Spitfire flypast honoured life of former pilot Gerald Drew
AN ICONIC Spitfire soared through the sky in memory of a former RAF pilot and successful optician as his family and friends bade him a final farewell.
Tributes were paid during a poignant service of thanksgiving for Gerald Drew's life yesterday, which was followed by a Spitfire flypast in honour of the "popular" father and grandfather.
As reported, Gerald, from Humberston, who was the owner of Drew's Opticians – which has branches in Cleethorpes, Louth and Mablethorpe – passed away on November 3, aged 87.
Described as a "hardworking, sensitive and caring man", the service of thanksgiving was held following his funeral at Grimsby Crematorium, which was attended by about 100 people.
Urgently seeking two / four bedroom properties for our lengthy list of possible suitable tenants with the lowest fees in town and excellent turn around rate for sourcing and managing.
Terms: Terms and Conditions Apply
Contact: 01472 355 553
Valid until: Thursday, June 20 2013
Led by Reverend Ian Walker at Humberston's St Peter's Church, Gerald's family and friends were asked to remember him and give thanks for his life.
Rev Walker said: "He was a very popular member of his family.
"Each one of you have special memories of Gerry and this service is one to bring your own memories before God and say thank you for having him in your lives."
Hymns were led by the Grimsby Orpheus Male Voice Choir and the last reading was of a poem written by Gerald, and read by his grandson, Jake McConville, entitled India – Gerald's first love.
As reported, Gerald was born in India in 1924 to a military family.
The middle child of seven, memories of the country stayed with him forever, inspiring him to pen: "Remember then at my passing, 'twas the love Mother India gave, that a son kept alive in his memory and carried this love to his grave".
Gerald left his school, Sherwood College, Nainital, in the Himalayan foothills in 1943 and enlisted in the Royal Air Force, in which he flew the Kittyhawk, Hurricane and the famous Spitfire.
In 1947 he was released from the Force and on the advice of his commanding officer, Harry Arden, of New Waltham – who later married Gerald's sister, Vera – he came to Grimsby during the mass exodus of British citizens when India gained its independence.
There he met Muriel Bousfield, the daughter of a timber merchant, who he married at St James' Church, Grimsby, in 1949, and had three children Heather, Jeremy and Angie.
He qualified as an optician in 1956 and in 1958, set up his own practice in Cambridge Street, Cleethorpes.
In 1983, he and Jeremy – who joined his father in business in 1977 – expanded into Louth and Mablethorpe, where he practiced for another 30 years.
Following the service, mourners gathered outside the church with Rev Walker to listen to the sound of bagpipes and watch the flypast of the Spitfire soar above them.