Tuesday, 28 September 2021

Family pay tribute to man drowned in kayak tragedy

THE widow of a man who died in a kayak accident has called him “the best husband anyone could ask

THE widow of a man who died in a kayak accident has called him “the best husband anyone could ask for”.

Michael Moore, 42, of Church Street, Wargrave, drowned after his kayak capsized near Shiplake weir.

His widow Sarah, also 42, and their two daughters paid tribute to Mr Moore at his funeral on Monday.

More than 300 mourners attended the service at Henley Road crematorium in Caversham and many had to stand outside.

Mr Moore’s coffin was carried into the church by six pallbearers while Fly Me To The Moon by Frank Sinatra was played.

The service was led by Rev John Cook, the vicar of Wargrave, who read out prayers and the passage A Psalm of David.

The congregation sangJerusalem before the property developer’s daughters Imogen, 12, and Evie, 11, read aloud their own tribute.

Imogen was in tears as she spoke about the things her father loved, including cheese on toast, golf, Sundays, boats, sharks, the family dog Ruby, burgers, beer, squash, dry roasted peanuts, Elvis Presley, Chelsea FC, going out for dinner, fishing, secretly smoking, building houses and barbecues.

“Most of all, my daddy loved his family,” she said. “My daddy was an amazing man.”

A tribute written by Mr Moore’s brother Tony, 45, was read out by their mutual friend Gary Boys, of River Terrace, Henley, and was met with a round of applause.

It told how he had grown up in South London and Surrey and had been “daring and fearless” as a youngster.

Tony Moore wrote: “I don’t know how many times mum called 999 because Michael had his head stuck in railings or something.”

He recalled how when the brothers left school they worked on building sites with their father, also called Tony, adding: “Little did we know, dad was paving the way for all our futures.”

Mr Moore moved to Wargrave two years ago and started his own business.

He loved sports and was said by his brother to be “naturally good at everything”. He was a Chelsea FC fan and the last game he saw was at the Madejski Stadium against Reading last season when he went with Tony and friends.

The brothers had also joined their younger brother Daniel, 28, on a trip to France for his stag night earlier this year.

Tony said he was unsure whether Michael would make the trip so the group agreed to pay for him. They told him it was a one-night stay but once they got there revealed it was for four days. The tribute said: “We had never laughed so much as brothers in all our lives. That’s what I will miss.”

A list of people close to Mr Moore was read out and the tribute added: “Every single one of them would say they got something from him.

“The warmth from his smile, his generosity and friendship. This has been the hardest thing I’ve ever had to write about the love and memories I had for Michael.”

Tony said he had visited Mr Moore’s body in the days before the funeral and he “still looked handsome” but the tears of his parents “couldn’t wake him up”.

He added: “We’re so sad you aren’t here anymore. We all love you so much and I’ve never had pain like this in my heart. We will never, ever forget you. You will always be in our hearts.”

Mrs Moore told how the couple “loved Sundays” when they would go to the pub or her husband would cook the family a roast dinner.

She said they often made their best decisions on that day, such as booking a holiday.

“Michael loved nothing more than taking his family out to dinner,” she said. “He liked to sit outside the Angel on the Bridge in Henley by the river and watch the world go by.

“He used to love going out for a drink with his friends. It made us laugh because rather than saying ‘goodbye’ to everyone he would just say he was going to the toilet and get a cab home.

“He was also known for pretending he had finished his drink by pouring it away and ordering another one.

“He was the best husband anyone could ask for and I miss him so much.”

She also read out a tribute from Mr Moore’s parents, Tony and Carol.

They called him a “special son”, adding: “There are so many beautiful memories of him and everyone who met Michael loved him and will never forget him.

“He had finally got his dream move to Henley and he was so happy there. It’s so sad that the river he loved took his life away too soon.”

Mr Cook said he had occasionally talked to Mr Moore while they were walking their dogs in Mill Green, Wargrave.

He said: “The loss is enormous and inconsolable for his family. He was a loving and irreplacable father and a much-loved son. The number of people here shows how loved Michael was.

“He moved two years ago and died doing something he loved and that makes it even more tragic.”

Many mourners were reduced to tears as they reflected on Mr Moore’s life while Memories by Elvis Presley was played.

The Lord’s Prayer was then read before the committal took place.

Mr Cook read a closing prayer and mourners left the chapel while Matt Monro’s On Days Like These was played.

Dozens of flowers were laid outside, including arrangements which spelt “Dad”, “Son” and “Bruv”, as well as a Chelsea shirt design and the Royal Air Force roundel attached to the word “Mike”.

Donations were made to the Thames Valley and Chiltern Air Ambulance Trust. Following the service, a reception was held at the Bull pub in Wargrave.

Mr Moore died on June 1 after hiring a kayak from Wargrave Boating Club, where he had been a member for only a few weeks.

He was enjoying a day on the water with his daughters when he decided to go for a paddle by himself.

It is believed his kayak capsized after being sucked into the weir. A post-mortem showed that he drowned.

An inquest has been opened and adjourned and police have said they are not treating the death as suspicious.

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