Packed Fernhurst church pays final tribute to murdered villager

Mick Griffiths shows off a penny farthing

Mick Griffiths shows off a penny farthing

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MORE than 250 people filled St Margaret’s Church in Fernhurst to pay their final respects to popular villager and jewellery expert Mick Griffiths who was viciously assaulted and left to die in his burning home in January.

As a final tribute many of the congregation, both the men and the women, arrived at the funeral wearing pieces Mick had designed and made, repaired or valued.

Black suits mixed with bikers’ leathers. There were babies and grandfathers, as people of all ages and nationalities from all over the country and from Europe travelled to pack the village church, filling the cars parks, the pews,the aisles and spilling out into the churchyard.

The Reverend Nicolas Haigh told the congregation Mick, 59, who had lived in Fernhurst most of his life, made beautiful things from scratch and also mended broken items, making them beautiful.

But it was Mick’s brother Martin who gave a heartfelt eulogy saying those who knew him could never forget or come to terms with ‘the terrible night in January’.

He said Mick had defied his teacher’s early predictions. Starting work as an apprentice blacksmith, he moved on to making rings from old coins for his own pleasure, while still winning awards for his metalwork designs. As his skill developed Mick began to make many more beautiful and complicated pieces of jewellery, buying precious and semi-precious stones and turning them into rings, earrings or brooches or resetting broken pieces into new ones. He was an avid collector. Martin said Mick walked past 50 Buddhas on his way to bed. He had jade, gold, brass and bronzes. Although he had a car for everyday use, he still kept two Harley Davidsons and also had a penny farthing bicycle.

He collected “more than was practical” said Martin, but loved to surround himself with beautiful things.

He enjoyed barbecues,rock and roll, cooking curry, shooting, and brought his friends along with him. Mick was comfortable with all people, Martin told the congregation, and cared strongly about his family helping to look after his parents in their later years. He also went out of his way to help his friends.

Mick was buried in the village cemetery on Tuesday alongside his parents. A wake was held at John Nicholson’s Auction House.

Police are still investigating the murder and are keen to trace two youths who called at Mick’s home during the week before he died claiming to be police officers.

Det Chief Ins Jeff Riley, leading the inquiry said “We have not identified the two youths or men who snowballed the house when he answered.”

Police also want to trace the black SUV or 4x4 seen on the morning of the fire.