Added by: Geoff Sumner
Date added: 10 Oct 2014
The following is a précis of the address made at the funeral of Charles Richard Sumner, on the 28th September 2014, at St James church, Shaftesbury, Dorset.
The address was given by the Reverend David Stephen, a nephew of Richards, who generously offered to conduct the service for the Family.
Richard, in taking up a military career was following his Father and three Uncles. After being conscripted in 1947, He went to Sandhurst and then into the Royal Signals, with the first of his tours in the Far East following soon after. After marriage in 1958, he and Jill began their series of moves, packing one home and unpacking again, often in another country.
It is this mobility that his two Sons, Geoffrey and Andrew remember so warmly. The excitement of a new place to explore and grow in for two or three years, from Singapore to Malaysia with beaches, swimming, snorkelling and exotic food to Germany with the allure of hiking in the Alps and camping in Scandinavia. School for the Boys was almost a distraction. Richard and Jill encouraged them to be adventurous, to take risks, even to risk faliure, but however life worked out, they always knew they had Richards support, advice and encouragement to fall back on.
Later in Army life, Richard spent four very happy years flying Beavers and Austers with the Army Air Corps in Middle Wallop and Germany, a period of his life he considered as one of his most happy. After a busy and fulfilling career spanning London, 21 Signal Regiment , BAOR, The School of Signals and the Ptarmigan project to mention a few, In 1970 he took early retirement from his final posting in Blandford Camp but it was not to a quiet life. Buying Nutford Farm and undertaking its restoration, Jill and Richard then kept a number of sheep and that meant lambs. They would spend many a sleepless night in the sheep shed helping the ewes along at lambing time.
During this time Richard served as the secretary of the Blandford brach of SSAFA, undertook a role in the heart support group and did much work on the family history, creating the splendid on line archive we have today.
Richard was named after his Great Great Grandfather, Charles Richard Sumner, the Bishop of Winchester for 40 years. He was one of five children and his sister Sue is the only one still with us and we remember her in our prayers.
Richards warm and steadfast personality brought him many close friends, some of his lifelong friends are with us today, and Jill and Richard have both valued the warmth of the friendship they found in the St James, Shaftesbury community.
Like many Military men, he was a man of deep faith, but I suspect one who preferred a straightforward approach to his church. Richards pilgrimage, with it's many journeys and dwelling places, the houses and the tents, is over. Ours continues and as we give thanks for his long life and all that he has been for us, as good friend, Brother, Husband, Father and Uncle, we pray for Jill, Geoffrey and Andrew and remember their families in Australia.
Many he rest in peace and rise in glory.