By Gordon Piper
The 1st June 2021… the day we said our last goodbyes to Gary Scanlan. A memorable member of rugby club The Dukes.
During Gary’s last journey, he was driven past The Dukes clubhouse, where members of the club and friends were allowed to pay their last respects.
Due to Covid, the funeral was held in a private service with a limited number of guests. For those who were unable to attend the service, they could watch it via a livestream on the internet.
At the service Gary’s coffin was surrounded by flowers from his family and friends and on his coffin lay his old Dukes rugby jersey and his ‘boerenkiel’, which was very appropriate.
Gary was the only boy in a family of 5 children and his three remaining sisters had written their own personal memories about him. As they could not attend the service themselves, due to Covid travelling restrictions, their memories were read by Gary’s ex-wife Caroline and Caroline’s sister, Jet.
Through their words we got to know a side of Gary which we were unfamiliar with. However, some of their stories did not surprise us, because they showed that, even as a child, Gary was competitive and loved to win.
Our own Simon Green also shared his memories of Gary as a friend, a coach and fellow England supporter. This brought back a lot of memories for us as well, especially for the older members of the club.
The atmosphere went very emotional when Gary’s sons Gareth (read by Jet), Nathan and Aidan shared their thoughts about their father with us.
I think it is fair to say that we all got to know Gary a little bit better through the words of his family.
One of the songs that was played during the service was ‘Be young, Be Foolish, Be Happy’ by the Tams, and although it was a very sad day, hearing that song also brought a smile to our faces, because that is how we knew our Gary: living life to the fullest… when he was young, but certainly also when he got older. One of our fondest memories will be Gary at the Dukes, with a beer in his hand and watching rugby!
He will be dearly missed!
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