Church packed to the rafters for thanksgiving service to remember nature-loving Alan

There were both tears and laughter as a service of thanksgiving at Christchurch Methodist Church that he had himself planned covered the many aspects of the life of Alan Malpass.

Alan’s watercolours of a koala and a bald eagle in Monday’s order of service illustrated both his love of nature and his skill as an artist; photographs of him with a Jaguar and in cricket flannels his passion for fast cars and sport.

The service conducted by former Christchurch minister the Rev Roger Leslie in a church packed to capacity, included the hymns Guide Me O Thou Great Redeemer, O Love That Will Not Let

Me Go and Love Divine All Loves Excelling.Organist Gerald Witts had opened the service, which had been preceded by private committal, with Nimrod from Elgar’s Enigma Variations.

The exit music was Sanctus from Gounod’s St Cecilia Mass.

Music also included a recording of The Rose by Bette Middler.

Christchurch Singers, of which Alan was a member, sang Some Day the Silver Chord Will Break.

Alan’s widow, Pam, assisted her son Laurence Thomson in reading Alan’s chosen scripture from Isaiah Chapter 55. Alan’s daughter Caroline Farah read Tennyson’s Crossing the Bar.

The appreciations of Alan’s life began with chairman Chris Warne speaking of his work as a trustee of Sussex Wildlife Trust.

Church treasurer Barry Turnwell spoke of Alan’s Christian faith and his commitment to Christchurch.

Lifelong friend Gerald Alfille’s hilarious anecdotes brought laughter as he recalled how together they had founded Tiffany Foods in Bexhill.

Alan’s son, Adrian, brought further laughter with memories of childhood living over the family village butchers’ shop.

The Rev Leslie’s appreciation included the letter Alan had written to him about his childhood and adoptive parents.

There was also an appreciation of Alan’s work as president and woodland warden of Highwoods

Preservation Society and his 25 years of service to Bexhill Museum.

Alan, 74, had planned the service himself to save Pam distress. The family invited donations to Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research in lieu of flowers.