South Devon Railway says farewell to Brian Cocks

The South Devon Railway bade farewell to one of its longest serving members on Friday 15th June.
 
Brian Cocks, who died on 3rd June, was one of the members of the footplate crew in the early days of the railway and served the railway tirelessly for over four decades. A lifelong railwayman, having started his life on the railways on the Southern as cleaner, he will be very sadly missed.
 
Mourners attended a special early morning service at Buckfastleigh Station conducted by the Rev. David Hardy, SDR Chaplain and Chaplain of the Railway Mission, before the funeral cortege of family and friends travelled on a special train down the line to Staverton for what was Brian's final journey by rail.  Up to 300 mourners had been expected and an additional carriage had to be added to the train before departure.  Railway staff wore their best uniforms as a mark of respect for Brian who was always immaculately turned out on the footplate, and they too travelled on the train over the line which had played such a major part of his life.
 
The train was hauled by former GWR loco No. 1369, the first engine Brian drove on the Ashburton Branch line as a volunteer in 1967 and, even though he was very ill at the time, also the last steam loco he travelled on for a short distance in May this year with his wife June and old friend and fireman from the 1960s, Colin Harmes.   At Staverton Station a second guard of honour was formed including volunteers from Staverton and Totnes as family and close friends continued their journey by road for a private committal in Torbay.  Later in the day a memorial service was held at St. Luke’s Church in Buckfastleigh, again with a large number of people attending.
 
17th July 2011
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Brian's-funeral.gifStaff in uniform at Buckfastleigh form a guard of honour as Brian Cocks' coffin is led to the train for his final journey on the line. Photo: Sarah Anne Harvey.

Brian's-train.gifCarrying a wreath and Southern Railway headcodes on the front - Brian was a Southern man - 1369 heads Brian's last train. Photo: Julian Moore.