The funeral of the former Ross-on-Wye Grammar schoolboy, and Mott The Hoople drummer, Terence Dale Griffin, took place on Monday, February 15th at the Priory Church of St Mary in Usk.
This was where Dale had lived with his partner, Jean Smith, another former pupil of Ross Grammar School.
The committal was completed at Cwmbran crematorium. Later, a wake was held back in Usk, where family, friends and members of Mott The Hoople, celebrated his life and achievements.
Terry, to those who knew him in Ross, and at the Grammar School, or “Buffin” to many others worldwide had a marginally successful career with Mott The Hoople until they split up in 1972.
When he heard about this David Bowie wrote “All The Young Dudes” for them which led to huge success. When the group finally split Terry turned to production and worked with John Peel and David (Kid) Jensen.
The Church Service began with the playing of ‘Jupiter’, from Holst’s Planet Suite. This was the signature music to which Mott The Hoople came on stage. Coffin bearers were: Bill Griffin; two of Bill’s sons, Luke and Nick; Michael Chadwick, husband of sister, Christine; Nigel Watkins, husband of sister, Anna; and Chris Griffin, son of brother, Bob. The service was conducted by the Rev Kevin Hasler.
Verden Allen, Mott’s organist, spoke about how they met at the Hope and Anchor in Ross-on-Wye, and included many touching anecdotes. His brother, Bill read a passage from the Bible, and Dale’s partner, Jean, spoke of how they first met at Ross Grammar School. She was 12 and Dale 14, it was to be a series of false starts though. After they left school, in 1967, they had arranged for Jean to come to one of his gigs.
Unfortunately the band’s van broke down, and Jean’s friend couldn’t take her to the gig. The result being each one was left thinking they had stood the other up. The Internet age saw them connecting again, on Friends Reunited. Dale left London and moved to Usk, to be with Jean.
They shared a few happy years together, but fate dealt them a devastating blow when Dale was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. They continued to live together for a few more years, until the disease had taken too firm a hold and made caring for him at home impossible, and he had to go into full time care.
A real highlight of the service was a poem written by brother in law, Michael Chadwick. It lifted the sombre tone, and was appreciated by all.
God said to Bowie ‘I need a hand,
Now we’re up here, we can make a band.
Lemmy’s great and Ronno too,
Sign them up - make them part of our crew.
Glenn Frey is good and he’s kind of neat,
But who should we have that could keep the beat?’
Bowie said ‘ I know a guy,
He used to live in Ross-on-Wye,
The drums are tight and packed with stuffing,
I’ll give him a call - his name is Buffin.’
So band complete - all members found,
They started to play - what a beautiful sound.
‘Sit by my side boys and my right hand,
It was a big price to pay for a Heavenly band.
But now you’re all here, it’s plain to see,
That Heaven will rock for eternity.’
The hymns sung were All Things Bright and Beautiful, Lord Divine All Love’s Excelling, Oh Lord My God When I, In Awesome Wonder and The Day Thou Gavest Lord Is Ended. The congregation left to The Kinks song; Days.
Donations in lieu were made in aid of the Alzheimer’s Society, and an online just giving page has raised over £1500, for the same charity.