|The coffin is carried into the church|
The Funeral of Sir David William
Perceval Cooke, Bt
On May 13th 2017 the 12th Cooke Baronet of Wheatley, Sir David William Perceval Cooke passed away in his home city of Edinburgh. His death followed a long illness at the age of 82.
His dying wish was that he would be interred in the Cooke family vault at Arksey All Saints Church. On June 1st 2017 that wish was carried out.
Arksey Village, A History was proud to be among the congregation to witness this historic moment. Here is an account of the day.
Sir David W. P. Cooke
David William Perceval Cooke was born on the 28th of April 1935 in Warwickshire. He was the son of the 11th Baronet, Sir Charles Arthur John Cooke and Diana Perceval. David married Margaret Frances Skinner, daughter of Herbert Skinner on the 30th of April 1959. They had three daughters, Sara, Louisa and Catherine (Katie).
Educated at Wellington College, Berkshire and at the Royal Military Academy, Sand Hurst in Berkshire, he was commissioned in 1955 in the service of the 4th/7th Royal Dragoon Guards, and transferred to the Royal Army Service Corps in 1958.
He was decorated with the award of Silver Jubilee Medal in 1977 and graduated from the Open University in 1983 with a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.). He gained the rank of Colonel in 1984 and retired from the military in 1990. Since retiring from the military he was registered as an Associate Member of the Institute of Traffic Administration and was also registered as an Associate of the Royal Aeronautical Society (A.R.Ae.S.). He has also been invested as a Fellow of the British Institute of Management (F.B.I.M) and as a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Transport (F.C.I.T).
He became 12th Baronet of Wheatley on the death of his father, Sir Charles in 1978.
Passionately interested in the charitable work of his forbears, when Sir David learned of the state of the Almshouses in the early 1990's (they were uninhabited and derelict), he immediately took action and with funding from the Cooke Almshouse Charity and Trustees, together with Doncaster Planning, Housing Services and other bodies, the Almshouses were renovated in the late 1990's and are now fully occupied again.
|Sir David (left) accepting keys to the refurbished|
Almshouses in February 1999
In later years Sir David made his home in Edinburgh and in 2013 became ill with Alzeimer's Disease. He died on May 13th 2017.
With the onset of Sir David's illness in 2013, he made it clear to his family that following his death he wished to be interred in the family vault at Arksey, alongside many of his ancestors and former baronets.
Katie Cooke contacted a Doncaster funeral director to see if this would be possible, and after making enquiries with Doncaster Council it was decided to open the vault and inspect it.
The vault had not been opened since the eighth baronet, Sir William Bryan Cooke had been interred there in 1851. So the question was would they find the vault entrance and would it be accessible?
The task to locate and open the vault was carried out on May 16th 2013. Thankfully the entrance was where everyone expected it to be and the vault was opened.
|The vault entrance|
There had been some water damage from previous floods but seven coffins, their lead linings only left intact, were rearranged and it was ascertained that there was room for approximately five more. Sir David's final wish was possible.
For the full story and many photos of the vault opening in 2013, click here.
|Seven coffins in the vault|
The FuneralSir David's long battle with Alzeimer's came to an end on Saturday the 13th of May 2017.
The following obituary was printed in the Doncaster Free Press on May 25th 2017.
|Obituary DFP May 25th 2017|
The funeral and interment was arranged for Thursday 1st June at twelve noon, at Arksey Church. The family were keen that as many Arksey people as possible would attend; and so it was on a very warm June morning that we all assembled at the church gate to await the arrival of the coffin. There were quite a few interested locals present and more waited inside the cool of the church.
Local dignitaries gathered, such as the Civic Mayor of Doncaster, Trustees of the Cooke Almshouse Charity, as well as residents of the Almhouses.
Forty five minutes before the service a quarter peal of half muffled bells rang out and continued until the arrival of the coffin.
|Arrival of the coffin|
The coffin was carried aloft into the church yard preceded by Rev. Dickinson and the Bishop of Doncaster, The Right Reverend Peter Burrows.
|Into the churchyard|
|The Bishop of Doncaster (left) and Rev. Dickinson of Arksey and Bentley (right).|
Photo courtesy of Keith Wilburn
|Carrying the coffin. Photo courtesy of Keith Wilburn|
Covering the coffin was a Union Flag, on top of which were placed Sir David's military cap and ceremonial sword, plus a wreath of simple white flowers.
|Items atop the coffin|
|Preparing to enter the church|
The coffin was carried into the church and placed on trestles in the centre of the crossing at the top of the nave. To the left lay the open vault entrance in the floor of the Cooke chapel.
Service booklets were handed out and everyone took their places.
|Service booklet front cover|
The service was conducted by Reverend Stephen Dickinson with The Right Reverend Peter Burrows, Bishop of Doncaster, and Reverend Dave Berry of St Peter's church, Bentley in attendance.
Two hymns were sung during the service, 'I Vow To Thee, My Country', and 'Praise, My Soul, The King Of Heaven'.
|Hymns from the service booklet|
There was a reading from a member of the Cooke family, and the eulogy was read by Sir David's daughter Katie. Both spoke beautifully and with emotion.
Once the Commendation and Farewell had been completed the Committal was carried out. All the loose items from the lid of the coffin were removed and the coffin was moved, with it's trestles to the entrance of the vault. Members of the immediate family gathered around the vault opening.
Straps were attached to the coffin handles and it was prepared for lowering into its final resting place. Men inside the vault received the coffin as it was lowered at an angle down the five steps.
After the coffin had been placed in the vault, Reverend Dickinson completed the Committal ceremony. The stone slabs covering the entrance were then replaced.
Once the Dismissal had been issued by Rev. Dickinson, he extended the Cooke family's invitation for refreshments at the Plough Inn to the whole congregation. Once again demonstrating the generosity of this family.
Donations were collected in aid of ERSKINE, caring for veterans with dementia.
|Back cover of the service booklet|
From My Perspective...
As funerals go, this was quite special. Sad yes, but very quiet and respectful. Reverend Dickinson's service was perfect in its simplicity and very comforting.
I was seated to the right of the nave, near to the south aisle, so I had an unobstructed view of the service.
It was just possible for me to see the opening of the vault and I was able to witness the process of lowering the coffin into the vault.
During the whole process of the Committal you could have heard a pin drop in the church. Not one person moved from where they stood or made a sound. It was as if everyone knew what a historic moment this was for the Cooke family, the church, and the people of Arksey.
As a historian I am more used to gathering the experiences and memories of others, however, this was one occasion when I could actually see history being made in my beloved village.
I am very grateful to Katie Cooke, who I managed to introduce myself to afterwards, for allowing me and the people of Arksey to share such a personal family occasion. We have exchanged numerous emails over the past few years and it was so nice to finally meet her.
With no male heirs, it was believed that the baronetcy would expire with Sir David, but on speaking to another of the Cooke sisters, she told me that the baronetcy may not have expired with her father after all. There is the possibility that one of the Yarborough-Cookes could inherit the title. If he is a proven descendant of the third baronet then there is every chance the title of Cooke Baronet could live on.
Alison Vainlo 2017
Click here for a history of the Cooke family.
Click here for an account of the last Cooke Baronet to be interred in the Cooke vault, Sir William Bryan Cooke.