The following eulogy was given at his memorial service on Tuesday 13th December 2016.Firstly, Barbara and Alan have asked me to say thank you to all of you for coming here today to pay your respects and say farewell to Gordon. In turn, I would like to thank them for the honour of being asked to say these few words about the man we all knew and admired.Gordon was born at Whitethorn Cottage, Litton Cheney, in April 1937. He had a sister June who pre-deceased him. He attended Thorners School and then a secondary school in Allington, which no longer exists. After school he took an apprenticeship at Sharptones Engineering, which has also subsequently disappeared. Whether Gordon had anything to do with the demise of these two establishments we shall never know – maybe it was just co-incidence!Gordon met Barbara in 1958 on Chesil Beach and they were married in 1962. Their son Alan was born in 1964.Gordon was a very private man, not one for a night out with the boys playing skittles or darts. At one time he was a keen bell ringer and he also enjoyed fishing and scuba diving with his friend Mike Stoodley. However, his two overwhelming passions were his family and his work. He was immensely proud of his two grand-daughters Natalie and Sophie especially when they both obtained university degrees.Gordon’s father Charlie worked at Whiteheads Torpedo factory at Wyke Regis during the war and also, with Gordon’s mother Joyce, ran a bed and breakfast establishment in Weymouth. Charlie Moxom established a workshop come garage next to Grove Cottages in the early 1950’s and Gordon joined him in 1958, at the age of 21, following his apprenticeship. Now, as anyone who knew Gordon would imagine, he was not one to sit back and spend the rest of his life doing simple routine jobs. So it was in 1962 that A C Moxom Limited, Precision Engineers, was officially registered at Companies House, Gordon and Barbara being the only shareholders.Over the next few years the expanding business outgrew the premises next to Grove Cottages so, in 1971, additional facilities were added on the opposite side of Chalkpit Lane. A C Moxom Limited continued to provide employment in the village over the next 39 years, until it was closed in March 2010, mainly due to a lack of suitably skilled labour.Talking to ex-employees, it is clear that Gordon was regarded very much as a friend as well as an employer. As one of them told me “I was sent there by the labour exchange in 1971. When I got home my wife asked me if the job was OK. I said it will do until something better comes along. I stayed there until I retired 34 years later. He enjoyed the challenge of taking on work that others refused to consider. We used to think he was mad at times when he came back with what appeared to be some impossible job, but somehow we always seemed to find a solution”.Gordon always had a bee in had bonnet about ‘not being educated’. It’s true, he may not have had a piece of paper proving he was good at passing exams, but he was an extremely competent self-taught engineer. In seeking solutions to the ‘impossible’ jobs he took on he became not only a skilled metalworker but also a very able metallurgist. Another skill he mastered was the art of spray welding stellite alloy onto surfaces to harden them, sometimes solving problems that Deloro Stellite themselves could not. He once told me that Deloro Stellite offered to keep Moxom Engineering fully employed on this work alone, possibly making him a very rich man. Of course, this would have been too repetitive and boring for Gordon so he turned them down.During retirement he used his skills building a magnificent quarter scale model of a Burrell steam engine. The plans he bought to help him proved to be somewhat less than accurate so Gordon had to re-design a lot of parts himself. In doing so he had to learn all about the mysteries of steam engineering. He spent a lot of time trying to explain to me the nuances of slide valves, safety valves, boiler pressures etc. etc. but I’m afraid it was wasted on me. I was extremely proud, however, to be allowed to help him rivet the tracks onto the main drive wheels.I had the privilege of knowing Gordon for over 40 years. We used to meet at the Manor Hotel in West Bexington on Wednesday evenings when Gordon’s father-in-law, Fred, used to run the bar for Charlie Groves, of Groves Nursery, who owned the Manor at that time. Fred was a great character who delighted in winding up the holiday makers. When asked by some blazer adorned individual why there was no mint in his Pimms Fred said “there’s plenty out there in the garden – just help yourself”.Gordon and I had a boat propelled by a small Seagull engine which we kept on Chesil Beach and used for fishing trips. What the health and safety brigade would make of us these days I dread to think. No life jackets, an engine which would not go against the tide, no bucket to bail it out and a crate of beer under the seats – I’m sure they would have tried to ban us “for our own good” of course.Like Fred, Gordon also had a dry sense of humour. Keeping the boat on the pebbles meant that the seams used to open up and allow water to trickle in. One night he said to me “if we’re going out fishing at the weekend we ought to put the boat in the water to let it plim up”. Now, you can imagine the puzzlement of the holiday makers wondering why a couple of idiots were sat on the pebbles, holding the mooring rope, watching their boat bobbing up and down whilst drinking bottles of beer. Eventually it became too much for one of them and he said “something wrong with your boat”? “No”, Gordon replied”, “it’s what is known in Dorset as a golfing boat – it’s got 18 holes in it”.So, as we say “farewell” to Gordon for one last time, I’m sure many of you share similar happy memories not only of his sense of humour but his kindness, thoughtfulness and undeniable generosity. I’m sure he would not want us to mourn his passing but to give thanks for his life and work whilst expressing our condolences to Barbara and the family.Goodbye my old friend, you will be sadly missed but never forgotten.Thank you.David Hearn
JOHN RANDALL 1925-2017
YouwillallhaveyourownpersonalmemoriesofJohnRandall.HoweverIwouldliketoremindyouofthemanIfirstmet35years ago and whom I had the pleasure of meeting many times thereafter.Johnwasofslightbuildandstoodramrodstraight.Hehadtheweatherwomfaceandthefiattweedcapofacountryman.He wouldbewearingacollarandtieunderhiswellbrushedtweedratcatcherjacket.Belowthishewouldwearbreeches,leather gaitersandboots.Whatstruckonemostwasthequizzicaltwinkleinhiseyesandtheamazinghighpolishonhisbrowngaiters andboots.Johnwouldbeabouttogetintohiswhitevanwhichwasnotaswellpolishedashisbootsandgaiters.Thiscontained allthatheneededforhisjoumeywhetheritwastoLondon,tojudgeatashow,visitamarket,giveadviceoranyofthethousand and one other matters associated with sheep or heavy horses.Johnwasgenerouswithhistimeandenjoyedtalkingandexplaininghistwinlovesofheavyhorsesandsheeptoanybody, ensuringthathisexpertisewaspassedon.ThiswasthesameapproachheusedwhetherhewastalkingtotheQueen,Prince Philip,thePrinceofWales,thePrincessRoyal,TheChairmanofYoungsBreweryortheColoneloftheDorsetYeomanry.He wouldalwaystalktotheyoungbetheyattheringsideofashow,thevillagefeteorwhenheranhislegendrylambroastbarbeque.All his friends needed his advice which he so freely gave.Hewasatpeacewiththeworld,notafraidtoexpresshisopinionandverywillingtolistentoyoursandthentellyouthatyouwere wrong.SowiththehelpofDorothy,CarolandRussellwhowrotemostofwhatIwillreadIwilltryandexplaintoyouhowJohn became the great shepherd he was.JohnwasbomatBeckington,avillagetotheNorthofFrome,inSomerset.HisfatherRichardwasacarpenter,wheelrightand undertaker,hismotherMarthaacheesemaker.HewaseducatedatBeckingtonPrimaryandthenatFromeGrammarSchool whereheexcelledatcricketandkeptwicketforboththeschoolandvillageteams.HeandhiselderbrotherStewarthadatrue rural upbringing with all that included in those days and John was quite inventive.AtanearlyageJohnshowedakeeninterestinfarming,workingholidaysandweekendsforRussellFrankesalocaldairyfarmer.Heleftschoolat15andmovedtoSalwayAshtobewithhisUncleBertandAuntRosewhohadCurseyFarm.Thiswaswhere John’s passion for sheep started. A neighbour, Percy Warren, had a flock of Dorset Homs.ItwasheretoothatJohnmetDorothyandromanceblossomed.Johnhadsavedhispenniesandhadacarbut,sothathecould takeDorothyout,heneedextracashandthiscamefromrabbitingatwhich,aswithsomanyotherthings,hewasadabhandwith purseandlongnetsaswellashistrusty12boreandnotforgettingFidobredbyMrCoombeshereinLitton.Norabbitwassafe.OneBoxingDayheandamatewenttoColmersHillandafter52shotsbetweenthemretumedwith53rabbits.Thedogcaught one.Timewentbyandin1951JohnandDorothyweremarriedatNetherburyChurchandthefollowingyearDavidarrivedfollowed three years later by RussellAtthistimeJohn’sloveofsheepexpandedandhisshepherdingcareertookoff.AftervariousjobshewenttoworkforCharles BoroughatManorFarm,HalsenearBishopsLydeardonceagaininSomerset.DorsetDownsofcourseandallwentwelluntilthe bitter winter of 1963 when he left after a disagreement as to whether the sheep or the cows should have the best food.JohnthenretumedtoDorsetasHeadShepherdtoBillHooperatWinfrithNewburghwherethesheepdidtakepriorityovermost other things.Johnwantedtofurtherhiscareerandtookajobmanagingamixedfarm,sheep,beefandcorn,inEastSussexbutthesheepwere Romneys.ThenbacktoDorsetasshepherdforRexLovelessatPiddlehintonandsoontotheDorsetCollegeofAgricultureatKingston Maurward which he described as quite an eye opener more so for the lecturers and students than for John.AftertheDCAsoldtheirsheepflockJohntemporarilychangedtackandlookedafterashowteamofShireHorses,hisothergreat passion,breeding,breakingandshowingthehorsesandverynarrowlymissingoutonqualifyingfortheHorseoftheYearShowat Olympia in London a couple of times.In1982JohnmovedtoLittonandbacktohisfïrstlovesheep.Thistimeheworkedforhimselfcontractsheering,trimmingand whatever else he was called to do.Aboutayearafterhismove,whilstindeepconversationwithWaltBorough,hesaidthatitwouldtake5yearstostartaflockand breedachampion.Sothegauntletwasdown,Johnbought5ewes,rentedafewacresandstartedtheBrideValleyflockof pedigreeDorsetDownSheepand,duringthefifthyear,aChampionshipPrizewaswon.Fromthenontheflockgrewand Champions were bred and very high prices paid when these animais were sold.Bythistimegrandchildrenwereonthesceneandallwereropedintohelpwhethertheywantedto ornot.Stephen,morecommonlyknownasNipper,wasalittledifferent.Hewasalwaysreadyto goespeciallywhenhewasbigenoughtoopengatesandfetchandcarry.Ofcoursethebagof sweetsinthevanalwayshelped.Johnandhismatewouldgoofftodothesheepandretumwhen it suited them.OnemomingCaroltoldJohnthatNipperhadtoproperlyexercisehisdog,ablackandwhiteBorder Collieofcourse,whilsttheywereout.WhentheyretumedCarolaskedJohniftheyhadexercised thedog.OhyessaidJohnfollowedbyabiggrin.IttumedoutthatNippersatinthebackofthe vanwithapieceofropeasalead,sowiththebackdoorsopenandJohndrivingthedogran behind. This tumed into a regular event.Johncarriedonshepherdingformanyyearsandeventuallygaveupin2003buthedidnotlosehis loveandenthusiasmforsheep.Hedidnotgivein.HecarriedonwiththeDorsetDownsSheep Breeders Association,helpingtoorganizetheannualbreedshowandasacommitteememberuntil 2015. The telephone was his lifeline with people ringing for a chat or advice.OvertheyearsJohnachievedmanythingsofwhichhewasproud.HemetmostoftheRoyal Family.HewaspresentedtotheQueen.HemettheDukeofEdinburghandThePrinceofWales manytimes.HeservedontheRoyalSmithfieldShowCommitteewiththePrincessRoyalasPresident.Hewasonverygood ternis with Lady Aldington and acquainted with Lord Whitelaw selling him many a ram.JohnhadalongassociationwithYoung’sBreweryinWandsworthbecause,ofcourse,theirmascotwasaDorsetHomRamcalled Ramrodwhohadtobetrimmedseveraltimesayeartokeephimlookinggood.ThismeantregularvisitstotheBreweryandthese alwaysendedintheSampleRoom.AtChristmashewouldtakeaeweandlambstotheBreweryfortheirChristmascribwhich raised money for the local children’s home. Again a visit to the Sample Room and a good sélection of beer for the retum joumey.JohnalsohadafinerelationshipwiththeDorsetYeomanrywhoarenowtheWessexRifles.TheirmascotwasalsoaDorsetHom Ram which meant visits to Bovington Camp and of course a detour on the way home via the Officer’s Mess.Johnservedonvariousjudgingpanelsandjudgedatmanyofthemajorandminorshowsbothasabreedandaninterbreedjudge.DorsetDownSheepwerehisoverridingpassionandovertheyearshewoncountlessprizes,ManymanyChampions,Supreme Champions and Interbreed Champions.Johnwrotetwobooksandmadeavideoonhowtoshowsheepandhowtotrimtheirfeet.Heappearedontélévisionincludingwith Chris Evans on Zig and Zag.Aswellashisloveofsheepingeneral,andDorsetDownsespecially,Johnwillberememberedforthehelpandadvicehegaveto manytohelpthemontheirwayinthesheepworld,andofcoursehisbritchesandhighlypolishedbootsandleggingslovingly prepared for him by Dorothy. Finally John enjoyed an ample dram whenever the occasion arose.Thank you John for enriching all our lives.