Thursday, September 07, 2006

Bill Reynard RIP - a larger than life character.

I went to Bill Reynard’s funeral today.
The service itself was very dignified; his granddaughter read a very moving poem that she had written herself.
Reynard himself was a pretty amazing man; he ran as least three Clubs in Southampton and held the first gambling license in the city. In the early 1960s he had a few brushes with the law, not least over alleged firearms offences and he was an associate of both the Richardsons and the Krays.
He was probably best remembered as a publican. Mine host at The Platform Tavern and The Englishman, the latter still has some shot in the wall on the right hand side of the pub as you walk through the front door from some long-forgotten incident. Bill was a larger than life character; in his time a huge drinker, he used to light his cigars with five pound notes and eat broken glass when angry and under the influence or getting ready for trouble...
My favourite story is the one about Ted Thompson, Director of brewers Marston, and Thompson and Eversheds brewers going to pay Bill an early morning call one day, his office being in nearby Winchester. Thompson arrived to find Reynard entertaining a young bar-maid on the floor, behind his bar with his trousers round his ankles. ‘Can’t you see I’m busy?’ snapped Bill, ‘Eff off!’.
He retired from the trade in about 1992 and like many in his family, was passionate about politics. However unlike his daughter Cllr Jacqueline Rayment and his brother who was a Labour Councillor for 18 years and who himself was nearly selected to run for parliament (he lost in the final selection meeting to Bryan Gould by one vote) as well as being the driving force behind the construction of the Itchen bridge, Bill was a staunch Tory.
One the resignation of Lady Susan Hill when she wished to spend more time abroad, I suggested that Bill be made honorary life president of Southampton Test Conservative Association in recognition of all the hard work he had put in over the years campaigning and supporting social events. He was adopted unanimously.
Rest in peace Bill. You will be missed.


Anonymous Ellee said...

Funerals should be a celebration of life, I'm glad you have some fond memories.

9:17 am  
Blogger Tori said...

It's Bill's grandaughter, He would be honoured to know he made the world wide web!
your comments are interesting and so true....
Thank you,

9:16 pm  

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