West Norfolk family says fond farewell to much-loved father

Funeral of Malcolm Dix at Mintlyn Crematorium, 6 horses pulling the hearse into the grounds. ANL-151109-173715009
Funeral of Malcolm Dix at Mintlyn Crematorium, 6 horses pulling the hearse into the grounds. ANL-151109-173715009
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“We just wanted to give our dad a good send-off.”

Those were the words of a family whose father had a carriage pulled by six horses in which to take his final journey.

Friends and relatives, some of whom had flown in from the United States, gathered at the Mintlyn Crematoriun on Friday for the funeral of Malcolm Dix, who died last month after a short illness, aged 74.

Ahead of the service, the cortege was led by a carriage headed by six dark horses, each with blue plumes on their heads, which his family said was a reference to his blue eyes.

Thornalley Funeral Services, who organised the service, said it was the first time they had ever been asked to conduct a service with six horses.

Malcolm’s daughter, Suzanne Auker, said the sudden nature of his death had partly inspired the service, which was also meant to reflect some of the key themes of his life.

He worked for Cooper Roller Bearings in Lynn as an engineer for almost 50 years and his hobbies included history and archaeology, which led him to find a number of artefacts that were given to the Norwich Castle Museum.

Also a keen photographer, a montage of pictures taken throughout his life was displayed at his wake.

And she said: “We just wanted our dad to have a good send-off because what happened was so shocking.

“It was our way of saying how proud we were of him.”

Malcolm, who was known as Mac, was taken into the Queen Elizabeth Hospital on August 13 with a throat infection.

However, within hours his condition had deteriorated and he was placed in an induced coma.

Although his health did improve for a time, his condition then worsened again before his death on August 29, just 16 days after he was first admitted to hospital.

Suzanne, along with her brother and sister Patrick and Helen Dix, said: “We were not expecting him to die in this way and it has all been a terrible shock.

“After so much sadness, we wanted his funeral to be an uplifting, dignified and fitting tribute.”

The service was followed by a gathering at the Coach and Horses pub in Dersingham, whose landlady, Sheila Roythorne, is a former neighbour of Malcolm’s.

The family has also thanked everyone who attended the service and who made charitable donations in Malcolm’s memory.