place for information on Ross-on-Wye and the Wye Valley
THE PEOPLE OF ROSS BID A FOND FAREWELL TO ALAN
of Alan taken in 2009 by friend Steve O'Kane.
My beloved partner and soul mate Alan Wood, founder of Wyenot.com
and a true friend of Ross-on-Wye passed away on Thursday,
2nd June 2011, the saddest day of my life and that of his
news of Alan's passing away seemed to have rocked the whole
town and on Friday, 17th June, St. Mary's Church was packed
with family and hundreds of friends who all wished to pay
their last respects. From this point you can read an account
of this heart breaking, yet heart warming day in the words
of our friend Norman Bricknell.
Friday 17th June 2011, 700 year old St. Mary's Church, Ross-on-Wye
was the venue for a Celebration of the Life of a hugely
admired man, Alan Wood. The service was sensitively conducted
by Reverend Sarah Jones, much of the content having been
put together by Alan himself some weeks before he died.
where I was sitting, the large Church appeared virtually
full, showing the degree of affection in which Alan was
held. The organ was played by Alan's brother, and, despite
all of the pressures of recent weeks, the principal tribute
was movingly given, with great courage, by Tina, Alan's
music, chosen by Alan included 'Mocking Bird' by Barclay
James Harvest, 'Shine on You Crazy Diamond' by Pink Floyd,
and the Assembled Company gave their lusty best on 'Guide
Me O Thy Great Redeemer'! The Order of Service also contained
'A Poem for My Dad' written by daughter Sarah Wood, 'My
Brother Alan' by Marilyn Cain, sister, and 'My Best Man'
by lifelong friend Glynn.
crowds gathered outside the Church whilst the family prepared
for the burial, many people then progressing to the bustling
White Lion Pub at Wilton to commemorate Alan's life. Tina
has worked at the White Lion for some years and David &
Jacqui Newman have been stalwart friends throughout that
large number of people then progressed to the party at Broome
Farm, Peterstow which Mike Johnson, Phil Long and others
at Broome Farm had promised to hold for Alan. Alan and Tina
have long had a particular love for the atmosphere and events
that take place in this wonderful rural venue. A fantastic
spread had been laid out by Hilary and John Draper, Kate
Bolland, Cindy Smith, Monica Lovell and others, whilst a
range of Ciders and Perry's were lovingly dispensed by the
front of the assembled crowd, Jesse Norman, MP for South
Herefordshire, took to the stage to deliver a wonderfully
heartfelt tribute to Alan, followed similarly by Deputy
Lord Lieutenant of the County and close friend of Alan,
Joyce Thomas, MBE.
from Alan's collection was organized by John Edwards and
various members of the family gave readings of some of their
favourite pieces. Alan's 80 year old father, Jeffrey, a
most interesting retired Marine Surveyor gave voice to 'Ain't
it Grand to be Bloomin' Well Dead' a song that all of Alan's
family used to sing when younger.
of Alan had come from as far a field as Holland, Chris and
Annika, together with old friend, singer/song writer Steve
O'Kane and his partner, Fiona. The party continued until
approximately 9.00 pm and as a celebration of his life,
Alan would no doubt have enjoyed every part of it.
the wonderful, modest, self -effacing man that he was, there
is little doubt that Alan would have been humbled and amazed
at the love shown towards him on the day. For those reading
this who are NOT local to Ross-on-Wye, all of the local
papers have devoted significant space in their publications
to tributes that have been received about Alan, his web
site, his photography, and his 'giving' nature.'
A TRIBUTE TO ALAN BY JESSE NORMAN MP .
did not want a Wake on the day of his funeral He wanted
a party and we are extremely grateful to all at Broome Farm
and Ross Cider & Perry Co. Ltd for allowing us the use
of the barn and providing everybody with the most fantastic
food. We are also extremely grateful to John Edwards for
operating his PA system so that not only could Alan's favourite
music be played through it, his friends could also be heard
paying tribute to him.
Norman MP gave a lovely tribute which you can read below.
and Gentlemen! 'We are gathered today, here at Broome Farm,
to mourn the passing of Alan Wood, a most wonderful man,
and to celebrate his life and his work.
first met Alan in early 2007. As a new political candidate,
I was very keen to get involved in every aspect of Herefordshire
life and if there was a public event anywhere near Ross-on-Wye,
you could be sure Alan and Tina would be there. Alan would
man the camera and direct operations, while Tina was the
intrepid reporter on the microphone. The mic at that time
was a curious object resembling a rather furry hamster,
or a small wombat. It was quite an experience for me to
learn to discourse about the joys of Ross on camera, while
speaking into the tail end of a wombat.
will have read the handsome obituary tributes to Alan last
week, and it says more than I can about the respect and
affection in which he was held that he was given the front
page of the Ross Gazette. Alan was born and raised in London.
He worked there in the areas of print and design, and later
in Gloucester and the Forest of Dean, before setting up
Wyenot.com in the year 2000. He married Bernice and had
three children, Matthew, Christopher and Sarah, before meeting
Tina, his partner today.
was a brilliant photographer, and over time he combined
his stills with video, and a weekly blog, so that Wyenot
grew into a comprehensive news and information service about
Ross-on-Wye and its surroundings. From the start it was
completely local and completely independent in its vision.
It has long been the indispensable first port of call for
any visitors to Ross, and it stands as a great archive of
local life over more than a decade—a piece of contemporary
local history in action. Long may it continue.
meet Alan for the first time was to be struck by his openness,
his kindness and his generosity of spirit—this was a man
who would help anybody out if he could. Apart from his dedication
to promoting Ross-on-Wye, he was a lover of nature and of
music. He also had a profound interest in the wonders of
the universe and science and, in particular, chemistry.
has come to light that this interest in space, and in the
fact that men were being sent to the Moon, once led Alan
to build his own rocket. Alan’s rocket consisted of a length
of aluminium tube from the school metal workroom, stuffed
to the brim with home-made gun powder. Armed with this creation,
Alan built a brick launch pad and got his friend Mark Bartlett
to light the Jet-ex fuse, so that he could photograph the
rocket did not emulate the slow, graceful climb of the Saturn
5s they had seen on television, however. It shot upwards,
made a hard left turn, veered backwards and snaked wildly
out of control, smashing a window in a nearby block of flats.
At this point the moon shot had turned from a scientific
experiment into a problem in moral philosophy. It was what
Alan would have called a 'perfectly ordinary' choice between
two alternatives: hang around and get caught, or leg it.
They decided to leg it. Alan
ended up with a brilliant photograph—of the smoke left behind
on the launch pad.
then, was a man of great empathy, warm intelligence and
huge energy and curiosity about the unknown, and all three
shine through in his sometimes heartbreaking blog. I know
from others how these qualities are reflected in his three
children, of whom he was and will always be immensely proud:
Sarah, for her very caring nature and huge help during Alan's
illness; Matthew, for his cleverness in writing amazing
computer programmes, which often helped Alan out; and Christopher,
who shares Alan's boundless curiosity, and who on more than
one occasion has been known to say, 'Let's just press this
button and see what happens ...'
was delighted that the Association of Ross Traders awarded
Alan its John Kyrle Shield in recognition of his work. It
was a privilege for me, as I am sure it has been for you
all, to have known him. We all owe Alan a huge debt of gratitude,
we greatly mourn his passing, and we send him our love,
today and always. Thank you, and thank you Alan.
you Jesse for your wonderful tribute.
ALAN'S AWARDS FOR HIS WORK FOR THE COMMUNITY
Regular Wyenot News readers will be aware that Alan was
recently presented with ART's John Kyrle Award for Community
Spirit in recognition of all the hard work he put in to
promote the town of Ross-on-Wye, it's businesses and local
organizations. Alan was very proud to have received this
award and I and his family are extremely proud of him, too.
You may have read in a previous issue of Wyenot News that
getting to present Alan with the award was not easy, but
Art's determination that Alan should receive it paid off
in the end.
was also very proud and totally surprised when at the Mayor
Making in 2007, outgoing Mayor Councillor Phil Cutter presented
him with an award, a photograph of which can be seen below.
I felt such pride in the fact that all the hard work that
Alan had put into promoting the town, day in, day out, for
hours on end had finally been recognized and appreciated.
2006, Alan was also rewarded by Ross-in-Bloom for his hard
work when they presented him with their Overall Community
Spirit Award and the Halcyon Daze vase for community spirit.
said all this, Alan wasn't in it for awards, although he
was immensely proud of them all. He was happy to continue
to do the work he loved for the town he loved and I am so
very proud of him for that.
Councillor Phil Cutter presented Alan with this award in May 2007
in recognition of the work he did for the town.
MY TRIBUTE TO ALAN READ AT ST MARY'S ON 17TH JUNE .
Alan first came to live in Ross-on-Wye, little did he know
what impact he would have on the town. He and Bernice moved
here in 1976 when the company Alan worked for relocated
to Gloucester from London. He spent around 30 years working
for EIG before they parted company and he created Wyenot.com.
Getting Wyenot.com off the ground was a slow process; people
were not really aware of the power of the internet at that
time but Alan persevered, creating Wyenot News to complement
the home site and his baby began to grow. There were down
times; times when he felt like giving up, then we would
meet somebody in the street who would congratulate him on
his work or take pleasure in informing him that they had
moved here because of what they had seen on Wyenot.com.
had many interests. He was a radio ham and made many friends
around the world. He was also very keen on astronomy and
was delighted when we were invited to have lunch with Sir
Patrick Moore. Alan also met another hero of his when his
friend Roger Lovell took us to meet his father, Sir Bernard
Lovell. Alan went to the US to watch the first ever space
shuttle landing and was also very proud to have been 'A
Face in Space' when his photograph went aboard Discovery
on her final mission.
had a great love of music, enjoying anything from the classics
to Pink Floyd, even producing a CD of his own work. Although
not anti social, Alan quite often enjoyed his own company
and would take himself off to film the local wildlife, river
levels, scenic places and the stars. His films are extremely
popular, doing much to attract tourists to Ross as well
as boost local business and he was proud to promote this
the news came that Alan was terminally ill, he was braver
than all of us. Soon after his diagnosis, he wrote in his
blog: 'Seeing and feeling the sorrow of others is much harder
to take than my own inevitable future because, no matter
how much I might want to make them happy, I cannot change
what is destined to be. All I can promise is that I will
continue to fight for as long as I am able.' And did he
fight! Typical of Alan, to think of others before himself.
Christopher and Sarah, your dad told me how very proud of
you he is. He told me how much he is going to miss his many
wonderful friends. He told me how much he loves his entire
family, including my sons and he told me all I needed to
if I had never met you, I would not be feeling the pain
I am in right now. BUT if I had never met you I would not
have known the love, friendship and happiness we shared
or have wonderful memories to treasure forever.
my Darling, See you in the morning. X
A POEM FOR MY DAD BY SARAH HELEN WOOD.
Alan passed away, his daughter, Sarah wrote a poem for him.
I read it to him and he loved it. You can read Sarah's poem
here along with two others; one written by Alan's youngest
sister Marilyn, the other by his life long friend, Glynn.
Poem for My Dad
used to bath me and wash my hair,
You always dried it with so much care.
You put me to bed and you sat with me
And talked about the sounds of the sea.
We share the same birthday, I was your present,
Not sure what you thought, I hope it was pleasant.
You taught me to ride my first bicycle,
This made me feel big and very cool.
sure how easy I was to teach
But we rode round the forest and went for walks on
When you were younger you created a bomb,
Then in 2000 you created Wyenot.com.
Holidays to Brean to see the eclipse,
Days out at Three Cliffs Bay and other nice trips.
DVD nights and telling a joke,
A funny man, a brilliant bloke.
strong person, extremely brave.
I will always treasure the love you gave.
Not just my Dad but one of my friends,
I will love you until my life ends.
being tiny you were always there,
Big blue eyes and trademark long hair.
Taking me with you to meet your crowd
There was never a time that I wasn't allowed to go
I was probably there when romance began!
Following you, hanging on to your coat tails.
took me everywhere
Never embarrassed to have me there -
The Wimpy, the zoo, the fair, the park,
You took me exploring and always made sure I was safe.
It was you I stayed with at the weekend,
From Wolseley Road to Ross-on-Wye,
Always welcomed at your place.
loving, caring and kind.
You are so special in my heart and mind.
I love you more than words can say.
You're my big brother and always will be.
I love you.
bands and Barking, images of our youth,
No hands past the policeman and other acts uncouth.
Fusing lights with sixpence in billets where we stayed,
Stink bombs in the flag poles, for our souls they prayed.
Playing in the craters, leeches in the rain,
Exploring derelict houses, let's do that again.
Secret trip to Portsmouth, you said you wouldn't tell,
Match maker and diplomat, you did that very well.
Ham radio in the stairwell, a vision of the stars,
The author of A Universe, sharing Ross and Mars.
Best man at my wedding, laughing at my jokes,
Inspiring friend forever,
Best of all the blokes.