Firstly, thank you everyone for showing your love and support for Dudley today, and over the past year and more.
Dudley didn’t seem to be with us very long, his natural life was just two years and three months. Somehow, in that short time he managed to touch more hearts than some of us might manage in seventy or eighty years.
It never ceased to amaze Ailie and I that, wherever we went, Dudley attracted friends and strangers alike, lured by his “surf dude” hair and his magical sparkly eyes, and finally captivated by the smile he freely gave them. It makes us very proud and humbled how he managed that, and how he always seemed so happy. I wish we all had such a gift.
Since he was born, Dudley loved being outdoors, and from his earliest walks through the countryside he was always fascinated by trees and nature. He loved watching his three spaniels splashing through the river. He loved seeing birds flying overhead, or watching cows come up to a field gate, meeting their big brown eyes with his own special smile. He loved the beach. He loved motorbikes, and squealed with delight when he saw tractors. He loved being pushed around the garden in his little car. Dudley had a swing beneath a tree in our garden. When he was little I used to lift his swing right up into the leaves, and eventually one day he pointed at the tree and said his first words, “Up There!”
Dudley created, and shared some very special times that now in turn give us all fantastic memories. We enjoyed countless sunny camping trips together, and with friends, where in turn we met new friends. Ailie and Dudley flew to Scotland many times so that he could spend precious time with his Granny and family and friends there. We spent the last year packing in so many fabulous memories that it would take all day to list them here. Life was challenging at times, but Dudley was so positive in himself, and so easy to be with that he carried us quickly through the difficult moments with his smile and sense of humour, so that we could focus on the wonderful happy times that followed.
Dudley really loved the four months he spent at Thorne Manor Nursery before we realised he was poorly. It enriched his life and ours, and he enchanted the staff and made friends who will remain an important part of our lives forever. This is where Team Duds was created to support him. As you will know, that Team Duds effort gained unstoppable momentum, and some astonishing memories as the ripples from it spread though the community. Well, they were Dudley’s ripples actually, with him and his crazy hair, sparkly eyes and magic smile at the centre.
Ailie and I truly feel comfort that Dudley’s spirit has been set free, and that he is still around us as part of the leaves, trees, birds, bees. Having enriched so many lives he is now completely free to be, and to do whatever he wishes and continue the next chapter of his wonderful adventure….up there!
Jamie Wilson 2015
Somewhere Over the Rainbow What a Wonder World by IZ
Take Him Home played by Jean Thewlis (Dudley’s Gran)
A special thank you to the tractor drivers, Chip, Paul, Todd and Johnny who led Dudley from the service at Halwill to Beaworthy Parish Churchyard