Patrick Allen: He did it his way

Tribute to a philanthropist who fought for the community in Honiton.

Honiton has paid its respects to a former mayor who dedicated over 30 years of his life to serving the community.

St Paul’s Church was packed last Friday for the funeral of Patrick Alfred Allen, who died on August 8 aged 77.

Five former mayors - Peter Blake, Joanna Bull, Sally Casson, Trevor Hitchcock and Councillor Vernon Whitlock - were among the mourners.

Representatives of many of the organisations Mr Allen formerly led were present, including members of Honiton and District Carnival Committee and Honiton Pantomime Society, who wore their distinctive maroon-coloured shirts as a mark of respect.

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District councillor Phil Twiss also attended the service.

Principal mourners included Mr Allen’s widow, Jenny, who was accompanied by her middle son, Nicholas, grandchildren and extended family.

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The couple’s elder and younger sons, Christopher and Richard, were pallbearers.

Reverend Jane Lankester, who conducted the service, described Mr Allen as a philanthropist who fought for the needs of the community.

She said he was “a special man” and that his death “is not the end, but until we see him again”.

Andy Smith gave the reading and the tribute was given by Peter Blake.

Mr Blake said Exeter’s loss had been Honiton’s gain, referring to the Allen family’s move to Honiton from the city.

He described his tribute as “kind words”, a phrase Mr Allen would have used.

“He was always there for his family and doted on his grandchildren,” Mr Blake said, pointing out the children “made him feel young again”.

Mr Allen had been responsible for the planting of daffodils at all the major gateways into Honiton - a legacy that would endure for years to come.

Thanks were again expressed to the staff at Silverleigh, in Axminster, for the exemplary care they provided Mr Allen in the months leading up to his death.

Referring to Mr Allen’s pivotal role in the pantomime society, Mr Blake recalled the year Patrick played the goose in Mother Goose.

“Seeing him trying to lay an egg should have won him an Oscar. It still brings tears to my eyes now,” he said.

The congregation sang two hymns, The Lord is my Shepherd and Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven.

Following the commendation and blessing, Mr Allen’s coffin left the church to the apt and poignant sound of Frank Sinatra singing I Did It My Way.

The burial took place at St Michael’s Churchyard and was followed by a celebration of Mr Allen’s life at the Turk’s Head Lodge.

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