FRIENDS, family, colleagues and the community gathered this week to say goodbye to Stratford District Council’s longest serving member.
St Mary and All Saints Church in Haselor was packed for Sir William Lawrence’s funeral on Wednesday (February 25).
And such was the Alcester stalwart’s popularity, more than 200 people had to listen to the service outside the church.
Prayers were led by Canon David Capron and Sir William’s goddaughter recited Shakespere’s most famous sonnet, “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”
The 60-year-old was then laid to rest alongside his parents before more than 250 people joined a celebration of his life at Great Alne and Kinwarton Memorial Hall.
Earlier in the week, tributes to Sir William – both personal and professional – flowed from all four corners of the council chamber.
Chairman Coun Simon Jackson told how his ‘gentle and caring nature’ would be much missed by everyone.
He said: “There is an unmistakable level of affection and he has left an indelible mark for so many different and worthwhile causes.
“The landscape without Sir William will be much the poorer but we should all remember and be grateful for the example he set being a person wholly dedicated to the betterment of our district – something we should all aspire to emulate.”
District council leader Chris Saint paid tribute to Sir William’s contribution to district life, saying how ‘someone, somewhere was always going to miss Sir William’.
And Sir William’s neighbour, Coun Mike Gittus amused the council with a tale of how Sir William – who was confined to a wheelchair from the age of three – had once rang him after the battery on his electric chair
had gone flat.
Picked up by the AA, Coun Gittus recalled how Sir William was then towed home at a ‘steady 35mph’.
He also spoke of Sir William’s desire to help improve the community and of the unfailing love for his wife of ten years, Tamara.
He added: “Tamara has lost a friend, husband and soulmate but William died as he would have wanted – within the community he worked for and in the arms of the woman who loved him more than anybody else in the world.”