TRIBUTES were paid to an “enigmatic character” who “proved that there is life after retirement” at a thanksgiving service for a missing Kendal man.
Friends and family of Roger Bainbridge gathered at Parr Street Church, Kendal, on Monday to celebrate the life of the 67-year-old, four months after his disappearance while on holiday in Greece.
Former church pastor Brian Maiden opened the service by outlining the ‘very sad circumstances’ surrounding the disappearance of Mr Bainbridge.
While visiting his sister on the small island of Paxos, Mr Bainbridge took a boat trip on September 26 last year to go walking on the smaller island of Antipaxos. He went missing and no trace of him has been found since.
“At this point it is very likely that Roger is no longer alive, but we hope and pray some evidence will be found that will help clear up what happened to him,” said Mr Maiden.
“I don’t think closure is a particularly helpful word but this service offers friends and family the opportunity to formally grieve the loss of Roger.”
He then invited attendees to sing a hymn “that reflects Roger’s great love of the countryside” – ‘O Lord my God (How great Thou art)’.
Friend Geoff Gill, who met Mr Bainbridge through an informal walking group, paid tribute to him as “an enigmatic character” who ‘made a real contribution’.
“Roger’s delight was walking and we used to set the world to rights on our walks.
“Ironically, given the circumstances of his disappearance, he was the most cautious of us – he didn’t like exposed tracks and walked on familiar, low level routes.
“He made a real contribution to our group and we do miss him.”
Mr Bainbridge’s son Iain paid a moving tribute to his father, who was married to wife Ruth for more than 40 years, and had two children and four grandchildren, all of whom live in Kendal.
Described by family as ‘Kendal born and bred’, Mr Bainbridge worked for North West Electricity Board from leaving school up until taking early retirement while still in his 50s.
Iain said: “The impulsive decision to take early retirement proved to be a blessing, as he enjoyed his last 10 years to the full.
“Dad had qualities which are underrated but fundamental – he was loyal and solid and loved his family.”