Mourners at packed church say farewell to Castle Combe Circuit boss
More than 200 people packed St Andrew’s Church at Castle Combe to say farewell to motorsport stalwart Howard Strawford this afternoon.
Mr Strawford, who died aged 77 on February 23, was the driving force behind the rejuvenation of the Castle Combe race circuit and helped build it into a major tourist attraction.
Today friends, colleagues and racing fans were bussed into Castle Combe from the circuit to pay their respects following an early morning cremation service.
During the service they spoke of a man who knew his own mind, but was considered a gentleman by everyone who met him.
Life-long friend Ken Davies shared his memories of meeting Mr Strawford for the first time as a young boy, his competitive spirit and the way he loved to drive cars “within an inch of their lives.”
Rodney Gooch, from the Castle Combe circuit, said although Mr Strawford had once given him the biggest dressing down of his life, staff members usually worked at the circuit for a long time which was a tribute to his management there.
Mr Strawford, who was first introduced to motor sport in 1952, spent nearly two decades as chairman of the British Racing and Sports Car Club and was its vice-president.
He bought the circuit in 1976 and his efforts won him a lifetime achievement award from the Motor Sport Association three years ago.
Shortly after Mr Strawford’s death tributes poured in from members of the community and during the service Mr Strawford’s son-in-law Graham Marshallsay thanked the congregation for their overwhelming support.
He said Mr Strawford, who was fondly known as Mr Castle Combe, had left a strong legacy behind him and the family would continue to build on his work in the coming years.
The service was conducted by the reverend Sarah Evans, who based her homily around Luke Chapter nine verses 18 to 20 and spoke of Mr Strawford’s own Christian faith, based upon his Welsh chapel background.
Mr Strawford’s family, his wife Pat and his daughters Karen and Emma, chose Jessica, by the Allman Brothers, as the entrance music and My Way, by Frank Sinatra as mourners left.