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Reg. Charity No. 1060177

Churchdown Male Voice Choir

50 years of Singing


Ronnie (Bonnie Lad) Simpson

On October 26 we lost a very special man; a loving father, grandfather and uncle and a loyal and faithful servant of the choir for over 20 years. On Thursday November 11 a service of thanksgiving was held at Tewkesbury Methodist Church where friends and family of Bonnie Lad could talk about their warm memories of a man who was dear to many. Printed below is the tribute given by Ralph Tailford, who described Ron as a special uncle and father figure to him.

October 26, 1926 to October 30, 2010

The family thought that it would be a good idea, to give you all a brief account of Ronnie’s history and background. Before I start I would like to remind you all, that everyone is welcome back to the Gupshill afterwards, to join the family in a celebration to his life.

Ronald Simpson, born 26th October 1926 in Bill Quay; a mining area in the North East of England. Son of Eleanor and George Henry Simpson (a coal miner). The brother of Sylvia, husband to Audrey, father to Graeme, grandfather to Alex and Martha, special uncle and father figure to myself.

Ronnie, who was better known to most as ‘’Bonny Lad’’; grew up in Felling, in the North East, a few miles from where he was born, an area steeped in the history of mining. He was proud of his roots and heritage, the traditional working class. He was a proud, hardworking honourable and intelligent man.

From the many sympathy cards received, numerous comments referred to his jovial nature, to the extent that, even when he was being serious you couldn’t help but laugh at him.

From a lad he was an avid supporter of Newcastle Utd FC, some would say he had Black & White eyes. In the 50’s he was a regular at the away games, travelling the country, following his beloved ‘’Toon’’, with Sylvia’s husband Gordon.

When Graeme and I were kids he would take us to St James Park to watch the ‘’Magpies’’ play, paying £5 to get in, standing shoulder to shoulder on the terraces, with the faithful. This still wasn’t enough to convert me from a Sunderland fan and the recent results of Newcastle 5 – Sunderland 1 and Arsenal 0 – Newcastle 1, we can only conclude that the Magpies now have a 12th man working from above.

On leaving school he took an engineering apprenticeship as a Centre Lathe Turner at Noble & Lunns, at the time a huge employer in the North East. During his time there he spent a short time in the Army, completing his National Service, visiting exotic places such as the Sudan, carrying out varied tasks, such as guarding Hitler’s Africa Corp.

He met his wife, Audrey, through some family match making and a golden ticket to a dance. Audrey, liking his smooth moves on the dance floor (which apparently, he passed down to his son) was swept of her feet, 6 months later; they married on 29th October 1966 at Leam Lane Methodist church, culminating in 44yrs of marriage.

He always claimed he was married under false pretences, as at the time he was both young and single; then suddenly became an Uncle to a whole gaggle of nieces and nephews. 1 year later, their son Graeme was born.

In 1968 they moved to Tewkesbury, where Ronnie working for Dowty Rotol in Cheltenham. In 1980 Aunt Audrey & Uncle Ronnie took me on as their adopted son, bringing me up, changing my life and supporting me through life’s ups and downs. I can’t thank them enough!

He was always a great help and support to Audrey, our mum, in her church life and activities. He was also a member of Tewkesbury’s Royal British Legion and YMCA.

His past times, hobbies and passions were his love of Football, Golf, Dancing, Gardening, Singing and most of all his Family. He often said; ‘’Riches to him didn’t mean money or material things; his riches were his lovely wife, son, grandchildren, home and most of all his extended family of niece’s nephews and cousins etc, all of which are here today whether in person or thought.

He sang for over 20yrs with Churchdown Male Voice Choir and this was a major part of his life. The Choir is well represented here today, he loved a sing song with the lads and he would be pleased to know they are singing him on his way. Thankyou!

Skills and attributes he had many;

Cooking; he was known as the only dad who could make Yorkshire puddings on the annual Cub’s Camp and he was the only dad that when cooking a Pizza, would cook it on both sides leaving all the good bits, burnt and stuck to the grill.

As kids I remember a holiday in Newquay, where he buried me and Graeme in the sand, neck deep and would not let us out, and then when he did, he chased us for miles down the beach, whipping us with one of those old washing lines.

He was not a materialistic person, for example, Sat Nav and computers didn’t exist in Uncle Ronnies life, he was the families answer to the ‘’AA Route Finder’’. He could tell you how to get from ‘A’ to ‘B’ via 3 or 4 different routes, naming most of the pubs on the way. We could go on about Ronnies life but!!!!!!!

To Ronnie; living was one big dance and he flowed across the dance floor of life enjoying every step of the way. In the end his last weeks were filled with pain and suffering but he bore this in the true character of the man he was.

As with all families and life in general; sorrows we had a few, laughs we had many, but memories I am sure will be everlasting.

Once met never forgotten,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,Proud to be a Geordie!!!!