Charlie & Alan
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A TRIBUTE TO NICK HORSLEY - Given by Alicen Dines, Celebrant, at his Cremation Service on 4 June, 2020 Nick came into the world two days early, perfectly healthy but classed as premature by the doctor because he weighed in at just 4lbs and 9oz. He took after his mum Jean and it was his sister Gillian who, apparently, got the height. Fast forward many years, when Nick shook hands with Prince Charles who visited the farm he was working on, he noticed that Prince Charles wasn’t very tall either. They both took after their mums! Family was always very important to Nick. He was a caring son to Jean and Peter, and a brother to Stuart and Gillian. When Nick was almost 3 years old, he became a big brother to Stuart in 1960 and then to Gillian in 1964. The family moved to Middle Farm in Long Bredy in 1971. Nick and Stuart went to Colfox and Gillian went to Thorners' school in Litton Cheney. Years passed and they all left school and got jobs. Nick of course chose farming. Later on, Stuart married Helen and Gillian married Gus. Nick became an uncle to Robert, followed by Lee, Kevin, Lloyd and Aaron. Nick insisted that they only ever call him Nick. When Nathan and Chloe got together and had Sam, Nick didn't feel that it was right for him to assume the title of grandad as Sam wasn't a blood relative. He said that Sam could choose what he wanted to call him. From somewhere, Sam chose the name "NeeNee". It caused many a chuckle when Sam shouted it out. Nick was a fun grandad - always up for playing with Lego, hide and seek, football whatever Sam wanted to do. All of Nick’s family had a huge place in his heart. Nick had always wanted to farm from a young age. He loved his work. When he and brother Stuart got together, it was farming talk non-stop. As boys they used to squabble a bit, and his Mum Jean’s approach was to smack them both, so she always knew she’d got the right one that way! That was all forgotten as adults; they were good friends. Nick had a great bond with animals, especially the cows that he worked with. He took a lot of care with them and some would wait around for him to pat them. He was careful too with the farm machinery, treating everything as if it were his own. The times he was most visibly upset was when they lost an animal on the farm, or when there was an accident. There were two accidents in quick succession at one farm he was working at. On separate occasions a lorry drove into a tractor pulling a trailer, and then a machine that Nick was driving. A workmate and a lorry driver were killed and, naturally, Nick was extremely upset. He loved all animals, including their pets but when Jackie moved in, he drew the line at six cats so they agreed on two – plus two guinea pigs. She says he used to pretend he wasn’t as soft-hearted as he was but it was obvious because he couldn’t watch any TV programme that showed animal cruelty – especially Paul O’Grady’s show about rescue dogs. Aged 49, Fate decided that Nick would not be single and ‘married to his work’ (as he used to say) anymore. The day Jackie popped into The White Horse turned out to be a special day for them both. Jean remembers that, true to his character, Nick kept very quiet about meeting Jackie. Jean remembers he never said a lot, even when he was feeling ill. She asked him directly one day whose bike was in the garage. It was ‘a friend’s’, he said. Nick and Jackie were married two years later at Mountfield and have been happily married ever since. Nick enjoyed life at a steady pace, being in the moment, not worrying about the past or the future. He disliked conflict and confrontation: he wanted to get on with everyone. And he did. He was well-liked and had lots of friends – all of whom were important to him. He treated everyone as he would like to be treated himself. He was cheerful and had a good sense of humour. He wasn’t one for many possessions: his one pride and joy was his Lotus Elise. He worked up from owning a moped to a mini, to a sporty Ford Fiesta but the Elise was the peak. And of course, he was passionate about driving a tractor – preferably a John Deere. He and Jackie have had some great road trips, including their honeymoon to Norfolk. A highlight of that trip was a tour of the Lotus Elise factory, which Jackie arranged for Nick’s birthday and which he really loved. Nick was always a home-bird as far as taking holidays were concerned. He always thought that there were loads of places to visit in this country without going abroad, and he always maintained that he would never step foot on an aeroplane. Then he suddenly realised that he could actually leave the country by way of a cruise, and that was the awakening of his adventurous streak. For his 60th birthday in 2017, he decided that he quite fancied a trip to Norway with P&O. He and Jackie sailed on the Arcadia and Nick was like an overgrown child - so excited about the whole experience. They had a balcony cabin and one morning he got up at and went out on the balcony, then came rushing back in to wake Jackie up to see the stunning scenery. It was 3 o'clock in the morning. She is so glad now that she had the opportunity to visit Norway with him, as it went on to be a favourite topic of conversation. They took a second trip in February last year, going right up into the Arctic Circle. Lots of happy memories were made, especially on the first cruise as Nick was so eager to grab every opportunity to see whatever they could and make the most of every moment. Jackie almost had to drag him off the ship when they docked in Southampton. It was certainly money well spent! Nick was very interested in history and he shared his knowledge and passion with Jackie. They both enjoyed holidays and trips visiting castles and museums. In exchange, Jackie shared her love of music with Nick, expanding his horizons quite a bit. He was a Suzi Quatro and Status Quo fan but, in general, he wasn’t keen on loud music in the house. Jackie would turn up the volume a bit when he was out at work. As a reserved kind of man, Nick didn’t like having his photo taken and hated being the centre of attention - so birthdays and Christmas weren’t his favourites. He put the emphasis on other people, to whom he was very caring and generous-hearted. I’m sure everyone can remember something kind he did for them. He bought Nathan his first mopeds and it was his instinct to make sure that everyone was ok – right up to the last. He showed Jackie all the practical things she needed to know in the house. He only gave her one instruction for the future, just a joke really: don’t spend too much money! Most people have been shocked at the speed of Nick’s illness and death. He was very well looked after at the Fortuneswell Unit in Dorchester County Hospital. Nick took the time to tell all his friends individually about his illness. His passing reminds us that we can’t take anything for granted in life, and that we need to treasure our time with family and friends. The family has found it very touching to know that Nick meant so much to so many people. It says so much about what a caring nature he had, and how he drew so many people to him. He will be sadly missed by Jackie, his mum, the wider family, his many friends and workmates over the years and the White Horse family. There will be a special gathering at the pub in his honour as soon as restrictions are lifted – a welcome opportunity to raise a glass to him. Heaven for Nick would definitely mean being out on the land, on a tractor and, maybe, if there’s a good pint of cider and a meet up with his Dad and Jackie’s Dad too, that would be perfect.
Nick aged 10 Nick aged 60 a village in the Bride Valley Litton Cheney Dorset
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