It was the funeral of my workmate today. Coaches were laid on to take us to the cemetery, crews from around London came in to work our local shifts so that all those who wanted to attend could, and management that I have never seen before turned up.
There was more than 75 people from the service there, and as the family had asked, it was a Service funeral. We lined the approach way to the chapel and stood to attention as the funeral cortage passed. First were two medic motorbikes, followed by two flag-bearers in dress uniform carrying the Union flag and the Service flag. Then came the cars carrying the coffin and his family. Taking the rear was an ambulance driven by his old crew mate, the passenger seat properly left empty. Finally, the HEMS helicopter, with perfect timing, did a low flyover. It was a very powerful sight, and it was this that brought a tear to mine, and many others eyes.
There then followed a service in which the Service Chaplin said a few words, some of the people who knew the deceased talked about him, once more letting people cry. I spent much of this time staring at the carpet in the chapel, but I couldn't now tell you what colour it was.
It was a good service, and I think it did everything that a good funeral service should do.