Tribute No 5 – Cameron

Two weeks today, I lost a father, my best friend, but most importantly my hero. We all know that he packed a lot into his life and lived it totally his way and he was never going to settle for anything less.

For the past four and a half years he fought a battle with a ruthless and unrelenting disease. It was the same courage and fight that led him to the last decision he would ever make, whether it was a moment of madness or clarity we will never know.

The drugs to treat cancer changed my dad massively, the man who took his own life 2 weeks ago today, wasn’t my Dad, wasn’t my best mate and wasn’t Chris Pugh. 

One day we will beat cancer and stop the suffering and I’m going to try and help that cause .

Every single one of us should use the same courage and passion that my Dad had to go forward in our lives as this is what he would want.

Most importantly my Dad is in a better place now, we all know that. We all know now he’ll be riding around up there on his big Harley, saying “it’s not that bad up here son, got my old Harley back and having a chill out with Elvis? What could be better?

Today we say goodbye to a man who will be greatly missed by us all, a man who graced the Moston community with his hairdressing skills, and created noise across Dane Bank through the loud booming grumbles of his Harleys.

Today I can proudly say goodbye to my Dad. After today this only makes me stronger as a person, and us as a family,  this chapter comes to an end and another opens. I will now live the rest of my life as the proudest son in the world and I tell you all now if I become half the man my Dad was I will be happy man.


God bless you Dad, you are now in peace mate.

Love you x


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Tribute 4 Anthony – his little brother from another mother

1st of all I’d like to say thank you to Christine, Cam and Olivia for asking me to do this today. It’s an absolute honour for me to have the opportunity to stand here before you all and get the chance to tell you about the Chris I knew, Chris the World Famous Barber, Chris my mate.
205 Lightbowne Rd, Moston. Now to a lot of people here that sounds like any old address, but to me and so many others I can see sat here , it was Chris’s World Famous Barber shop.

It all started the best part of 20 years ago in a small room at the back of the ladies salon across the road from what would be the World Famous Barber Shop. It didn’t take Chris long to make his mark. He was constantly getting the girls who worked in there in trouble cos they were more interested in chatting to him in his room than doing the old ladies blue rinses

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Tribute 3 Jon –  one of Chris’s bestest buddies

Chris Pugh a prince among men where do we start.

Well Ladies –gents –children how I would like to start is by if you can all close your eyes for 10 – 15 seconds  and bring up a image of Chris when you have been in his company and having a good time,  please carry this image with you and hopefully it will make the day that little bit easier.

I will share with you my image just one of the great memories I have of Chris.

I will tell you about the memory I have in my head its about 2 years ago a Sunday afternoon and we are in the Pugh’s back garden with family friends and the usual suspects having a Barbie and I am sat on the swing chair, you know the one I mean everyone’s had a go on it, so there I am on the chair with Chris and two sausage (Tim Hunt) how Chris loved his nicknames and 

Yes we are talking rubbish  

Yes we are putting the world to rights

Yes we are having a couple of beers

What a lovely day a great memory but the memory does not end there not when Chris is involved

Let’s fast forward to about 4 in the morning I think everyone has gone but not me and Pughy

Yes we are still talking rubbish

Yes we have put the world to rights

And yes we are completely drunk,

Then from around the corner comes Ma Pugh Christine, time for bed boys –home time auwiedersehen, so like most peoples translation mine is its home time.

But not in Chris’s book his translation is one for the road Casey, one for the road and most of you here will know,one for the road with Chris is another couple of hours.

That’s just one fond memory from thousands.

Someone said to me the other day I hear you are saying a few words at Chris’s funeral what will you say

I said I don’t really need to say anything because everybody knows what a great; husband, father, brother, son, mate and barber he was, but what I will say is this.

I was at a chef’s Falklands naval re-union a week last Saturday with 3-400 ex sailors

All talking rubbish

All putting the world to right

And all extremely drunk

Chris would have absolutely loved it

I was telling the lads about Chris and what a great guy he was and that his brother was in the pusser

When one of the guys said to me Jonny you know how you tell how great a man was and how loved he was  

I said go on tell me and he said by how many people turn up to his funeral.

So If this funeral today was a concert or a football match it would say full house, sold out, standing room only.

Well ladies and gents you being here is testimony to the love that we share for Chris and his memory.

One of Chris’s passions in life was music any type and he liked the band the Sugarstones.

Rudy Frankie Harv and Chris you all know them well they are headlining the Club Academy  on June 19th and the gig is dedicated to the memory of Chris and the lads hope to play a couple of Chris’s favourite tunes so please try and make it.

I am going to finish now but will leave you with this.

Chris’s idol was Elvis and like Elvis Chris will today leave the building but he will never ever leave our hearts and minds.

ONE LOVE CHRIS ONE LOVE

And yes Chris all your friends will have one for the road.

Thank you


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Tribute 2 The Wife

I met Chris when I was 18 and he was 17. We were both studying at Tameside College. He was loud, had no social graces and was unlike anyone I had ever met. To say he wasn’t my usual type was an understatement, but on May 17th 1984 Paulas 18th at Smokies nightclub we had our first kiss. He was wearing more make up than me that night as he was into The Cure at the time and wore black eyeliner and red lipstick. The girls at college were dumbfounded at my revelation the next day that I wanted to see him again.

He wasn’t the best boyfriend, he was a rebel and I tried to tame him without success. After the tenth time of dumping him over a period of years. I decided to change tack and marry him instead as one thing I knew for sure is that I couldn’t be without him.

He went from Hairdresser to Postman to Car Salesman to Teacher and then Barber never afraid of a challenge, he worked hard and played hard.

I decided he was just about mature enough to have a child with when he was 30, but when I wasn’t pregnant in the first month he marched round to the doctors and demanded a test, he was laughingly turned away and sure enough Cameron arrived not long after, and three years later Olivia.

He was a hands on Dad in every way, bathtime was his domain and it was a loud event usually accompanied by lots of noise,singing and general shenanigans and sometimes crying as his teasing went wrong. The kids were his favourite source of amusement he would play football with Cam in the back garden for hours and later when he joined West End he was their biggest fan and was also used for training sessions, warm ups, motivational speeches but generally arguing with referees, the opposing sides managers and winding the lads up . We were a big happy family and all the boys and parents became and are still close friends and we have so many happy memories over a ten year period of playing matches, tournaments, our annual trips to Scarborough and BBQ’s and parties at each others houses.

Chris loved to take the kids to school which he said was the best start to a day you could have. He would skip with great gusto all the way there often dragging them behind him he was going that fast, much to other people’s amusement and honks from passing cars. Cam quickly found this uncool at the age of about 6 but Olivia carried it on until much longer, her father’s daughter. His ever changing appearance was also challenge for Olivia as parents evening loomed she would say he’s going to have to tone it down whether it was weird facial hair or his clothes. I’ve come to realise that she shares many of his characteristics being fiercely single minded and gorgeous at the same time. Cam has his confidence and sense of humour.


I would never describe him as the perfect husband or the perfect father, yet he was perfect for us. He was incredibly funny, warm and clever. He was also unpredictable and opinionated and often annoying beyond belief but all those things together made him such a special person to be around and great company.


I admired the relationships he had with others. As a son he loved spending time with his Mum they would go shopping or for lunch on his day off. Through his illness he got incredibly close to his Dad which was a joy to see. He could not have had a more devoted sister in Tracey not a day has gone by in the last 18 months that she didn’t speak to him and she did the opposite shift to me when he was in hospital for weeks on end. 


As a husband he was difficult to describe, when I was writing this I couldn’t really find the right words. his Mum said to me before we got married “don’t tell him what to do just ask him nicely” and I remember thinking yeh right, but she was of course right it was impossible to boss him around I had to be crafty. He didn’t know how to use the washing machine or dust or do DIY ,but he would get me chocolate at 11 o clock at night and was a great present giver on birthdays and xmasOften when we were out at night he would whisper that he had a good look around and I was the most beautiful woman in the room.Years later this morphed into a joke of course and was used for example at Chester Zoo and once when we were walking past a graveyard. If he thought he had offended you he laughed even harder.  


One word to describe Chris was passion.

His passion for motorbikes – he had a bike when I met him and used to change them regularly, classic british bikes and Harleys were the favourites, he wasn’t a speed merchant and he was a fair weather rider, the rain messed up the hours he had spent polishing the chromeMany times over the years I would go into the garage and there would be a new bike “have you bought a new bike I would ask” oh yes isn’t she lovely” with that stupid big grin on his face. His tack was not to ask first If I minded because that would then involve a heated discussion which I would probably win so this way he still got an ear bashing but the bike always stayed and I usually got a present.

His passion for exercise –in his twenties he was a big lad playing rugby for Dukinfield and drinking his own body weight in beer after the game. After Cameron arrived he said that’s it I’m getting fit. He started going to the gym and was soon hooked on running and started the many 10k and half marathons that he loved to take part in.


His passion for music – especially live music was a big part of his life. An ideal night out for him would be going to a concert with the lads ,singing his head off and having a few beers. He would roll in singing loudly waking all the house up whilst performing his ritual of putting his ticket stub in his keepsake book in his bedside drawer.


His passion for the shop and Lightbowne  1995 started the modestly named Chris’s World Famous Barbers, he worked tirelessly to build up the business from nothing into the success it is today, not just by being a incredibly talented barber but his personality got the seal of approval from the customers who grew and grew in numbers. Friends of ours who didn’t really know the shop often used to say why don’t you get a posh salon in Manchester and triple your prices you are too good for that little shop.  He would always reply the same. Firstly he said he wouldn’t make any more profit as the overheads would be much higher. As a barber he was challenged daily to create new contemporary looks and be always better than the last cut this was possible because of the diverse client base. Lastly but as time went on this was most important, he said every day is different, every day you witness real life with real people, you hear about life and death you can cry and laugh in the same hour and that is priceless.

 

I was lucky enough to spend 31 years with my soul mate and have two truly amazing children and enough happy memories to last a lifetime so today we will celebrate his life and share stories and laugh loudly and be thankful that he is at peace and pain free.

 

As Olivia so beautifully said the day he died “there may be only 3 of us now but we will always be a 4 man team.

 


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Tribute No 1 Elwyn

I’ve had a few requests from people who couldn’t make the funeral to read the tributes made to Chris in church so here you go. I’ll do them in four posts as they are long ! ! The first from Elwyn, Chris’s brother.


Christopher Phillip Pugh – My Little Brother

 

Good afternoon all, Father, Family, Mum’s, Dads, Boys & Girls, Relatives, Children – Friends of Christopher

I have been asked by Christine to take a little trot down memory lane for you with my thoughts, on the man, the husband, the father, the friend and my little brother Christopher Phillip Pugh.

I have often been asked, if I could use only one word to describe our Chris what word would I use?

To be honest there are many that spring immediately to mind… Handsome, funny, crazy, annoying, irritable, daft, caring, loving, meddling, and of course mischievous but the word I’ll settle on is Different and let me tell you why!!!

All our lives as brothers we have been different in many ways, Or Chris was dark and handsome with Mediterranean good looks whilst I was fair ugly and pleasantly chubby, I have blue eyes he had brown eyes,he was an animal lover and I have spent my working life in the meat trade dispatching animals, he liked football I liked rugby, he had an eye for the pretty girls and I have never looked at another woman but our Maxine!!!…… She’s sat in the front row what you expect me to say…

But there were things that made our Kid uniquely different, for those of you who didn’t know him in the very early years his first family nickname was “Joey Squealer” this name derived from, where most normal 8-10 year old boys would run around playing whistling or singing, Our Chris had the ability to let out this 14 second long variable pitch ear shattering screech, that could literally be heard on Crowhill shops from the bottom of Keswick avenue our family home and would be repeated monotonously once he could refill his lungs to the point of utter distraction to one and all. Told you he was different…..

Our Kid had a great work ethic he was a professional milkman at the age of 11. I remember him coming home as proud as punch with his tailor made Express Dairy Coat, his leather wallet on his chain and his customer order book, to ensure that none of his customers missed out on their daily milk delivery and of course that he never missed out on his Christmas tips. An early signs of the young entrepreneur that was to make our Chris so successful in later life. As I said earlier the continual theme of my thoughts about my brother is around the word different.

I remember my mother, much to my dad’s amusement dragging all three of us, me, my sister Tracy and our Chris, kicking and screaming down for Sunday morning mass at St Ann’s Church on Burlington Street week after week, and then all of a sudden our Kid actually started looking forward to going, but no one really knew why? Had he found the lord and his religious path very early on in life? – No he had decided that the Sunday morning collection plate was for taking out of rather than putting into and the sixpence piece mum gave us would be best put to use at Broadbent’s paper and toffee shop on Crowhill – see I told you he was different!!

I also remember on two occasions, as I mentioned earlier, that his love for animals got our kid into a few sticky situations …. Firstly while driving home from Sheffield where he worked as a used car salesman for a short while he managed to swerve and just miss a young lamb on the A57 snake pass and end up in a ditch unfortunately badly breaking his wrist. The second occasion when he woke me at 2 am one morning, telling me that a cat had run out in front of his beloved Fiat half way down Keswick avenue, causing him to swerve, smash through old Bert’s privets knocking down Bert’s tree, firmly lodging the car on the broken stump, so myself and Barbara Brookes despite our best efforts couldn’t push him back out on the road – I can only assume that both animals in this story were intoxicated as they had both fled the scene,there was a strong smell of alcohol and our kid swore blind that he hadn’t touched a single drop 

which brings me on to “Our Kids” ability to argue until he was blue in the face and wind people up and prove he was always  right which became legendary , absolutely legendary……

I will not steel anyone’s thunder, as I am sure that as we get to later on into this afternoon / evening, the dam will break and the stories will flow of Chris’ ability to argue and win the most futile of arguments, never to be proved wrong or back down in his belief, he was always always right..

 

The smarter of us, would admit defeat very early on in the discussion, the less smart would debate for hours and hours only to end up agitated annoyed and brow beaten from the said engagementbut these people Chris considered his true friends, Ian Fogg, Alan Bramhall, David Winterbottom, Gary Robinson, Steve Webb, Mike Emerton, Tim Hunt, Gary Hall, Jon Casey and Ant Ellis, to name but a few, last but not least the man who took the most verbal and regular beatings and yet always came back for more, Ray Nurney – Ray I admire you and salute your tenacity Sir!!

Two quick stories spring to mind, firstly my mum and dad had gone on holiday, our Tracey had stayed out at friends, I was home on leave and decided to do as the majority of sailors do when on leave, go find my best mate Peter Jones also a serving member of her majesty’s finest and try our very best to blow one month’s pay in Ashton’s finest public houses andhostelry’s in one Saturday night.  We both staggered home at 2 am in the morning weighed down by pockets full of shrapnel and lose change and crashed at mum and dads knowing there was a spare bed for Peter as only Our Kid was at home. Amazingly when we woke later that afternoon from our drunken slumber we were totally blown away by the fact, that we had managed to spend every last penny we had taken out the night before, even though we had a very fuzzy vague recollection of being weighed down by shrapnel and change on the long walk home from Ashton town centre – but on questioning our Chris and after a hour and half debate that he was the only one in the house that could have possibly taken it, we resigned to the fact, that we had probably spent it and our understandings from the night before were probably blurred with alcohol.

And as for winding people up as I said earlier my brother was different and legendary at the art. I got married to our Maxine and for the life of me, I can’tremember how or why, but we ended up taking our kid and Christine Nev and Claire Nevin and Ray and Jackie Nurney on our honeymoon to Zante in Greece …

Now the Greeks are known around the globe, for their laid back lazy mañana,attitude and approach to life fact …. We had been on Zante for a mere 90 mins only and decided to hit the beach, Me Nev and Ray in our board shorts and our kid in his budgie smugglers –  ill re phrase that our kid in his Anaconda smugglers (for those of you who knew my little brother will understand my reason for change he wasn’t all that little!) when he spied a Greek speed boat driver lay in his boat awaiting for the punters to arrive to sample his water sports craft and ride

 

“What do you do? Says our Kid, to the Greek boat Captain” Drive very fast boat round the bay and tow you and your friend’s behind on a rubber rings sir said the Greek. – Is it fast? or is it for kids says our kid?

Not for children replies the Greek, my boat goes veryfast!! Ok says our Kid let’s have a go! Come on RayNev come on El we are off!!!

Totally oblivious to mine Nev’s and Rays protest of just getting here and wanting to work on the tan, well let me tell you man to man, the Greek told no lies, we hurtled around the bay for the next 15 mins hanging on to these rubber rings for absolute dear life, me Nev and Rayscared to death while my very different little brother whooped and hollered at sheer thrill of the high speed exhilarating ride. How I don’t know, but by the grace of god, we returned back to the beach in one piece albeit a little shaken, bruised sore and worse for wear from our water based experience.

The driver turned to our kid, as we dismounted the inflatable rings and said see George Michael (Chris was sporting long hair, designer stubble and two gold earrings at the time) I told you very very fast ride you enjoy??

Enjoy says our Kid.. Enjoy! Absolute rubbish mate I can swim faster, and for your information, I won’t be coming back on there mate its boring!!!! boring! boring! Says our laid back boat captain I’ll give you boring this is the most exhilarating water based ride ride Zante has to offer?

Utter Crap says our kid it’s a ride for children!!, Right said the boat Captain, ride again and I’ll show you speed George Michael so within twenty mins we were back racing around Zantes bay at such a speed that the rings hit the wake of the boat with such force that the rings capsized and catapulted us some twenty feet in the air, Ray bust his nose and finger Nev hurt his back and I broke my leg much to the amusement of my very different thrill seeking little brother.. And all this two hours into my honeymoon

 

 

I’d like to finish off my little trot down memory lane and talk about bravery. People have said to me this last three years how brave and courageous my little brother was fighting his illness for three years and literally going to hell and back with his treatment and its side effects and his arduous attempt at recovery

Well let me tell you all, I didn’t need the last three years to tell me my little brother was brave and courageous. I remember him doing our Cameron’s swagger down old street in Ashton Under Lyne on a Saturday night with back combed hair, eyeliner and a diamanté neck brooch on in the mid 80’s, now in a town renowned for its alpha male knuckle dragging status that’s a brave courageous man and yes you guessed it just a little Different.

I shall miss our Kid and I am so proud that he was different because that made him unique and very special to me and made him my special little brother, but in his passing I am comforted by three things..

 

Firstly I saw my brother’s body where he ended his life on Wed 6th May in Dane Bank Denton and the look on his face told me he was eventually at peace, no longer suffering, or in pain and misery – This comforts me

Secondly that he was loved adored and worshiped by his wife his children his family & friends – This Comforts me..

Finally “Our Kid” is gone but will never be forgotten and I will be constantly reminded of his presence because I can see attitude and confidence and mischievous sense of humour in his son Cameron and his dark handsome Mediterranean good looks and gentle nature are portrayed in his beautiful Daughter Olivia and this comforts me and helps me at this very difficult time for me and our family.

To “Our Kid” good night god-bless our and thanks for the amazing ride

To Father, Mum’s Dads, Boys & Girls, relatives, children – Friends of Christopher thank you very much for listening

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Thoughts

A week tomorrow since the funeral. Reading the last post back, I feel I have to explain saying it was one of the best days of my life.

Life has been such a rollercoaster over the last four and a half years since Chris was diagnosed. Every step forward was met with a slap in the face and usually two steps back. I couldn’t describe the suffering he had to endure if I tried, I’m determined to not dwell on those times and try and remember the good times, but it’s hard.

The funeral was a chance to celebrate how good life was before his illness and reminded me what great times we had, in sharp contrast to the very tough times we have had the last eighteen months. I looked around at the great friends and family we have and I know life will be good again for the three of us and we have to go through this period to come out of the other side. We are used to a challenge and I’m sure we will rise to it.

We’ve got a Chris sized hole in our lives which at the moment is massive and seems impossible to even contemplate filling.

Christine Xxx

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Thank You

I’m lying in bed trying to think how to describe yesterday.

One of the best days of my life , bit weird to say that maybe but the kids agreed. Totally overwhelmed by the amount of people who came. As we arrived at church I could not believe the crowds.

The tributes were beautiful, funny and heart warming from Elwyn, Jon, Anthony and Ray. I got to hear stories and antics that were told by customers from the shop which were brilliant. So many people told me how brave Cameron and I were to stand up and speak in church, but we didn’t want a stranger telling his life story when we knew him best,  so as hard as it was you overcome it because it’s something you want to do so badly.

As a family we’ve been tested more than most, which in small doses I believe is good for you, but we need to heal and look after ourselves so that we can move on. We are at peace now as well as Chris because there is nothing as heartbreaking as watching someone you love suffer and be powerless to help them.

None of us got to say goodbye to Chris whilst he was alive but I hope he saw what happened yesterday and take comfort from it that we gave him the best send off anyone could have. I think he would say we did a great job.

Thank you to all who came, sincerely, I will never forget it.

Christine, Cameron and Olivia X

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