6:27pm Thursday 10th February 2011
FORMER High Wycombe mayor Jim Tanner wins my prize for most embarrassing anecdote – after attending the wrong funeral.
It happened when Jim was secretary of the South Bucks branch of the SOGAT union in the 80s and was told one of the workers at Harrison & Sons in High Wycombe had died. He put the funeral date into his diary.
“On the due date I set of to the Amersham Crematorium and being a little late entered the little chapel there to join the service,” Jim recalls. “As I sat down to my surprise there was no one there I knew, but nevertheless sat and sang the hymns with the other mourners.”
When the service was over, several of the mourners walked over to Jim, thanked him for coming and said “Did you know him well?”
By that time, the penny had dropped for our man who said: “I replied bluffing, ‘Oh yes, I used to work with him,’ not having a clue, who ‘He’ was.”
He then nipped quietly into the crematorium office and asked who the service had been for. The name given meant nothing to Jim, but he found out the Harrison man’s funeral was the following day.
“I crept away feeling very foolish and returned the next day to attend the proper funeral.”
Jim told me his story as a result of an appeal in this column for embarrassing anecdotes and he’s not the only one to respond to my appeal.
Bill Potts has come up with such a corker that I am going to keep you all waiting until next week.
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