Lt Col Eric William Davidson MBE. DL.
Freeman of the Bury


Bury Parish Church

Eulogy by Mike Kelly
Eulogy for Colonel Eric Davidson
Greatness, In these modern times, we have all heard and seen greatness in its many forms, perhaps an overused word sometimes. There is of course another greatness, the quiet, unassuming, unsung, unselfish greatness that is Colonel Eric Davidson.
I am very honoured and sincerely humbled that Eric asked me if I would present the Eulogy here and in this holy place. Colonel Eric as he is affectionately known as but was also known as Colonel D; Boss, Sir; and intriguingly as Gino, more on that later.
Today, right here, right now it is very emotional as I stand before you to share a few cherished memories of Colonel Eric.
We are here to say goodbye, it is clear he is not physically with us, but I am sure his spirit is within all who knew him.
So, how do you measure a man who loved life, a well lived life, a life of love for his adopted Bury and a life devoted to public and community service? his love for family and friends? and no less than his beloved Marjorie the children, Glenn, Michelle and the late Beverley, with his grandchildren, Natalie, Stacey, Mathew, Daniel, Danika, Great-Grandchildren Bradley, Che, Nevaeh-Effy and Willow, a decent size football team there! I would say Colonel Eric ticks all those boxes and left nothing on the table.
We were brought together by our respective jobs and we never looked back. I don't have many regrets in my life, preferring to keep looking forward, but I do wish I had met Eric many many years earlier as we had become great pals.
Eric's journey through life was full of variety with his various career moves and his volunteering work but that grit and determination to do the best he could always shone through.
Colonel Eric was born 13th September 1937 in Jedburgh and later moved to and grew up for a time in the village of Ancrum. As a war child Eric worked on a farm, and learned all about mechanical engineering and progressed to become an apprentice motor engineer.

Following his call up in 1955, he joined the Royal Air Force and moved to England to complete his National Service as part of the Ground Crew. Outside of work Eric could play the bagpipes and became a bit of a swinger as a good ballroom dancer enjoying nights out at the Winter Gardens and Tower Ballroom. Aye we were all young once!
During his service, fate played its 'Ace' card when, by chance, eyes met across the NAFFI floor with Aircraft woman Marjorie Dandy and the rest, as we all know, was the start of a lifelong romance and enduring relationship with Eric & Marjorie getting married 13th September1958.
On release from the air force, he joined the police service and located in Bolton eventually worked on the motorway and traffic units, and at Greater Manchester Police's headquarters leaving the service in 1988, finally retiring from work as National sales manager in 2002. During his time at GMP, Eric's buddies nicknamed him 'Gino' because of his suave Italian looks; dark wavy hair and olive skin. (silence)
I guess volunteering was always in his blood and in 1960, he offered his spare time to serve in the Royal Airforce Volunteer Reserve, achieving a Flying Officer commission, later transferring to the Loyal North Lancs Regiment and became a honorary Lieutenant Colonel.
In 2002, Colonel Eric was very proud to be appointed a Deputy Lieutenant for Greater Manchester.
I know he was a keen advocate of the creation of a Fusiliers museum here in Bury and spearheaded the fight to raise funds for the new Museum which of course finally happened in 2009 and thereafter served on the board of Trustees. Having achieved his goal, something was missing, his love of military music the pomp and the spectacle. And so, in typical Colonel Eric, fashion he went out and created the world famous Fusiliers Association Band and Corps of Drums.
Was that enough to keep him occupied, no! Colonel Eric, for over 50 years was involved with the annual Royal British Legion's Poppy Appeal in Bury which he went onto successfully organise for many many years to make the Bury poppy appeal one of the best in the northwest.
Does it end there, of course not!
On top of that, Col Eric was the parade marshal for both military and civic parades in the town, including Remembrance Day and Gallipoli Sunday.
More widely, he was also heavily involved with a host of other groups and organisations including the British Legion Housing, the Fusiliers Association in Lancashire, Bury Masonic Association and a co-ordinator of the Greater Manchester joint emergency executive council for voluntary organisations and his long association with Derby High School.
I know one of Colonel Eric's favourite occasions is when he and myself were part of the Bury Civic delegation that went to Gallipoli to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Lancashire Fusiliers, as part of the British 29th Division landing on W beach to the west of Helles point that fateful morning of the 25th April 1915 with the award six VC's before breakfast. W Beach was later renamed Lancashire Landing and where he laid a wreath at the Lancashire Landing Cemetery.
On being awarded an MBE in 2008 Col Eric said:
"Everything I do on a voluntary basis is for the benefit of other people. I have never expected reward. I am not someone to shout from the roofs about what I do. However, I am delighted and very honoured by this award which is not just for me but for the wonderful, generous people of Bury."

Freedom of the Borough
Back in 2015, it was also a privilege for me to be at the ceremony where Colonel Eric received the ultimate accolade for a resident of Bury from the local council with the Freedom of the Borough.
Only recently Colonel Eric was invited back to Bury Town Hall to give the council the opportunity to express their thanks on behalf of the residents of Bury, and as mentioned in the Bury Times
"The council chamber echoed with applause as an armed forces campaigner, who for nearly 50 years made 'an amazing contribution to the borough' was recognised after stepping down from his role organising the town's Remembrance parades and poppy appeals".
I found this quote from Samuel Butler the English writer and thought of Colonel Eric "to die completely, a person must not only forget but be forgotten, and he who is not forgotten is not dead"
I think if Colonel Eric were here now, and if he could hear what I say, I'd congratulate him on being a great man and thank him for being a friend and he will not be forgotten.

Reflection by Col Brian Gorski MBE. DL.

Good afternoon everyone. My name is Brian Gorski and the family have asked me to say a few words about Eric's military career.

I have known Eric for over 25 years as a trustee of the museum, a fellow Deputy Lieutenant and most importantly as a friend. I can describe his life and career in two words: service and dedication. In everything that Eric did it was always with a mind to serving others, be it the Regiment, the museum, the schools to which he was a trustee or the people of Bury as a Freeman and DL.

So what of Erics service to the military. In terms of his military career, I shall include his service in the Police force.

In 1955 Eric was conscripted for National Service, servicingin the Royal Air Force.Following National Service he moved to Lancashire and joined the County Borough of Bolton Police in 1958. In 1959 whilst carrying out his compulsory RAF Reserve Training, he was nominated to apply for a Commission in the Volunteer Reserve of the RAF. He was granted a commission initially as a Pilot Officer and then promoted to the Rank of Flying Officer.

In 1962, Eric transferred to the Lancashire Constabulary Traffic Division, where he remained until 1974. He retired from the Police Service in 1988 as 'Technical Communications Officer' having served for 30 years.

So what of his connection to the Army. In 1965 Eric applied to join the Territorial Army, where he served with the Military Police at Elm Grove, Didsbury, Manchester. A natural choice bearing in mind his Police career.

In 1966 Eric commissioned into the 6th BnThe Loyal 'North Lancs Regiment as a Lieutenant. Following work with the 'Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award scheme and Army Cadets, he became more involved with the Cadets and between 1966 and 1986 Eric served in varying roles throughout Merseyside and Lancashire, followed by an appointment as 'Deputy Commandant in both Counties.

Because of Eric's residence in the Fusilier Garrison Town of Bury and his police connection, he became involved with military charities, in particular the Krypton Factor organised by the Fusiliers Association, Lancashire. A great success for 16 years raising over £250,000.

Eric became a Fusilier whilst serving as the Deputy Commandant for Merseyside ACF a very proud moment in his military career. His involvement in other activities was renown. Following tenure as 'Events Secretary' in the Fusilier Association Lancashire he became Chairman and then Trustee of the Fusilier Museum Bury,a role he still performs.Eric has been involved in many other Regimental Activities over manyyears most notably Gallipoli and Minden Days. In 1997 he started a Military Band and Corps of Drums based at Castle Armoury, Buryand became president. This year is their 25th Anniversary and you see them before you today in all their military splendour. Over the last 3 years Eric has ensured the connection with the Cadets continued and his band has Corps of Drums has been training the ACF drummers

Poem by Karan Lee DL.

Burys' Pride and our Proud Colonel Eric

Don't ask yourself, why Colonel Eric died, instead ask yourself, how did Colonel Eric live

Ask not, what Colonel Eric gained, but ask what Colonel Eric gave

These are the true units to measure the worth,
the worth of a man, as a man, regardless of his birth

Ask not what was his church, and not what was his creed
But how many people he befriended and how he helped those really in need

Was he ever ready, with kind words and words of good cheer
Did he bring back a smile, and banish your tear

Not what did the sketch in the newspapers say
But how many were truly sorry when he passed away

Our darling Colonel Eric
You are too precious to ever be forgotten and too priceless to be replaced
Oh, to share another moment with you and look upon your smiling face.
A man with a heart so pure, so caring and so kind.
A man so special and so so hard to find.

Thank you Colonel Eric, thank you for your love, thank you for your kindness, your friendship, the good times, but most of all thank you for the courage only you could give us to carry on.

As family and as friends, today we may mourn him, today we may fret
But Our Colonel Eric says, No, please smile, please be kind, and please remember me for 'Lest we forget'


Taken from the Bury Times
Bury town centre came together today, Wednesday, to celebrate the life of Lieutenant Colonel Eric Davidson MBE.
Hundreds of his family, friends and colleagues gathered at Bury Parish Church for Eric's funeral service, which began at noon.
Colonel Eric died on Thursday, May 12 aged 84 after suffering with cancer.
Mounted police and a police range rover led the hearse to the church gates while onlookers watched respectfully in silence.
The service was led by Reverend Julian Heaton, the Rector of Bury.

It was attended by Bury North MP James Daly, Cllr Russell Bernstein and other Bury councillors who were among those paying their respects.
Many members of the service attended in their armed forces uniforms and police uniforms.
Pipe Sgt Andrew Hay of the Scots Guards Association Pipe Band played as part of the procession into and out of the church.

In his eulogy, former colleague and friend Mike Kelly relived Colonel Eric's life and career as an accident prevention officer for Bury police, a member of the Regimental Council in Lancashire, the founder and president of the Band and Corps of Drums of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers (Lancashire) and the Deputy Lord Lieutenant in 2002.
In June 2008, he was made an MBE and an Honorary Freeman of Bury in 2015 on his return from Turkey, where he had been with the civic party to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Fusiliers' landing at Gallipoli.
Kelly said that Colonel Eric was "a man who lived and loved life".
Colonel Brian Gorski MBE, a trustee of Bury Fusiliers Museum, deputy lieutenant and friend of Colonel Eric also reflected on his career and charitable life.
The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers Band Lancashire and Corps of Drums were part of the days proceedings playing the hymns and solo musical pieces throughout the service.
When the service was over, Colonel Eric's coffin was borne out of the parish church and back into the hearse to the sound of bagpipes and drums.
Many onlookers gathered outside to share their fond memories of Colonel Eric and offer their last respects.
The procession left the church at 1.30pm to go onto East Lancashire Crematorium in Radcliffe.

East Lancs Crematorium

EULOGY by Peter Whitnall

Reflections by Michelle

Dad had many titles throughout his life - PC Eric Davidson or Gino to some of his old Police colleagues, Colonel Eric, Boss, Sir, MBE, Deputy Lord Lieutenant, Freeman of The Town, Worshipful Master, Knight Templar, Band Organiser, Chairman of the Board ( of many organisations), Friend .....
He was a very popular man, well respected and loved by all that knew him.
To US he was Husband, Dad, Grandad and Papa.
We've lost our ROCK, THE FOUNDATION OF OUR FAMILY, the one we would go to if we needed help or advise. But together as a family we will carry on your name. We will look after each other and look out for each other, just as you've always done in the past for us all.
You've just fought the hardest battle of your life with the saddest of endings.
Your final job is to go and take care of Bev for us, just like you've always done.


Reflections by Natalie
I consider myself lucky. Lucky because grandad was not just my grandad he was, more importantly, my dad.

Due to circumstances at the time he and gran ended up taking me into their home from a very young age. They brought me up as one of their own children and for that I will be forever grateful.

He was THE most important man in my life, my role model, my inspiration, my go to person and my hero.

I believe that what we become depends on what we are taught.

Many people, as well as granddad, would often comment on how much I was like him.........strong willed, opinionated, methodical, interested in people, to name a few.

These qualities that I learned from THE best have helped me immensely in the planning for today.

I hope I've done you proud grandad and followed your instructions to the letter. But more importantly I hope you've been looking down on today with a smile on your face seeing how much you were loved, thought of and well respected.

Today your adopted home town of bury came to a standstill and that was all for you.

I will love you always
Natalie aka your pudding

Our Family Chain

We little knew that morning
That god would call your name.
In life we loved your dearly;
In death we do the same.
It broke our hearts to lose you,
But you did not go alone,
For part of us went with you
The day God called you home.
You left us beautiful memories,
Your love is still our guide,
And though we cannot see you,
You are always by our side.
Our family chain is broken
And nothing seems the same,
But as God calls us one by one,
The chain will link again.

Cathie Brooks Fusilier (Lancashire) Band Director

So today my last duty and request of my beloved Colonel Eric, was carried out. The Band and Corps of Drums did exactly as you requested and all your plans delivered. You would have been so proud. Your family were amazing and so strong and together we worked to ensure all was exactly as you wished.
I personally can’t find the words to describe right now how I feel. You have been a massive part of my life for the last 20 years. You have encouraged me and given me opportunities I could never have dreamed of and when times were tough you were always there! My own children think of you as another grandpa and I will be forever grateful for how you brought me in to your family as an extra daughter.
Sarah played stunningly, Home Away from Home, the last tune we shared together and Stephen looked so smart in his Kilt, keeping a perfect beat in church, both in honour of the great man you were and how much you meant to them. You will forever hold a place in my family’s heart and I promise to you that your beloved Band and Corps of Drums will continue as you wish for many years to come. Sleep well Boss. I will miss you forever but you will always be with me in my heart and all I do for the Band & Corps of Drums. Xxxx

Some of my own Memories Of Col Eric
Eric and I go back a long way he used to visit my dad years ago he even came to see me the day before I joined up to wish me well we lost touch for a while then. After I left the army I started up the Fusilier Krypton Factor Eric helped me set it up which was very successful for 14 years we had many a good time doing it one fun thing that happened was we needed to feed the helpers/marshalls Eric said he would go to the local chippy and order some pies and we could heat them up in our caravan this was great until the day came Eric got the pies we went to put them in the oven but found the caravan did not have one Eric says I know we'll put them under the grill which he did but of course we forgot about them they came out like bits of coal. Then there was the time Eric Carried Gemma Full length of the Assault course on his back . Then there was the trip to the Isle of Man with the Band my Gemma who was 4 had a imaginary Bobby but Eric did not know it was not real she had him looking all over the place for Bobby he even had a girl in a café help look for bobby In the end we told him but even then she had him walking down the prom with a lead with nothing on the end of it. Gemma still remembers it. Some great memories Col Eric you will be Sadly missed by so many people and organisations. Now its time to hang up your boots RIP Stand Easy my condolences to Marjorie and your family I am sure you will remember a lot of the times I have mentioned and many many more
Dennis Laverick