwood had moved into the village.
We put out three tenders, as we were bound to do, and he put in a tender at cost, and so we chose him and he built it for us. In May 1964, the village hall was opened by Mrs. Bell and I was the Chairman for the day.”
Mike Hulme adds: something you may not know is that the original 3 Trustees of Oxton Village Hall where Thomas Bell, William Burrell and Colin Ashmore. As mentioned in the Title Deeds the lease for the hall was signed by “Thomas Bell and the Trustees of Oxton Village Hall”. Colin was the last remaining Trustee of the hall and, although his involvement was mainly in the early years, it’s presence in the village was something that he considered one of his lasting legacies.
Many of you know that Colin had a finger in many pies and he is known for involvement in numerous projects and organisations and was a person who had a remarkable memory of the rich history of Oxton Parish Church. He will be sadly missed by many people from the village.
Thank you, Colin!
Sandra Hall adds: How sad it was to lose my Uncle Colin just days before his 90th birthday. It is hard to imagine life without him.
He had so many interests and hobbies over the years, but the one constant was his dedication to Oxton Church.
From being a choir boy in his youth he remained a faithful member of the Church Community. He took care of the clock, stoked the old boiler, raised the flag on top of the church tower, was a member of the PCC, and went on to study and become a Lay Reader. He freely gave of his time in so many ways.
Most church activities saw him in their midst – even the children’s crafts would see him joining in and adding to his ‘emporium’!!
He often said that he wanted any collection at his funeral to go to Oxton Church. He mentioned it to the Church Wardens, past and present, and told me to make sure it happened! Although I urged him to write his wishes down and share them with his family, he hadn’t done this.
With Sheila and the family now aware of his wishes, they fully support me when I suggest that if any of you would like to make a donation in his memory then please do so. Gift Aid it if possible to maximise your donation.
For any assistance please contact me: – Sandra Hall (0115 9653901) or the Church Wardens: Helen Lees (07866 364102) and Mike Newell (0115 9653420)