All content © Bob MuIIins

Farewell to Dougie

Hundreds of friends gathered at Cwmbran Crematorium on Wednesday 9th May 2018 to celebrate the life and to say farewell to Dougie Clarke. 

Douglas Clarke, better known as Dougie, was born in December 1949 and he moved to South Wales with his parents as a child. He attended Croesyceiliog Grammar School and served an apprenticeship with the GPO. 

He married Joyce - his childhood sweetheart - and they had 3 children - Leighton, Nicky and Holly - for whom Dougie became a loving father and grandfather. 

Dougie also loved motorcycles and he was an active member of several clubs including the Welsh Trail Riders Association.

In October 1978 he was badly injured in a motorcycle accident near Brecon. He spent several weeks in intensive care and lost the use of his left arm but he would not be defined by his disability. He built a Honda XL powered sidecar outfit with modified hand controls with which he "greenlaned" and competed. 

From his father Dougie inherited a deep understanding and an appreciation of nature. He was a keen bird watcher and fisherman. For many years he was a scrutineer at events like the Snowrun and while the rest of the organisers huddled around a fire in the Castle Hotel Dougie would be camping out in the woods with his boys in sub zero temperatures catching their supper and studying the stars. 

Dougie died on April 21st from mesothelioma. His coffin was taken to Cwmbran crematorium in a motorcycle sidecar hearse. For his music he chose Albatross by Fleetwood Mac and Lynyrd Skynyrdís Free Bird as well as Bob Dylanís Make you feel my Love. As the service ended and the curtains closed there was the recorded sound of a motorcycle being ridden away and replaced by birdsong. His friends could have filled the chapel twice over and afterwards they met at the Hensyll Cwrt to reminisce.

Dougie spent his last few days at the St Davidís Hospice. The sun shone and from the garden he could see Twmbarblwm - a place where he had spent so many happy hours and from where he wanted his ashes to be scattered.