Fitting farewell to Purbrook man who loyally served his country and community

LAST RESPECTS The funeral of Purbrook councillor David Farrow, inset, takes place at St Faith's Church in Havant.  Picture: Ian Hargreaves  (120347-2)
LAST RESPECTS The funeral of Purbrook councillor David Farrow, inset, takes place at St Faith's Church in Havant. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (120347-2)
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HE served his country and his local community for most of his life.

So it was very fitting that the union flag was draped over the coffin of former Havant mayor David Farrow.

Cllr David Farrow

Cllr David Farrow

In a touching gesture, his beret and medals from his time in the Royal Marines were placed on top of the coffin.

More than 150 people turned out for the civic funeral of the Purbrook councillor at St Faith’s Church in Havant.

As reported in The News, Conservative Cllr Farrow, of Tanners Ridge, Purbrook, died on Boxing Day of heart failure following a short battle with cancer. He was 76.

Attending his funeral were fellow councillors, Honorary Aldermen, the chief executive of Havant Borough Council, Sandy Hopkins, and the current Mayor, Cllr Ken Smith.

Canon Peter Jones spoke of the union flag and the medals being ‘powerful symbols’ of ‘courage, commitment and loyalty’.

He said the flowers on the coffin were also symbols of the love he shared for wife Hilary, a serving councillor for Purbrook, and his large family of two children, five grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

Olwyn Kennedy, a councillor for Stakes ward, paid tribute to an ‘outspoken, robust, forceful and caring’ man with a ‘wicked sense of humour’.

She said: ‘He was never afraid to speak out when he felt things were not quite right, often ruffling quite a few feathers in the process.

‘So many here will have known a different David to the one I and his fellow councillors knew, but I am sure we all know that David was a much-loved and loving husband to Hilary.

‘A proud and loving father, grandfather and great grandfather to a very close family – the bedrock of a man with a special, if sometimes complex character, and a pillar of the local community.’

The service heard how Mr Farrow joined the Royal Marines in 1952, seeing action in Cyprus, Malaysia, Suez and Singapore.

He attained the rank of Colour Sergeant and after leaving the Marines in 1975, he worked for the MoD at Bordon, becoming their chief driving instructor.

He was first elected as a councillor in 1995 and served continuously for 16 years.

He became Mayor of Havant in 1999, taking the borough into the new millennium.

During his mayoral year he was instrumental in setting up Flash, Family Liaison Austistic Support Havant, a group which has helped scores of local families.

He and his wife worked tirelessly to make the Phoenix Community Centre in Crookhorn a success.

Cllr Kennedy added: ‘Someone recently said that David had a special character that impacted on all those around him and even strangers. I don’t think anyone will argue with that comment.’

Bugler John Sumner played the Last Post as people said a last farewell.

The family later gathered at Portchester Crematorium for a private committal service.

A floral tribute carried with the coffin read ‘God bless’.