Deans Blog - Syd

Dean of Truro Cathedral, Roger Bush

I had the privilege the other day of conducting the funeral of a 93-year old, the father of a dear friend of mine. Syd was a wonderful person in all sorts of ways: I mention his age because he was as sprightly a nonagenarian as many people I know in their twenties; not necessarily in physical fitness, but certainly in mental attitude. He was a bit of techno-geek, using Facebook, What’s App, FaceTime, and even had something called a Fitbit, something that apparently tells you everything you wanted to know about your exercise regime and how fit you are.

 Syd had not been immune to personal tragedy, but he never ever let his losses show. He met friend and stranger with equal charm and warmth, and he never lost his laughter lines. His ninetieth birthday was not an occasion where the guests patronised the dear old boy in the corner who occasionally waved his hand to indicate that he was still awake, but a celebration of a life that had still plenty of living to do. Syd remained positive and forward-looking until his final, brief illness, just a couple of weeks before he died.

 Syd was an inspiration and a living example of how we should not treat old age, as something that sees people as somehow past their best who only live on memories and a kind of faded glory. Of course, our faculties do wane as we get older, but this doesn’t mean we don’t have value or that we can no longer contribute anything meaningful. Syd may not have been able to run a four-minute mile, but he did something far more important. He was able to say, without speaking, that how we appreciate others and give ourselves to them is a vital human characteristic, and we can do this until we breathe our last.