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Walter Hart

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Tribute at St John the Baptist Church by Pastor Len Hart, youngest son

Thank you to those who have attended today on behalf of my mother and family. We have received many letters and cards and the golden thread that runs through all of these is - Loved Friend. So much to say, we remember his many names - Mr Hart, Wally, Bid, Mr Wally, POP, Dad, Father, Gramps, Grampy, many different memories, but the same man. As our Lord Jesus on earth always responded to those in need so we remember our father. There were many verses I could have used, but the verse I chose is Proverbs 22:1. "A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold.' A good name is not earned by sitting around, but going out and performing those good deeds.

Because my father lived such a long life we can only go back so far. We can recall the time in the First World War at the Dardenelles when the Australian Army was destroyed before his eyes as a young sailor. Also at this time he first went onto HMS Warrior berthed at Portsmouth. In 1989 he was able to return with my brother and family to be recognised and honoured by the Captain of the rebuilt HMS Warrior.

Between the wars father married and met Mum his "Mate" The term that a working man would use for his right hand, he had now become a husband and also became a father. It was a time of hard work then working for the late Frank Privett who was later to become Lord Mayor of Portsmouth. Many of the major buildings in Portsmouth today, and we have been by some this week, the work is still there as a living testimony for the skill of his hands. Also during this time father became a Special Constable.

When I was born there was no National Health and father worked 70 - 80 hours a week that I might receive the proper treatment. As always with each son and daughter as the need arose, he was there. Again we were plunged into war and father goes to work for the Admiralty. Again through hard work arid loyalty he is soon placed in a position of authority and has responsibility for building and civil engineering works on all the naval outstations. He was highly commended on the work involving Mulberry Harbour. Also just down the road from Westbourne the Free French Camp where he met a young marine who remained his friend until this time. So many lives that he has touched. In 1941 due to the blitz in Portsmouth we moved to Westbourne, another chapter in fathers life. During this period he served in the Home Guard and after the war become involved in this church as a sidesman. My brother and I became bellringers and my father followed suit. They became involved in the village scout troop when it started. Much of this revolved round home and, once again, my mother/mate was his right hand.

Also during this time he became known to many who are here today, still continuing those good works, he lived the life just as Jesus did when He was here on earth. So much, and yet we have only reached 1957. This was when he retired at 60 years of age from the Admiralty and during the next 32 years was to reach more people in so many different ways than in the previous 60 years. So many memories, but the same man. For a time he worked for me at Sparlight, the mastmakers at Southbourne. The last job he was to do at that Company was the Sail Training Association Schooner, Sir Winston Churchill where he installed all the electrics and lights. The schooner has since been many times round the world and mast lights seen from many harbours. For the final 20 years he was to be self employed. Many here today came to know him during this period. All of his clients became friends. Some even patterned their lives on his ways. It was not just the work, but that he cared for the many people he helped with their paperwork and problems, even to nursing one dear old soul. During this time the children married and had children and those children married so we have great grandchildren. We remember the weddings, holidays, christenings, graduations. These were major events but there many little events that father enjoyed with his children. fishing in the brook, paddling in the tin bath, feeding the ducks round River Street. So many memories but the same man. So we are back to that verse in Proverbs, "His was an earnt good name and his riches were in love.'" His loving favour was the long life that he led. So many names, so many places and always his mate was with him.

We would close by looking at Revelations 3:12. "Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God. And he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name." It is not for me to tell God what that name would be, but I am sure Loved Friend would be part of it. We know that our father is in the arms of the Lord and for those of us who believe in a Risen Saviour we know that one day we shall be together again. We salute you Husband, Father, Grandfather, Great Grandfather, known to all as Loved Friend.

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