FOR years he selflessly offered up his time and talent to bugle at the funerals of others.
Now Tony Crisp’s family and friends say it is only fitting they will get the chance to say goodbye to him as his own melody plays over the speakers.
The commander of Training Ship Active Maritime Training Corps (MTC) in Waterlooville died on Boxing Day after a two-year battle with serious illness.
His life will be celebrated with a funeral service and a guard of honour at The Oaks Crematorium in Havant on January 25.
Just five months ago hundreds gathered to mark the impressive career of the late 71-year-old as he retired his TS Active MTC duties at St George’s Church Hall.
Now Anne Crisp is expecting that and more as the life of her husband of four years is celebrated with everyone he loved.
‘Tony’s work at the cadets was his love and his life so I think a lot of people will be there,' the 74-year-old said.
‘Compared to everyone else who knew him, I probably knew him the shortest amount of time – but I knew the other Tony.
‘He had a really strong wit and ironically the first time he took me out was to a funeral so I could see him play.
‘He always said he would never marry again so I must've done something right. There will be a huge void without him.’
During his time at TS Active MTC, Tony was responsible for teaching ‘hundreds, if not thousands’ of six-to-18-year-olds cadet discipline.
Ian Triggs, 53 from Horndean, said Tony gave his autistic son ‘a chance when no-one else would’ in welcoming the youngster into the unit back in 2006.
‘My son Kieran has difficulties, but he was given that chance by Tony and it's gone on to play a great part in his life,’ Mr Triggs said.
‘Tony was very highly regarded and because of him these cadets are a family.
‘He had a massive influence on so many young peoples’ lives and he will be sorely missed.’
TS Active MTC staff are set to carry Tony into the funeral, which will begin at 2.30pm and is open to anyone who knew him or was trained by him.
One pallbearer will be Tony Febvre – a staff member at TS Active – who met Mr Crisp in the 1970s.
The 53-year-old from Cowplain said: ‘To be carried by his friends is what Tony would have wanted and it will be a great honour for me to do that – just like it has been an honour to have known him.’