|Good afternoon everyone.
My name is Paul Budis and I am an independent funeral celebrant.
It is my privilege and my honour to lead this service in memory
of Ian Hilton who died at home on 16th November aged 74.
As you are all only too well aware a fine gentleman has been
lost to us and I would ask that you feel free to be at one with
your sorrow, your sadness, your grief and your memories - but
I also ask you to feel the gladness, the happiness, the purpose
and the serenity of a life well lived. We grieve today with thoughts
of Ian foremost in our minds. His passing has brought sorrow to
his family and his friends.
But while we think of Ian's passing with sadness and regret,
we should recall his life with respect and happiness. You see,
nothing now can detract from the happiness and the closeness you
shared with Ian. Nothing now can affect the happiness and the
joy of life that Ian knew and nothing now can ever alter your
love for him and his love for you. This love can never be altered
by time, circumstances or even death. The past, with all its meaning,
remains sacred and secure. It cannot be taken away.
Be grateful that Ian was part of your lives and let his influence,
his character, his warmth and his deeds live on.
Let us now listen to the first reading which has been chosen
for our service this afternoon. This is going to be read by Ian's
As We Look Back (Anon)
As we look back over time
We find ourselves wondering .....
Did we remember to thank you enough
For all you have done for us?
For all the times you were by our sides
To help and support us .....
To celebrate our successes
To understand our problems
And accept our defeats?
Or for teaching us by your example,
The value of hard work, good judgment,
Courage and integrity?
We wonder if we ever thanked you
For the sacrifices you made.
To let us have the very best?
And for the simple things
Like laughter, smiles and times we shared?
If we have forgotten to show our
Gratitude enough for all the things you did,
We're thanking you now.
And we are hoping you knew all along,
How much you meant to us.
It is my privilege now to share with you some thoughts on
Ian was born in Abram on 24th January 1945, the younger of
two children to George and Mary Hilton. Sadly his elder brother,
Keith, has passed away before him.
He was raised and educated in the local area and went to Bedford
High. On leaving school he worked initially as a coach sprayer
but around his 18th birthday he joined the army and served in
1st battalion Lancashire fusiliers then 3rd Battalion Royal Regiment
of Fusiliers . He served in Hong Kong, British Guyana, Gibraltar
, Cyprus, Canada and Northern Ireland amongst other places. Received
BEM in 1980 and whgich he was extremely proud of and continued
serving until 1984. He later worked as Manchester University Facilities
Manager and moved on to part time roles in retirement following
Frances' death. He worked at Miko coffee with Ann and Andrea where
they had many laughs.
He first met Frances in the Top Bridge Pub in Leigh when he
was 22 and she was 19. The first date did not go to plan as Frances
got covered in beer from a pint pot that had been thrown across
the room. Not long after they met Ian was posted to Honk Kong.
7 months later Ian proposed to her by letter and the army flew
her out to get married in Hong Kong and they were married ion
Kowloon on 10th August 1968. All of this appeared in the Leigh
Journal. He lived with Frances in Hong Kong and Gibraltar. In
1970s they settled back in UK in Leigh at Norley Road where they
lived together ever since.
Their marriage was blessed with two children, Darren, who
sadly died in 1993, and Samantha, and two grandchildren, Jack
and Lewis. No description of his family would be complete without
mention of his son-in-law, Geoff and of his brother and sister-in-law,
Harold and Anne.
Ian made many friends over the course of his life as well.
There are too many to mention everyone by name but I have been
asked to make a special mention of Ann who has been a good friend
and companion to him in recent years, of Baz, Alan, Pete and Jim,
his mates from the army
Ian loved travelling and it was sad he wasn't able to do this
in later years. Before Frances passed away they started travelling
and managed to get to Mexico and the Dominican republic, but,
unfortunately, Frances' illness meant they couldn't travel anymore.
However, Ian continued to travel after this. He travelled all
over including Alaska, Hawaii and a Caribbean cruise. He met new
friends and visited them in Boston and a friend from Las Vegas
visited Ian in the UK. He also got to British Guyana and re-visited
I was also told that he and Frances loved dancing and that
they were both very good jivers. He loved history as well, and
car fayres and he had gone to many of these with his grandsons
over the years.
When I visited Sam a few days ago I asked her to describe
her Dad to me and she told me that he had a very dry sense of
hunour, was very witty and he had a very distinctive laugh. That
said, he was also a very serious man and he was extremely proud
of his achievements and of those of his family. Although he did
like socialising and going out for good food he did like being
at home in his own space and Sam did tell me that he was well
known for turning the TV up, not off, if one of her friends came
to visit! He was a bit of a perfectionist as well and it always
took him ages to get a job done as it had to be just perfect.
The 22 years Ian spent with the army were very important to
him and that is why later today we will have the Last Post played
at his graveside. And to finish this eulogy I want to share with
you some of the messages that Sam has received from his former
This first one is from Stan Olsen in Las Vegas:
I met Ian in Shanghai, China. We were just beginning a two
I think we made a on interesting team. Ian was more reserved then
I, him being British military and all, whereas I was the brash
American law enforcement guy. . Ever the reserved Brit, Ian was
drinking a gin something, maybe a Gin Fizz but I could be wrong,
while the brash Yank drank an American bourbon
Later at dinner we bragged, embellished and reminisced about our
In all seriousness, Ian was a clearly a proud member of the
British Military and I enjoyed learning about his experiences.
A few years later, in August of 2016, I was in England and met
up with Ian in Liverpool. We had lunch and "pints" at
a place he recommend. It was great. I invited him to visit Las
Vegas but he said the doctor wouldn't allow it. Doctors are true
buzz killers, so unfortunately it never happened.
I will miss Ian and our emails and phone calls. He was a good
person, clearly proud of his military service and good friend.
This next comment is from Roland Goodison MBE Major (well
He was an outstanding soldier then which is clearly shown
by his progression to Warrant Rank and earning a BEM after our
And now some words from George Carter. (Lt Col (retired)):
Our paths crossed many times during those years, at Platoon
and Company level while we made our relative ways up the slippery
pole of army career. I recall that at all times, he was a thoroughly
nice person, and apart from this, a couple of things really stood
out. One was his never ending cheerfulness and good humour, and
the other was his ability to bring a high degree of common sense
and professionalism into making judgements and/or decisions. He
advised many young , (and not so young) officers when his sense
and experience were needed. Many of us owed him, big time.
This is from Trevor Minter former Colonel of the Regiment:
We served together in the 3rd Battalion in the 70s and 80s
and I always so much enjoyed his company and wicked sense of humour.
He was an excellent soldier and a good man and will be much missed
by the Fusilier community. He will have left many happy memories
and that great smile which comes to mind when one thinks of him.
This is from Les Ingham:
Ian and I were signallers in British Guyana. Fond memories
indeed. Ian stood out from his peers as an exemplary soldier,
a leader and an example of what we all aspire to be. He was a
great friend to so many in the battalions' which he served. His
friendship, sense of humour and his infectious laugh will be long
And now a message from Michelle, whom he met on a cruise:
I guess that's what I loved most about him. He always looked
at things in a positive way and always with that dry sense of
It always amazed me at the instant connection we all felt when
we met Ian. For us the destination of our cruise wasn't really
the highlight of our trip even though it was beautiful. The highlight
was the fun we all had together.
We have just heard some wonderful memories of Ian I know that
you will each have your own and unique memories of the times you
have spent with him, so we are now going to pause for a moment
of quiet, personal reflection to give each of you the chance to
remember Ian in your own way, to quietly say goodbye to him in
your own words and those of you who so wish may also like to take
this opportunity to say a silent prayer for him, so that all of
your love, your thoughts and your prayers can go with him to his
final resting place. As we reflect The Rose sung by Bette Midler
will play in the background.
And so, we now come to the time in our service where we have
to prepare to say our final goodbyes to Ian some may say forever,
others just until a better time and place.
In just a few moments we will take his coffin from this chapel
to his final resting place. Please remember that it is only Ian's
body which we will bury here today, not his personality, his soul
or his spirit which will remain alive forever in your minds and
in your hearts, because to live on in the heart of another person
is not to die...love never dies.
Before we finish our service and take Ian to his final resting
place, I would like to thank you for being here today not only
to say goodbye to him but also as a demonstration of the love
that you had for him and for each other. The love and support
you have are so important not only today, but in the days, months
and years to come. Ian's family have also asked me to say that
anyone who wishes to is very welcome to carry on this celebration
of his life with them at the cricket club in Pennington after
Let us now take Ian from this place on the last part of his
journey to his final resting place.
Exit Music: The Power of Love by Jennifer Rush
In just a moment we will place Ian's body in this hallowed
ground and as we do so we think again of all that he meant and
means to us. We dedicate this simple plot, amid these natural
surroundings, to every beautiful and precious memory associated
Coffin is lowered
Tenderly and reverently we commit Ian's body to be buried.
We are grateful for the life that has been lived and for all
that his life has meant to us. We are glad Ian lived.
We are glad we saw his face and felt the pressure of his hand.
We cherish the memories of his words, his deeds and his character.
We cherish his friendship. And most of all we cherish his
Ian, may the light of love shine forth upon you, on those
for whom you care and on those who care for you; may you be ever
blessed with peace and understanding as you travel on: may you
come to the end of your journey in gentleness and joy and may
you rest in peace.
In recognition of Ian's military service we will have the
Last Post and Reveille:
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
Bugler will now play the Last Post and Reveille
We now leave the memory of our beloved Ian in peace.
With enduring love and respect we bid him farewell.
May you find richness and example in your memories of Ian.
May you find strength and support in your love for one another.
And may you all now find peace in your hearts.
Some earth is scattered on the coffin and mourners depart