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Hundreds at funeral of 'gentle giant' Gavin

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: February 13, 2013

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A MANAGER at a Bodmin plumbing firm, described as a "gentle giant", has been honoured in a heart-warming tribute by friends, family and his childhood sweetheart, who he was due to marry this week.

Gavin Beckerleg, from Gully's Lane in St Dennis, had just turned 32 when he passed away suddenly and unexpectedly on December 23.

His fiancée, Claire Michael, said it was believed a heart problem caused his death, but an inquest has not yet been held.

Mr Beckerleg, who had just been made manager at City Plumbing in Bodmin, was a Scout leader for 1st Bugle Scouts for around ten years.

He began as a Beaver in 1987, progressed to Cub, Scout, then Venture Scout and finally leader before he retired a few years ago and joined a service crew, through which he helped with jamborees where he could.

"He was so passionate about being outside. He loved helping people and was an inspiration to the boys," said Miss Michael.

"Gav would absolutely do anything for anyone and was very highly thought of by many. We've since had friends say their cat flap broke and they didn't know who to turn to because Gavin wasn't there.

"He never said 'no' or begrudged helping anyone. He was the kindest person."

Almost 400 people attended his funeral at Treverbyn Church on January 11, where Scouts formed a guard of honour, Sweet Child Of Mine by Guns'n'Roses was played and a Field Marshal Series One tractor pulling a carriage acted as the hearse.

"It was like following a king," said Miss Michael, 32. After the funeral, a wake was held at the Scout Hall before a camp fire was lit in the evening and people sang songs while remembering Mr Beckerleg.

He proposed to Miss Michael on New Year's Day in 2012 and they were due to marry this Saturday. The pair started their relationship in 2009 but had been part of each other's lives for about 30 years.

Mr Beckerleg was the best friend of Miss Michael's brother and the couple were in the same year at Treverbyn Primary School and Poltair.

They also went to their Year 11 prom together, but just as friends.

"It's going to be a very difficult couple of weeks," said the dance teacher at Penrice. "I remember being in primary school and I pinched Gav, and the teacher put me in the corner. That's when it all started. It's probably the only time I've been in trouble at school."

But she said the wealth of close friends and people influenced by her "gentle giant" fiancé – who towered at 6ft 6in – was overwhelming.

"I feel incredibly lucky that even though I'm in this awful situation, I've just got so many people supporting us – from people in the Scouts to the farming community and people Gav worked with.

"It's so tragic but it has reminded everyone of how precious life is. We couldn't have got through this without them."

She added: "Gav would hate this, having attention drawn to him, but he was – and in my heart always will be – an amazing man."

Mr Beckerleg leaves behind his mum Gill, dad Len, brother Darren and uncle Brian to whom he was particularly close.

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