Rugby coach and family man Martin Ablett laid to rest
"YOU can remember him and only that he is gone, or you can cherish his memory and let it live on."
Those are the words in the poem He is Gone by David Harkins, which was picked by Martin Ablett's wife Jan as the family said their final goodbyes to him and laid him to rest.
The former teacher at St Edward's Junior School in Charlton Kings passed away after he collapsed following a Cheltenham Town Football Club's match against Oxford United.
Family, friends, pupils and colleagues filed into St Mary's Church in Charlton Kings yesterday for the 64-year-old's funeral and to remember their friend and mentor.
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The former head of physical education in St Edward's, Mr Ablett was a staunch supporter of Cheltenham Town Football Club.
His coffin was brought into the church to the hymn All Things Bright and Beautiful, after which close friend Father Pat O'Keeffe shared a moving eulogy. He talked about the many Christmases he shared with the family, including how he met Mr Ablett.
He said: "We are here today to support Jan and Martin's family. He was a close friend of mine and I'm sure, to so many of you here.
"We are influenced by the people around us. Everybody around us has an influence on us, moulding us and helping us grow into what we are today.
"I never thought I would be saying these things so soon, but thank you Martin."
He went on to share anecdotes from when he met Martin in 1970, when the teacher approached Whitefriars School for "his first and only job".
Martin went on to teach English, maths, history and physical education, and coached the school's rugby first team for 17 years with Father O'Keeffe.
Martin also played rugby, where he spent hours on the field sprinting down the wing.
As the priest told of the fond memories the two men shared, there was sad laughter in the church, with murmurs of "I remember that".
Martin met Jan in 1982, when they shook hands outside church.
Father O'Keeffe said: "If that wasn't an omen for marriage, I don't know what is.
"Family was the most important thing to Martin.
They lived out their life fully. All that he had, all that he matured and grew, he gave to her in their marriage."
He ended by saying: "Martin, you never did solve my problem of finding a prop forward, but for these many, many other things you gave to me, and to so many others here in their life, thank you."
The poem was read by close friend Keith Howick, before lasting goodbyes were mired with tears to the hymn To Be a Pilgrim.
Martin leaves behind his wife Jan, son Mark and mother Paddy.