The Funeral of my beloved brother Tony Lightfoot 1939-2011

We began with Abide with Me played by a brass band, because he loved brass bands.

While we were thinking about him and watching photos of him on screen (used for the first time, techy geek in him would have loved that!) we listened to Jan Garbarek on saxophone with The Hilliard Ensemble singing ‘Oh Salutaris Hostia’ from the album Offficium. It’s contemplative but has the jazz sax adding to its plaintiveness, and Tony would have liked my choice. He did like classical music. I think we were very close in our musical tastes.

To say our last goodbyes, I chose ‘He aint Heavy’. Since he started having strokes, I have associated this song with him, because he needed (and got) our support, and because it was his era too. Sung by The Hollies.

The road is long

With many a winding turn

That leads us to who knows where

Who knows where

But I’m strong

Strong enough to carry him

He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother

So on we go

His welfare is my concern

No burden is he to bear

We’ll get there

For I know

He would not encumber me

He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother


If I’m laden at all

I’m laden with sadness

That everyone’s heart

Isn’t filled with gladness

And love for one another

It’s a long, long road

From which there is no return

While we’re on the way to there

Why not share

And the load doesn’t weigh me down at all

He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother

He’s my brother

He ain’t heavy, He’s my brother

There were quite a few tears shed at this point, as the curtains slowly closed. But he is not gone, he is here in my heart and the hearts of all of us who knew him.

Exit music was Bix Beiderbecke playing Singing the Blues on the trumpet. Perfect for Tony.

I am all the more determined to cherish my remaining siblings and the second generation of my family, even though we don’t live near each other. I love them all dearly. My brother Peter, 5 years older than his kid brother, spoke very well at the funeral and I did my best as well. The minister Steve Grant was wonderful, as were the funeral directors, George Lightfoot, represented by Derek Harald.

A huge thank you to everyone who attended.

I am hopefully putting his family flowers of white lilies on our mum and dad’s grave on Monday.

Big Smile – how I hope to remember him



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2 responses to “The Funeral of my beloved brother Tony Lightfoot 1939-2011

  1. Paul Beech

    Angela, thank you for this. Tony’s funeral was clearly a most moving and beautiful occasion. The line “He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother” resonates for me too, having four brothers and a sister of my own in different parts of the country. (I’m the eldest.) You’re so right about the need to cherish our families. Please write more about Tony when you feel able to. He was clearly a lovely man and very special in your life. Paul

  2. and he never did encumber me, Paul. He was very independent, and no trouble at all. We shared so much and he helped to make me the person I am. I will never forget him. There will be more poems to go with the two I have already written for him.