Given by John Brooke at Frank’s funeral:
When I was asked to say a few words today, I at first hesitated. How could one cover Frank’s enormous contribution to Scouting in our County in just a few words?
Holding him, like so many others of his friends here today do, in such high regard, could I do it without getting emotional?
On reflection I realised that this was not an occasion for gloom, but for celebration and thanksgiving for the fact that we had known Frank, and thanksgiving for a wonderful long life, lived to the full.
I thought that I had known him for a long time having met him 50 years ago in 1954. That was until I was given his record of Warrants and Appointments in Scouting. From Assistant Cub Master (Baloo) to Group Scout Master in the 6th Southall (Trojans) between 1933 and 1955; spells as an Assistant District Commissioner and District Commissioner in the then separate District of Southall between 1942 and 1958. Deputy Camp Chief, later re-titled Assistant County Commissioner (Leader Training) from 1951 till 1978.
Just think for a moment, how many young lives he has had a hand in forming and leading. How many, perhaps not so young lives, he has had a profound effect on, and through them on hundreds more young lives, during his outstanding leadership of Adult Training over 27 years in our County.
On reaching 65, the movement’s warranted retirement age in 1978, was he ready for a rest? Not a bit of it. His roles since then have ranged from representing our County on the Council of the Scout Association for three years; being the Chalfont Heights Camp Site manager and a member of the Management Committee for 26 years; a member of the County Executive Committee from 1978 to 2001 and a County Vice President and the catalyst in 1986 in obtaining what we named Frank’s Field at Chalfont Heights – the list is almost endless.
If I was asked, what is the one thing that I will remember Frank for, I think it would have to be two. For his unfailing courtesy and appreciation of what others were doing for Scouting – he never failed to say “Thank You”. Secondly, for his sense of humour – this was exemplified when, visiting him in Wexham Park Hospital after his last admission and catching him on a good day, he said “I bet you have come to collect my annual subscription to Friends of Chalfont”. We did have a good laugh.
So, as I said earlier, let us celebrate that we knew Frank and be thankful that he played, and encouraged us to play, this great game of Scouting so well.
‘So long Pal’, it has been great to know you.
The following is an email from Janet Thornton of Kenton:
Oh what a lovely soul!
My wonderful thoughts of Frank will remain of him and Fred Webb running the first 3-in-1 Course that my son Roy went on all those years ago.
I left Roy alone in tears that Friday evening, dreading the weekend only to return on the Sunday with him being best mates with Frank and Fred and, I think, they with him.
So now Frank has joined Roy to dance in the Heavens. I am sure that their friendship will continue but with Roy now showing Frank the ropes instead!!!
God Bless You Frank, you kind gentle man.
Frank was awarded the OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in 1974 mainly for his work at EMI/HMV on “information gathering”.