The family of a much-loved community figure has paid tribute to his life in a moving eulogy. Michael Collis sadly passed away aged 88 on February 4, with his funeral taking place at St Giles the Abbott on Monday (February 28).
The family of a much-loved community figure has paid tribute to his life in a moving eulogy.
Michael Collis sadly passed away aged 88 on February 4, with his funeral taking place at St Giles the Abbott on Monday (February 28).
Daughters Liddy and Clare together delivered an emotional summary of his life, which they shared with the Times & Echo this week. Here are a few snippets from the eulogy.
Mike was born on October 5, 1933, at the Villas, Stoke-on-Trent. He was called Michael as his mother had had a dream in which a small boy had introduced himself to her as Michael.
As a small child the family moved to Betley near Crewe and then in 1947, Clive bought Rose Hill and the solicitors practise of Blaggs Son and Masefield in Cheadle.
He enjoyed his school days (at Denstone College) and has kept in touch with many of his friends made there and he remained an active member of the Old Denstonian association.
He represented the School and England (at shooting), and in the summer of 1952 he crossed the Atlantic on a liner to Canada as a member of the England school boys shooting team which was a real thrill for him.
In March 1958 at the more mature age of 23 he went on National Service. Like his father and uncle he joined the Royal Artillery – The Gunners.
He was stationed in Oswestry, Sennybridge in South Wales, Troon in Ayrshire and Reedsdale in Northumberland. In August 1960 he was promoted to Lieutenant.
He would have enjoyed the regular army but instead he returned to work alongside his father as a solicitor.
In 1960, Dad is reported to have asked his friend Chris Barnes what the ‘talent’ was like in Cheadle.
Chris had replied that there was the school teacher Fiona McLean, but she is a bit bossy!
Never one to shirk a challenge, and undeterred by Mum’s alleged bossiness, their courtship began and in June 1962 they tied the knot in this very church (St Giles the Abbott).
They built their home ‘Duart’ in Rosehill’s kitchen garden and they lived there very happily for 57 years.
In March 1964, Dorothy Clare, known as Clare came along, and then after a suitable gap Elisabeth Fiona known as Liddy arrived in 1969.
Dad was very practical and enjoyed making things, especially out of wood.
Family holidays were a real highlight for us all. Dad loved them and it was the best quality time we spent together as a family.
For his 80th birthday, Dad and Mum did the big one – a half world trip culminating in an Amazon experience.
The voyage went well until they hit the English Channel on the way home. A freak wave hit the side of the ship causing major damage and some casualties that needed to be airlifted to hospital by helicopter.
Fortunately Dad and Mum suffered no damage but they did have to spend several hours on the floor of the bar waiting for normal service to resume.
Dad was proud to be on the roll of solicitors for over 60 years. He spent 43 years in practice at Blaggs solicitors at 2 The Terrace, Cheadle.
For 17 years he also sat as a Deputy District Judge on the Midland and Oxford circuit. He was a good advocate and in his early days, successfully defended many Cheadle folk before the Cheadle magistrates.
Dad loved a party. Mum and Dad welcomed people into their home and Dad loved to entertain with his many stories.
Dad and Mum had to wait a while for grandchildren, but then they started arriving in a hurry, prompting Mum to ask us to stop producing kids as she couldn’t afford to buy them all Premium Bonds!
Whilst not so comfortable with the baby phase, dad loved having grandchildren and was very proud of them all – Katie, Zoe, Anna, Max and William.
Dad was a wholehearted contributor to community life, whether it be as a member of Round Table, Rotarian, School Governor, Freemason in the Gordon and Old Denstonian lodges, supporter of Cheadle Girl Guides, or as President of the Cheadle branch of the Royal British Legion.
Through these associations, Dad was pleased to contribute his time and energy to raising thousands of pounds for many good causes.
His father had fought and been awarded the Military Cross in World War One and his Uncle Reg had sadly lost his life at the battle of the Somme in September 1916.
On the 100th anniversary of his Uncle Reg’s death, Dad organised a get together at Uncle Reg’s grave in northern France with all the surviving descendants attending.
We had a short remembrance service all planned by Dad, followed by a picnic in the war cemetery on a beautiful sunny day, and a wonderful party in a hotel in Amiens afterwards.
It is clear that Dad touched many people in his lifetime, and he leaves this world a better place than when he joined it.
His was a life well lived and we are tremendously proud of him. He will be remembered in many different ways, by many different people.
When we think of him, we think of loyalty, duty, compassion, wisdom, curiosity, a dogged determination, generosity, and most of all love – often not spoken, but demonstrated in so many different ways.
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