Don Salmon: 1926 to 2013


16th June 2013:Don’s funeral service was held in a very full St Laurence Church, Appleton, on Friday 14th June at 11:45am and was followed by a private cremation. Reverend Lyn Sapwell conducted the service and a friend of the family, Stuart Ballantine, addressed the congregation with a piece entitled "A Few Memories of Don" and Jim Dymock, who had composed an ode about his experiences with Don, delivered his "Eulogy to a dear friend" before the coffin left the church. The Ode can be seen below.  


Don was not only a highly successful entrepreneur, having jointly formed the local optician chain of Robert Stanley in 1953, but was also a highly skilled engineer. Their house was built one cold winter and Don had seen a system where a bubble was formed and the building works undertaken in the bubble. Rumour had it the builders enjoyed warm conditions in spite of the inclement weather outside! He made his own steam railway for the garden and at one time was the proud owner of a Sinclair C 5, the battery electric vehicle invented by Sir Clive Sinclair. Don was also a keen salmon fisherman spending many happy days perfecting his fly fishing skills, the love of which he passed onto his children and grandchildren. He will be sadly missed by many in the community.


Jim Dymock delivered this special Ode just before the coffin was taken out of the church: -




Many of you won’t know that I had three dads.


There was my real dad, my father-in-law dad, and my surrogate dad, Don Salmon.

My father-in-law dad was a Cornish builder/undertaker and he always said “Somewhere, there is a respectful smile in every funeral”.  I’m sorry about the sandals, but I know that Don wouldn’t mind.


So here is an ode wot I wrote.  The notes are all there, but not necessarily in the right order, for which I hope Myrtle might forgive me.


I’ve called it “A eulogy to a dear friend”


A Eulogy to a dear friend



This is the tale of my old friend Don

A clever old boy, can’t believe he’s gone

Generous, cussed, a bit off the wall

A practical thinker, and that says it all


As a Boy Scout doing Bob-a-Job week

I knocked his old wash-house down, that was a treat

Don and Myrt later, bought the old school

We knocked that down too, just leaving the pool


Don said to me one day, “I’ve just had a whim,

We’ll leave the small classroom, I fancy a swim”

So those school walls stayed, just over four feet

We filled it with water and swam for a treat!


When Don was lying there having a float

His brain filled with thoughts of having a boat

“Jim” said the man, “I’ve just had a wish,

We’ll build us a boat so that I can fish”

The boat was soon built, it took just a week

And to our surprise, the thing didn’t leak. 


Quite sometime later, I walked through the gate

Of that old thatched cottage at twenty eight

Don had been thinking, quiet as a mouse

“I’ve just had a thought Jim, we’ll rebuild the house!”


Well, the weather was wet and the ground turned to mud,

Don looked at me and said “This is no good

We’re getting all wet and on site there’s no room,

I’ll get polythene and make a balloon”


It was twenty feet high and inflated by fan

And no sooner twas up, it brought out the sun

It brought out the crowds too who jockied to see

The half naked builders in January

And the balloon is still there, but not as we’ve found

It’s forming a damp proof course under the lounge


And whilst the aforesaid was all going on

What d’you think’s happening to Myrtle and Don?

They’re raising a family, Andy, Jerry and Jo

Running a business, it’s all go go go

And fishing for salmon, (well what’s in a name?)

Then early retirement and “Thinking again”


Don said to me one day “I think I’ll be brave

I’ve got me a workshop, I now need a lathe”

I said “What on earth’s that for, what can you mean?”

“I’ll build me an engine and run it on steam”


I think Don built three immaculate puffers

Proper, with whistles, smoke, steam and big buffers

They’d chuff backwards and forwards and we’d shout “Hooray”

Don’s mind had moved on to his next holiday


“Old Jim could drive and Tiddler could chat

With Myrtle sitting in the back

I would say just where to go

If he’s too fast or if too slow

I’ll say if it’s clear or if it’s not

I’ll navigate us on the dot”


Well, we went to Wales and Ireland too

Cornwall and Norfolk before we were through

We caught some fish, and shrimps, what’s more

Don cooked a Lobster Thermidor


Is there anything this man couldn’t do?

“Have confidence” his motto, and that’s quite true

“Perseverance also”, and these two together

Will mean we can overcome all kinds of weather

So I want to say thank you Don, and your good wife

You’ve been a major influence on my life

It won’t be long before we’re through

I’ll soon catch you up mate, and when I do

You’ll have been thinking, I know what you’ll say


“I’ve just had a thought Jim, now, these old Pearly Gates need rehanging and I reckon we can make a better job of it.  Old St Peter over there said he’d help.  Don’t like his beard, never trust a man with a beard.  When you gonna get yours off?  Where’s Myrtle didn’t you bring her up with you?