Bury Parish Church
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
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
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
"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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
It was attended by Bury North MP James Daly, Cllr Russell Bernstein
and other Bury councillors who were among those paying their
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
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
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
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.
WE LOVE YOU, WE MISS YOU.
SLEEP TIGHT DAD
Reflections by Natalie
I consider myself lucky. Lucky
because grandad was not just my grandad he was, more importantly,
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
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.