Saturday, 20 August 2011

Eulogy - Dennis Wearing Clayton 05/11/1927 - 17/08/2011

Mention the name Dennis Clayton to anyone who knew him in Folkestone and Cheriton, and the first word that comes to their mind is Golf.  However, apart form being an avid golfer, there is probably a lot more they do not know about him.

Born in Manchester in 1927, the only son of Stan and Hilda, his family moved to Surrey when he was quite young.  he completed his schooling in Surrey and later moved back to Manchester where he did his National Services in the RAF. During these young years, he was a great fan of the trumpeter, Harry James, and he bought a trumpet and learnt how to play it. He met and married Pam with whom he had four children, Linda, Micheal, Raymond and David.

A great sportsman, he enjoyed many sports and particularly enjoyed playing tennis.   He loved swimming and was a very strong swimmer, and was never happier than when he was on top of a very high diving board.  During this time he joined the police force in the Manchester Met, but always had a yearning to be his own boss, and when the opportunity to own his own business came he grabbed it with both hands.  It was about this time that he discovered golf, and became totally hooked on the game.

The weather in Manchester is well known for its high rainfall, and he longed to play golf in drier and brighter conditions, so it was decided that they would sell up and move south to the Kent coast, where he bought another newsagency "The Cabin", which was nicked "The Windmill", as it opened every day except Christmas Day.

Unfortunately a couple of years later his marriage to Pam dissolved, and he met and married Sheila, with whom he had a daughter, Carolyn.  Getting up before 5.00 a.m.every morning was getting to him, so a change of business was necessary.  He decided to try his hand at catering, and bought "The Four Winds Restaurant" on the seafront at Hythe, where he successfully ran it with his wife Sheila.  He soon became famous for his homemade doughnuts and scones, and people would come miles to enjoy his fresh fish.

However the golf course kept calling him, and golf during the summer months was impossible, as he was so busy.  He sold the restaurant and opened "Claytons Cafe" in Cheriton, where he became a well known figure.  His hours enabled him to play golf all year round and he soon got his handicap down to single figures.  His ambition was to get his handicap below five, so he could become a county player, but six was the lowest he ever achieved.  He became Vice Captain, then Gold Captain of Sene Valley Golf Club, and enjoyed a wonderful social life with all his fellow members, playing all round Britain and abroad.

He was blessed with six grandchildren,Emma, Lisa, Shannon and Leon and twins Jack and Oliver.  Being brought up by Victorian-style parents, he found it very difficult to show his emotions, but he constantly talked about his grandchildren, and was very proud of his family and their achievements.  His eldest daughter, Linda moved to Australia when she young, and he would get very excited when she returned to the UK to visit family.  His youngest daughter, Carolyn, moved to Shropshire eighteen years ago, and drove down to Kent regularly to see him.  He always looked forward to her visits.

His last job was as a garage assistant where late one night a man wielding a gun told him to 'hand over the money', the man was told quite firmly to get lost, although other words were used.  When he finally retired from business, he was almost a permanent fixture of Sene Valley Golf Club.  He had so many good friends there, and was very popular.  He was lucky enough to enjoy good health all his life, so it came as a shock to everyone when he was diagnosed with a terminal illness last year.  He accepted his illness with dignity, and was determined it would not beat him, and remained active until a few weeks ago, when sadly he lost his fight.

There are many who will miss him, but one thing is for certain - if there is a golf course in the afterlife, then they all know he will be the first one on the tee every day.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

RIP Dennis Wearing Clayton 5/11/1927 - 17/8/2011

Sadly my beautiful father died tonight after a tough battle with Lung Cancer. He was 83. I am sitting here trying to come to terms with it. I will miss him so much. He was an inspiration to me. He lived on his own looking after himself right up until a few weeks ago. He battled chemotherapy last year bravely and with dignity. When he was told the cancer had gone around Christmas we were both over the moon.  We planned to take a holiday this year to celebrate. But the chemo took it out of him and he never recovered.  Two months ago he had a scan and was told the cancer had returned with a vengeance and had spread to his Liver. He was given just a few months to live. After a week spell in hospital he was moved to a lovely hospice where he passed away just a few hours ago.

Dad, where ever you are now, I want you to know that I loved you so much and I am so proud of you.  You really were like super-dad to me. Thank you for all the qualities you instilled in me. Thank you for every single thing you ever did for me, I will be eternally thankful.  I know you think you let me down but you did not. I wouldn't be the person I am today if I hadn't lived my life just the way it panned out.  I wouldn't have changed a thing.  So don't you ever think that you let me down.

I hope that wherever you are, hopefully in golf heaven, that you are happy and not scared anymore. I will see you again one day I am sure.  Perhaps by then I will have learnt to play golf well and we can have a game together!

Bye dad, thanks for being you and for making me me.. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx