MOURNERS gathered on Friday last week to pay their final respects to a former stable owner whose affinity with animals earned him a reputation as a modern day Dr Doolittle.
Jack Thorpe-Foulsham, who would have been 94 in November, owned Jack's Riding Stables, in Fore Street, Eastcote, from 1973 before selling it six years ago.
He died peacefully at 8.15am on Tuesday, July 8 after an ongoing battle with prostate cancer, chronic arthritis and heart problems.
More than 50 friends and family, including Mr Thorpe-Foulsham's wife of 69 years, Edith, attended his funeral service at Breakspear Crematorium, led by Reverend Carole Warren.
Mr Thorpe-Foulsham, who had lived in Ruislip for more than 61 years, developed a kinship with animals, particularly dogs and horses, while he was growing up in Dover.
In a fitting tribute he took his final journey accompanied by a horse-drawn hearse, and much of the ceremony was dedicated to the animals he loved so much, with readings including an excerpt from A Horse's Prayer, and The Power of The Dog, by Rudyard Kipling, Mr Thorpe-Foulsham's favourite poet.
Reverend Warren spoke of the many facets of Mr Thorpe-Foulsham's character.
Affectionately known as The Colonel, he loved to laugh and became notorious for his practical jokes while a sergeant major in the army.
The father of three, who had eight grandchildren and 11 greatgrandchildren, also had a deep bond with his beloved family, especially granddaughter Tracey, who was described as "the apple of his eye".
But, as many close to him would testify, his horses were the real love of his life. Tessa Darby, who worked with Mr Thorpe-Foulsham at the stables for more than 10 years, said: "I remember a time when Jack went riding on his favourite horse, Janna, and she got her hoof stuck in a hole in a fence.
"When he eventually freed her, he managed to get a piece of wood stuck in one of his rather bushy eyebrows, which he didn't notice for six weeks!
"Of course, he thought this was hilarious - he was always laughing and joking around, a real trooper."