WELLINGTON said its farewells on Thursday (February 8) to Richard Fox, who died on Boxing Day, aged 85.
Richard’s funeral was held in the morning in Taunton Deane Crematorium and was followed in the afternoon by a gathering in Wellington Rugby Club for people to reminisce and share their memories of how he had touched their lives.
There was standing room only in the crematorium as hundreds of people attended a service which was streamed live via a webcast for many more who were unable to attend in person.
Mourners were welcomed by Richard’s cousin Ben Fox and Wellington Local History and Museum Society’s Colin Spackman, who presented a biography of him.
A film of Wellington Basins and waterways narrated by Richard, which had been shown at the town’s first film festival, was screened, before the Riverside Singers performed a song titled ‘Wellington Fair’ which he had written.
The singers comprised Laura Pashley, Nancy Powell-Brace, Jane Greenyer, Adrian Rose, John Young, and Gibby Swaine.
The service ended with mourners shouting: “Goodbye Richard and well done.”
Those who attended the rugby club heard tributes from friends and representatives of a host of organisations from across the town of which Richard had either been a member or had helped.
The tributes were led by Wellington Mayor Cllr Marcus Barr, who said Richard was ‘one of the last great gentlemen of Wellington’.
Cllr Barr said Richard had never been a councillor, but ‘he would have made a great councillor if he had been’.
He said Richard was a ‘fantastic man’ who had inspired him to become a better person.
The rugby club, which was founded by the Fox family 150 years ago this year, announced it was introducing a permanent reminder of Richard with a new award to be presented each season.
The Richard Fox Spirit of Rugby Award would go to the club member each year who best exemplified Richard’s spirit of encouragement and unwavering enthusiasm.