Well as you will all probably now know, Ron Villiers – one of the founding members of the Warwickshire Armourers Rifle & Pistol Club – passed away on 21st April 2015.
If you have been a member of the club for more than 2 years you will have known Ron. He was the one standing by a car, boot open selling ammo, range book in his hand – and telling you that you were late and that he’d been there before the range Warden was!! – but that was Ron. He was the face and voice on the range, the face and voice at the AGM and of course the committee meetings. Indeed, he was the face and voice of the WAR&PC for the last 35 years that I have been a member.
Ron worked tirelessly for the club in numerous jobs – membership secretary, armourer, Police Liaison Officer and also as a Range Conducting Officer and he attended every shoot. He was known to many as ‘Wrinkly Ron’ with his lack of teeth, wide grin, peaked cap and waxed jacket and was the first sight that greeted everyone on a shoot. He was always ready to give you ‘helpful’ advice (whether you wanted it or not) and as the years passed I enjoyed the banter with him, telling him that he was ‘a moaning old fart’ that couldn’t shoot, then waiting for his very unrepeatable reply! But Ron could shoot – very well indeed and in all disciplines.
A full committee and several members of the WAR&PC attended his service at Kingsbury Church, along with his family and many friends. It was a delightful service (not sure if that word is appropriate when applied to a funeral…..but it was!) with a memorable eulogy written by his good friend Alan Long and read by a Vicar who put the emphasis on a long life, lived to the full. He was laid to rest in his spiritual home in sight of Kingsbury Ranges – no more fitting a resting place could have been found. We all retired to The Gate pub which had laid on a fine spread and Michelle his daughter (much to the amusement of everyone) had put photographs of Ron around the room, doing what he liked best, shooting! This, of course, brought forth many more stories of happier times spent with Ron on the range. It was a fitting end to what had been a sad but memorable day. I think Ron would have been very proud.
Many would have thought that Ron was a strong willed character that wanted things done his way. In many ways that was true – and he didn’t suffer fools gladly – but he was a very good friend to many and would show his support when necessary. The club he founded nearly 50 years ago is still going strong, with a bright future. It will give many members solace in the thought that Ron is still in sight and hearing distance of the range where he spent many happy hours with us all – R.I.P Ron you are already sadly missed by all.
I would like to take this opportunity to offer my personal condolences, that of the committee and indeed all the club members, to his family and friends for their loss…..and especially to Michelle his daughter, who had the added burden of care in his last few months, whilst also trying to balance work and home.
David R. Tomkinson