Love letters, birthday cards, Billy Joel music and a lock of a pet dog’s fur were among items placed in the coffin of a Wigginton father and animal-lover at his funeral held this morning.
More than 100 family and friends filled the village’s St Bartholomew’s Church to pay their last respects to businessman Simon Brookfield, who was found dead after being missing for almost two weeks in October.
In the days after his disappearance, many emotional appeals were made to trace Simon – known to many as Chip – but his body was discovered in Wendover Woods less than a fortnight later.
His daughters Stephanie, 21, and Hannah, 19, read poems dedicated to their dad during the moving ceremony. They had also written him cards ahead of what would have been his 52nd birthday next Tuesday.
The sisters’ mum and Simon’s wife Elaine also enclosed love letters, a favourite CD and a memento of his beloved Scottie dog pets.
Close friend Stuart Clarke, who spoke fondly of Chip during the service, said he had seemed ‘frail’ the last time the pair spent time together during Christmas 2012.
The director of Kings Langley-based Chiltern Demolition had also, Stuart said, been down after the death of one of his dogs last spring, and referred to ‘tough times’ for the company he ran with his business partner of around 27 years. He had been diagnosed with depression shortly before his disappearance, but had not yet begun taking his prescribed medication.
Stuart told many tales of Simon’s capers, both as a child and in later life. He referred to his distinctive laugh which, he said, could echo through the valleys of the Lake District.
He said: “I don’t think in 52 years anyone has made me laugh as much as Chip did, and I don’t think anyone ever will.”
Stuart explained that Simon’s daughters and wife Elaine had taken him on a family holiday to Egypt earlier this year to cheer him up, during which time he seemed extremely happy.
Stuart also appealed for donations to be made in Simon’s name to the Scottish Terrier Emergency Care Scheme – a charity close to his heart. Simon and Elaine cared for several epileptic Scottie dogs together, and had even been to ‘Scottie parties’ in the past.
Stuart added: “His life was about dogs, cats and horses. It was not so much about socialising, but that union with nature.
“Christmas was so special for him, because he spent time with all his extended family. This year Christmas will be really hard for so many of us.”