THERE were smiles and splashes of colour among the tears at the funeral of a much-loved father who lost his battle against a brain tumour.
Andy Combs had asked his family to dress up in bright colours to say their goodbyes.
So in keeping with his wishes widow Emma and daughters Kristy and Helena wore bright dresses, as did other mourners.
The service of thanksgiving and celebration was held St Mary the Virgin Church in Rowner, where Andy and his family were regular members of the congregation.
As reported in The News, the father-of-three of Exmouth Road, in Gosport, had lived to keep his promise of seeing his youngest daughter attend her first day at school.
He died the next day, after 11 years fighting a brain tumour.
Friar John Draper led the service and spoke of the 36-year-old’s strength and how he was able to prepare for death, including making son Martin, seven, ‘the man of the house’.
He said: ‘It’s easy for us to dwell on the illness that Andy had. It’s easy to forget everything else that made him.
‘The most important thing is his love for his family. He was able to see and teach his children about what they were going to do when he was gone.’
He also spoke of Andy’s ‘infuriating’ sense of humour and the jokes he would play.
But he added: ‘He never gave up. He never said a word that was about feeling sorry for himself.
‘He knew his maker was around the corner and he was always optimistic.
‘We will miss Andy as a husband, as a dad, as a brother, as a fellow church-goer, as a friend and as a confidant.
‘We will miss his smile through-out everything and we can learn from that, that if a dying man can smile, we can too.’
Family friend Tresta Bacon read a poem written for the occasion by Andy’s mother-in-law Anna Cartwright.
The coffin was taken from the church to I’ll be Missing You by P Diddy and Faith Evans. The service continued at Portchester Crematorium where Thank You for Loving Me by Bon Jovi and Here Comes the Sun by the Beatles were played for Andy.