The multi-talented Martin Clare was celebrated today in St Mary's, Fairford, a church in which he had worked in various guises, and whose roof (amongst others) he had climbed. Martin was not, however, a believer, so this beautiful pre-Reformation church was put to use (as it would have been in centuries long ago) for an essential community purpose: his friends and family packed it, for the most joyful and moving funeral I have been to for many years.
The music ranged from Bach to the Beatles, with flamenco, Anna McGarrigle and a haunting Dead Man Blues to conclude. These are only a few of the pieces that crammed a nearly two-hour service, together with six or seven tributes, Psalm 98 and Edward Lear. All the members of Martin's family contributed with an astonishing composure, which contrasted markedly with that of many in the congregation.
How little we knew of Martin in our book group! I learned that he dubbed it "the scary book group". (How salutory for us survivors to hear that!) What an example of self-effacedness he gave!