Firstly, thank you all for making the effort to join us here today for the funeral of Christopher Peter William Regan. My name is John William Peter, and my son's name is Peter Christopher Leslie – Leslie was my Mother's father's name. It's strange that certain names seem to resonate through families – I'm sure in future generations of our family the name Christopher will appear, without really knowing who our Christopher was – but in a small way he and his name will live on.
Christopher, had very fixed views, which I'm sure everybody here knows – he was insistent that this was to be a funeral and not a celebration of his life. It will be no surprise that Christopher had planned his own funeral, which certainly didn't include me giving a eulogy. But here I am, sorry Christoph you'll have to indulge me for a few minutes.
Christopher professionally was a phenomenal musician, prodigious administrator and always a passionate teacher of music. The only real example I can give of his musical ability, on a personal level is: when I got married to Peter's mother, Christopher kindly agreed to play the organ. The organ of St. Peter-
As most of us know Christopher thoroughly enjoyed the pleasures of life, good food and drink. One of the reasons I suspect he married my mother was that she is such a good cook. The example I can think of this enjoyment, was back in 2004 or 5 when Peter's mother and I had persuaded them to join us in Schliersee, a small town in Bavaria, for Christmas. On arrival at our destination during the late afternoon, our rooms weren't quite ready so we waited in the bar area, Dieter the barman came over to take our order. Both mum and Bobby wanted a cup of tea, Peter wanted a Spritzie (a ghastly sweet drink only youngsters like) – Christopher turned to me with hope in his eye, and asked 'what are you having' – 'a beer of course, we're in Bavaria' – 'oh good' he replied 'I'll join you' under my mother's disapproving eye. 'Zwei Maas Bitte, Deiter', the light in Christopher's eye when two enormous steins of beer arrived!
When I was young my father died while I was away at school, this devastating event left an enormous hole in my life, I'm sure my sisters Sally and Jane felt the same way, and to my mother it was cataclysmic. Christopher, who incidentally was also my Godfather and a second cousin – if you're really interested I'll explain afterwards, did his utmost to fill that void in our lives. So in many respects I have been incredibly fortunate to have had two fathers, Peter, who my son is named after, and Christopher. I just wish I had told him how he had succeeded to not replace my father but be a father when I needed one, he saw me over many bumps in my life, and I know my sisters feel the same way. He celebrated our successes, commiserated on our failures and was generous to a fault.
For my mother, Christopher was a loving, caring and generous husband. He had been hospitalised a few days before Peter and I started our journey around Europe, on discharge from Cheltenham General Hospital he mentioned to me in the car that he was very worried that he would die before my mother, because he didn't want her to go through bereavement of a husband for a second time! Sorry Christopher, human plans and hopes come to naught when nature takes over!
In later years, increasing disability meant that his once relatively active life was confined increasingly to Grasshopper's, but through the use of the internet and phone he was able to keep in touch with his numerous friends and acquaintances. He revelled in having visitors, to whom he could regale stories and if necessary check facts on the green goddess (my mother's name for Christopher's iPad in it's bright green protective cover), he would get so frustrated when he couldn't remember some detail, for example the birthday of a former colleague from fifty years ago – I'd have trouble remembering their name let alone any other details. Grasshopper's won't be the same now, now that we won't see him sitting in that enormous chair of his, always ready to offer hospitality – when he knew that my partner Andy liked a beer in the evening, there were always a few cans in the fridge in case he should visit!
I know it's not usual to thank people at a funeral, but I want to take this opportunity to thank somebody who is very special to me. It was my partner Andy who broke the news over the telephone to me that Christopher had died, Peter and I had just reached a miserable little town in northern Bulgaria. On the day that Christopher actually died, it was Andy who was with my mother, took her to the hospital to hear the news of Christopher's death, it was Andy who stayed with my mother until my sisters could reach her side. He did this while suffering his own grief after his own father died only a few days before. So here publicly I thank you Andy for being an incredible caring loving person, who was able to put aside your own grief to help others.
So back to the funeral, and our own goodbyes to a thoroughly good and nice person, a husband, stepfather, grandfather, great grandfather, friend and colleague – Christopher Peter William Regan.