Stuarts final farewell

August 14, 2019

It was with a heavy heart that we drove into the New Forest town of Fawley and to the beautiful All Saints Church which is one of the three original medieval parish churches along the area to the west of Southampton Water know locally as the Waterside. The current building dates from the twelfth century and appears to have been built over two periods, 1170–1210 and 1300–1340.  There is reference to an earlier church, likely to be on this site, dating from 971 and possibly some parts were reused in the current building.

Stuart Harding – who many of you knew over the last ten years of visiting Hamilton Hall, knew him for his wondering hands, his ‘I Like Hugs’ T Shirt and his ready smile and willingness to meet and greet new customers here at Hamilton Hall and to always join in the fun.

The church was small, and packed. It must have had at least 200 people attend as Stuart was a well known figure in the area for all his work with the New Forest Shows and other horsey endeavours that living in the New Forest allows.  As a postman most of his life, and one of those postmen who knew all his customers by first name and where everyone knew him,  he was well liked and loved.

Living most of his life in a country cottage with his Mother limited his experiences and he only really ‘ came out’  - even if just at Hamilton Hall – and started to enjoy a gay lifestyle and one that included sex… which was something quite new to Stuart,   in his mid 60’s. 

He loved Hamilton Hall.  He was a bit like a fixture and fitting  as it seems he was always here, always pottering and always ready to chat and make new friends.  I think he felt he had missed out of life,  but that was of his own making and we offered him a whole new lifestyle here at Hamilton Hall and he  took full advantage of that,  usually wearing his ‘ I LIKE HUGS’ T Shirt and just about everyone would give him a hug.

His health was bad.  He was very over weight and we tried on numerous occasions to  put him on a diet, to cut out the puddings and chocolate bars and have a regular monthly weigh in – and after a 3 month diet period where he PUT ON 2 STONE and bragged about it as if funny,  we were very cross with him but he seemed oblivious – so we – kinda – gave up on helping him and his health as he seemed destined to eat Wagon Wheels 2 at a time  regardless of what it was doing to his health.

You can lead a horse to water …..

I also have a business and other people to consider.

He was  a silly old sod really, and never made an effort to help himself.  It was frustrating and hard when you want to help someone and they fight against every thing you do. It is hard when you can see someone’s health deteriorate and all along hear the complaints from his own mouth, but the unwillingness to actually do anything about it. 

Sometimes I would bark at him and try and wake him up to what he was doing, and he would sulk for days – which does not help the situation – and the Wagon Wheels would go down in the bowl and he would scoff 2 or 3 every night after a full dinner, and it was only when he lost the weight in hospital and stated how well he felt,   that I reminded him  that this was exactly what we were trying to do to help him.  We wanted to see him here for many more Christmases in the future – but sadly – he could never hear what I was saying and thought himself hard done by – by me – and never that he actually took advantage and owed an apology or that we always had his best interest at heart.  We loved the old sod.

Bless him. 

The service was the usual hymns and prayers,  and as the sun shone and we gathered after in the grounds of the church, it was nice to hear new stories about him and his life from those who had known him for more than half a century. 

Bless you Stuart. Thank you for your friendship. For your laughter. Your FancyUndress Outfits at New year  which  I shall never forget,   and most of all, how you became part of the Hamilton Hall family. 

You truly will not be forgotten.

 

John Bellamy

Big thanks to all the people who e mailed concerning Stuart after his death, as it seems many wanted to pay their last respects but could not get free to attend, and with 40 or 50 e mails received from guests concerning Stuart, I think this is the most we have ever had concerning anything I have even sent out before… as so many knew and loved the old bugger…  He will be missed.

 




 

All Saints Church
Fawley
Southampton Hants SO45 1DL
10am

 

 

 

 

It was with a heavy heart that we drove into the New Forest town of Fawley and to the beautiful All Saints Church which is one of the three original medieval parish churches along the area to the west of Southampton Water know locally as the Waterside. The current building dates from the twelfth century and appears to have been built over two periods, 1170–1210 and 1300–1340.  There is reference to an earlier church, likely to be on this site, dating from 971 and possibly some parts were reused in the current building.

 

 

 

Stuart Harding – who many of you knew over the last ten years of visiting Hamilton Hall, knew him for his wondering hands, his ‘I Like Hugs’ T Shirt and his ready smile and willingness to meet and greet new customers here at Hamilton Hall and to always join in the fun.

The church was small, and packed. It must have had at least 200 people attend as Stuart was a well known figure in the area for all his work with the New Forest Shows and other horsey endeavours that living in the New Forest allows.  As a postman most of his life, and one of those postmen who knew all his customers by first name and where everyone knew him,  he was well liked and loved.

 

Living most of his life in a country cottage with his Mother limited his experiences and he only really ‘ came out’  - even if just at Hamilton Hall – and started to enjoy a gay lifestyle and one that included sex… which was something quite new to Stuart,   in his mid 60’s. 

He loved Hamilton Hall.  He was a bit like a fixture and fitting  as it seems he was always here, always pottering and always ready to chat and make new friends.  I think he felt he had missed out of life,  but that was of his own making and we offered him a whole new lifestyle here at Hamilton Hall and he  took full advantage of that,  usually wearing his ‘ I LIKE HUGS’ T Shirt and just about everyone would give him a hug.

His health was bad.  He was very over weight and we tried on numerous occasions to  put him on a diet, to cut out the puddings and chocolate bars and have a regular monthly weigh in – and after a 3 month diet period where he PUT ON 2 STONE and bragged about it as if funny,  we were very cross with him but he seemed oblivious – so we – kinda – gave up on helping him and his health as he seemed destined to eat Wagon Wheels 2 at a time  regardless of what it was doing to his health.

You can lead a horse to water …..

I also have a business and other people to consider.

He was  a silly old sod really, and never made an effort to help himself.  It was frustrating and hard when you want to help someone and they fight against every thing you do. It is hard when you can see someone’s health deteriorate and all along hear the complaints from his own mouth, but the unwillingness to actually do anything about it. 

 

Sometimes I would bark at him and try and wake him up to what he was doing, and he would sulk for days – which does not help the situation – and the Wagon Wheels would go down in the bowl and he would scoff 2 or 3 every night after a full dinner, and it was only when he lost the weight in hospital and stated how well he felt,   that I reminded him  that this was exactly what we were trying to do to help him.  We wanted to see him here for many more Christmases in the future – but sadly – he could never hear what I was saying and thought himself hard done by – by me – and never that he actually took advantage and owed an apology or that we always had his best interest at heart.  We loved the old sod.

 

Bless him. 

 

The service was the usual hymns and prayers,  and as the sun shone and we gathered after in the grounds of the church, it was nice to hear new stories about him and his life from those who had known him for more than half a century. 

Bless you Stuart. Thank you for your friendship. For your laughter. Your FancyUndress Outfits at New year  which  I shall never forget,   and most of all, how you became part of the Hamilton Hall family. 

You truly will not be forgotten.

 

John Bellamy

--------------------------------

 

 

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Big thanks to all the people who e mailed concerning Stuart after his death, as it seems many wanted to pay their last respects but could not get free to attend, and with 40 or 50 e mails received from guests concerning Stuart, I think this is the most we have ever had concerning anything I have even sent out before… as so many knew and loved the old bugger… 

 

He will be remembered.

 

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Old Stuart did alright for himself at Hamilton Hall John,-  more than I think you ever knew. He was a randy old bugger and BOY did he have hands that would grope, tickle and touch - sometimes very unwanted - but he had a way of getting away with it.
He would smile and giggle like a teenager and about as grown up sexually as a teenager, but then I realised long ago he was not experienced,  and really didn't understand the concet of propriety as in some ways, he was sexually, still a child, and we loved him for it.

David M.


Hi John, Thank you so much for keeping us updated about Stuart’s passing, and his funeral. I thought our paths may have crossed, but I wasn’t sure, until you mentioned his “I love hugs” t-shirt, which instantly brought me back to the first time I met him! I loved your eulogy of his life at Hamilton Hall and yes, like others have said he was so very, very appreciative of having such a place to be himself in, after such a challenging childhood/teenage years and beyond. I remember him being in the small back sofa room one evening. It wasn’t a beach day so people were generally around the Hall and Stuart was there, desperately eager to massage someone, or get a hug (and a grope!). He was very chatty and candid - talking about his early life and how “coming out” was such a relief for him, if, a little late in the day. I was struck by how vulnerable he was, as, within the space of an hour or so, he went from an excited teenager, to a very unhappy, directionless adult, complete with anger and tears. It would have taken a whole team of professionals to have unpicked him and even then, I don’t think it would have changed him. I know you and I know that anything you did to try to help him would have been given with love kindness and compassion. You gave him a life that had Hamilton Hall not of been there that he would never have experienced. I think you should be very proud of that. Love and respect to you and my love to Stuart’s friends and family. Robert Cotterill

 

 

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