St Mary’s Church at Petworth witnessed a unique event on Sunday with a service of thanksgiving and memorial for Lewis Golden, a much- loved figure and benefactor in the community.
Members of the congregation arrived through an honour guard provided by 216 Parachute Signals Squadron, in their maroon berets, for a multi-faith service led by Canon Mark Gilbert, Father Peter Newsam, of the Roman Catholic Sacred Heart Church, and Rabbi Thomas Salamon, of Westminster Synagogue.
Leading the tributes, Lord Egremont spoke about Lewis’s contribution to national and local charities and of his indomitable spirit and drive, applied with a twinkle in his eye and always for the common good. Brigadier Anderton-Brown spoke about his importance to the current Airborne Signals community, not only because Lewis was one of the founding fathers but because into his 90s Lewis remained an example and active mentor. A number of officers were present, including Lieutenant-Colonel Paddy Lyske, who had served with Lewis 75 years ago.
Lewis’s elder son, David, lit a memorial candle and tributes were paid by his elder daughter, Deborah, and Philippa Bernard, a fellow founder member of Westminster Synagogue with which Lewis had been involved for 60 years.
Poems were read by Lewis’s grandson, Sam Solnick, and his son-in-law, Jeremy Solnick, who wrote his poem paying tribute not only to Lewis’s late wife, Jacqueline, but also to his companion in recent years, Tishie Burr.
Given his 40-year contribution to the Petworth Festival, music took centre stage with hymns led by Matthew Cooke and the choir, and with Terence Allbright, previously the festival’s artistic director, accompanying Lewis’s grandchildren, Louisa and Theo, who performed music by Bruch and Schubert, moving many to tears. Lewis’s younger son, Jonathan, thanked everyone for their friendship and support.