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Monday, 28 November 2016

A fitting tribute to Chris Monk

All Saints Parish Church was packed to standing room only to bid farewell to Chris Monk at the Celebration of and Thanksgiving for his life. 

His widow Pauline led the mourners of all ages from small children with family and friends, joined by so many from all sections of Milford village life – those in trade, clubs, former customers and neighbours and friends. It was such a tribute to someone everyone described as “A lovely man”.

Christine Andress, his colleague for 38 years spoke this eulogy (abbreviated).

Chris lead a full and varied life, born in Southampton in 1942, moved to Sherfield English near Romsey then in 1956 while on a visit to Milford, his father, (a butcher by trade) spotted a “For Sale” sign outside Jupes Fishmongers shop. He bought it and so Monk and Son began. Chris wanted to be a farmer but Tom had other ideas and so Chris entered the business. In the beginning he was responsible for deliveries on a Lambretta with the fish in a storage box secured over the back wheel. 

One day he stopped to talk to some friends on the Green, but as he left let the clutch out too quickly and kangarooed down the road shedding fish in all directions. During his teenage years he developed a love of motor bikes and spent most week-ends trialling: he became very successful at this. He was Secretary and a very popular member of the Lymington Cycle Club for many years.

Chris met Pauline when she was working in the hairdressers, now Polyanna - they were married in 1967 and lived in Hordle until his father died suddenly in 1969 when they moved over the shop and ran the business with his Mum. Christine joined the business in 1971 just before Ian was born and they worked together. Their first son Ian was born but sadly died of leukaemia at 19 months, then three years later Tony was born to the great joy of everyone.

Chris kept the business going through thick and thin helped by his Mum, Christine, her daughter Jill who did the deliveries, Chris Hatton and our little Saturday girl Mary-Kate Hobby. As well as selling fish, Christmas was the time for pheasants, some of which came from local shoots for us to pluck and prepare for the shop. 

The business continued to thrive resulting in long queues on Fridays and Saturdays. No-one ever complained as there was the latest edition of the long-running weekly poems to keep everyone amused.

We did many sponsored walks and bike rides, the proceeds going to local charities. We also had successes on the Milford Carnival float competitions, dressing the window for Carnival Night and at Christmas. Chris served on many Milford Committees. He was also a member of Barton Golf Club and Monday afternoons were sacrosanct, when he played with the Milford Mafia, many of whom are here today.

Chris sold the business in 2007 and worked part-time for Tony at Westover Group delivering car parts, a job he loved. The greatest joy during his retirement was being with his beloved grandchildren, Josh and Zac and a proud moment in September when Tony married Linda, a joyful day for us all.

I feel I must mention at this juncture that holidays were an unnecessary evil for Chris. The skid marks through the village were from his heels as we dragged him to Bournemouth Airport. Chris preferred to be busy and every Christmas he could be seen helping to erect the enormous tree on the Green – and latterly he joined the team at All Saints keeping the church yard neat and tidy.

Chris was a large part of this village of Milford that he loved and we will miss him in very many ways.

Eds Note: Monk and Son were at 98 High Street, Milford on Sea, SO41 0QE which is now the location of Verveine, a restaurant and still the village fishmongers.

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