THE life of a master craftsman and funeral director, who had a long association with the Royal British Legion, was celebrated at St Michael's and All Angels Parish Church at Hawkshead.

The church was packed to capacity as people gathered to pay their respects to John Dewhurst who died from cancer at the age of 82.

Branches of the Royal British Legion presented six standard bearers and a bugler played the Last Post, with the recitation of the fourth verse of Laurence Binyon’s poem, For the Fallen.

Mr Dewhurst's association with the Royal British Legion spanned almost 60 years. He had recently been presented with a long service medal having been an active member of the Hawkshead branch since 1960, serving as chairman for 17 years.

Living within yards of where he was born, he grew up with brother Eddie and his sister, Jane, at Saw Mill Cottage. He was educated at Hawkshead Grammar School, before undertaking an apprenticeship in his father’s firm.

Serving his country from 1958-60 during National Service, Mr Dewhurt's abilities and organisational skills were quickly recognised by the army and he was promoted to acting sergeant of the spare’s facility of the Motorised Transport Division based in Berlin.

Mr Dewhurst and his younger brother took on the running of the family joinery business where they had learned their craft, on the retirement of their father, Jack, in 1968. They developed the business into a thriving modern operation employing many joiners and improving their facilities with new workshops and investing in modern machinery.

Mr Dewhurst was a master craftsman whose love of timber and attention to detail has left a joinery legacy.

During his funeral service, the Rev John Dixon said: “John had worked at so many places it would be easier to count the places he had not worked.”

Married in 1967, Mr Dewhurst leaves a widow, Susan. They celebrated their golden wedding in 2017 along with their two daughters and five grandchildren.

Mr Dewhurst had an encyclopedic knowledge of local history and enjoyed talking to both young and old. He was gifted with a quick sense of humor and dry wit and would quickly establish common interests.

During his life, Mr Dewhurst supported many organisations, both local and national. He had served on the Hawkshead Show Committee since childhood and was twice its president.

He was a member of Hawkshead Parish Council and Parochial Church Council for 20 years. A trustee of Hawkshead Market House Trust for 30 years, twice as chairman, he was also a member of South Cumbria Funeral Directors, being a past president.

As a member of Hawkshead Lodge, Mr Dewhurst held the position of charity steward for a great many years. He was honoured for this in 1998 with appointment to Provincial Grand Rank. He celebrated 50 years as a Freemason in 2016.

During his long working life, Mr Dewhurst helped and supported numerous families through the difficult process of arranging funerals, always with care and dignity. He undertook his last funeral in August 2018.

Mr Dewhurst was diagnosed with a terminal cancer in September. During the last few months of his life, he was visited by a constant stream of friends and well-wishers. In his characteristic way he set about sorting out his affairs and outstanding issues until a few days before his death.

He died at home surrounded by his family.