Funeral of Vice-President Ronnie Spafford

The funeral mass for Major Ronnie Spafford, a long-standing Vice-President of the FIA, took place on 21 November at the Church of All Saints in his home town of Weston super Mare. Nina Ashton was there representing the FIA Committee and David Tatham represented the FIA vice-presidents. Also present was David Ainslie who was a colleague of Ronnie Spafford’s on the Falklands Islands Committee, before the invasion of 1982. The Representative of the Falkland Islands Government in London, Sukey Cameron, was also able to attend.

There was a good turn-out – perhaps a hundred mourners, among them several philatelists who shared Ronnie’s enthusiasm for Falklands stamps. There were no close family, but a few distant connections and several people who had joined Ronnie’s tours of the Falklands. The tribute was read by David Beech, Ronnie’s executor and head of the British Museum’s philately section. He gave a sympathetic account of Ronnie’s life in the Royal Artillery and after, mentioning his steadfast support for the Falkland Islands.

After the service Ronnie’s body was taken to the nearby Milton Road Cemetery for burial. The mourners adjourned to the Grand Atlantic Hotel for tea and sandwiches. Low tide, mist and drizzle made a suitably subdued background to the funeral of someone whom we had all liked. "A singular person”, to quote thetribute: one who had been a stout friend of the Islands in adversity and prosperity and a pioneer in the Falklands tourist industry.