Brave Barrow man matched up to ‘courage’ slogan
Last updated at 19:18, Friday, 12 October 2012
ANDREW “Andy” Clarke – the Walney man whose courage and charisma left an indelible mark on an entire town – was given an emotional farewell yesterday.
By Ross Tyson
Hundreds of family, friends and colleagues went to St James’ Church in Barrow to say goodbye – and thank you – to someone they all felt privileged to have known.
That Mr Clarke could leave such a deep and lasting impression on so many people from all walks of life in just 31 all-too-short years is testament to his character.
“No-one had a bad word to say about him,” the Reverend Edward Northey told the assembled mourners.
He said: “I’d hear that continually over and over again with all the people I talked to about Andy.”
The coffin, wrapped in an England flag and bearing the Barrow AFC insignia, was carried into the church to the strains of You’ll Never Walk Alone.
The Liverpool anthem had become a soundtrack to the Walney man’s seven-month battle with the brain tumour that finally claimed his life last Tuesday.
After the opening prayers, Mr Clarke’s sister Adelle, 28, and wife Lisa, 30, rose together to pay tribute to their beloved Andy which, upon its conclusion, drew a spontaneous round of applause.
Choking back tears, Adelle spoke of her brother’s “cheeky” and “infectious personality” which remained with him until the end.
She said: “To say I’m part of him is an understatement. Although I have lost my brother, I have gained all his mates.”
Lisa, who met her future husband six-and-a-half years ago, told how they hoped 2012 would be “a good year”, only for it to become “the saddest year of my life”.
“You’re in a better place now, Andy,” she said. “You have made me who I am today. You’ll never walk alone.”
Mr Northey read some short tributes from several of Mr Clarke’s closest friends before pausing while the song You Are My Sunshine sounded out.
Its chorus of “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. You make me happy when the skies are grey” seemed particularly apt as the rain tumbled down outside the church to match this most sombre of occasions.
Mr Northey stood again and praised Mr Clarke’s parents Michelle Kidd and Mike Clarke for raising a son filled with an abundance of kindness and generosity.
“He even shocked the nurses in the hospital by thanking them as they poked and prodded him, when most other people would have cussed,” he said.
The phrase that would become Mr Clarke’s trademark both in his life and in his death – “Clarko = Courage” – could not be ignored during the service.
“Clarko = Courage is not just a slogan, but is the truth,” Mr Northey said. “He never gave up, even til the end.
“We are heartbroken by the loss and angry at the unfairness of it all.”
A final prayer and commendation closed out the service before six pallbearers – dressed in the colours of their friend’s beloved Liverpool FC – carried the coffin to the waiting hearse.
Behind them, with of the music of Jason Mraz’s I Won't Give Up in their ears, filed a procession of people forever united by their love of Andrew “Andy” Clarke.
First published at 16:12, Friday, 12 October 2012
Published by http://www.walneylocal.co.uk
Have your say
Always tell your loved ones you love them every day 24 hours can turn life upside down. Lisa into the darkness will come light again just wait on the clouds to move in their own time. remember you too are much loved you came as a package.
Makes us want to hold our family and friends just that little bit closer, and never to end a day on an argument. To always make sure our loved ones know how much we love them and to tell them often. Best wishes to Andy's widow Lisa and to all his family and friends xxxx
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