THE life of a Salvationist, former councillor and “friend to Bournemouth” was celebrated at a special event in Boscombe yesterday.

Phil Carey, who died on July 15 aged 92, was remembered with laughter and a few tears during a service of thanksgiving at the Salvation Army’s Orsborn Memorial Halls shortly after a private family funeral at Bournemouth Crematorium.

And it was a resolutely upbeat affair, with hymns, Bible readings and stories from friends and family about the D-Day veteran’s life.

Grandson Steven Carey, pastor of the Family Church in Havant, paid tribute to a man “besotted with his family”.

He said Phil – who last year was presented with the MBE by the Queen for his services to charity – was known by his grandchildren as a “joker” who was “always full of pranks”.

“Granddad was a man who could make something happen out of nothing,” he said.

“He seemed to have a youthfulness about him that never went away.”

Retired bandmaster Leslie Dean, a 70-year friend of Phil’s, told stories about the Rotarian.

He said: “When we think of him in the future, it will always be with a smile on our faces and cheer in our hearts.”

Phil’s long association with the Daily Echo was also recalled by those who spoke of him, including journalist Darren Slade.

He said: “We will miss you in our paper, we will miss you in our offices, but what an example you have left behind.

“You were truly good news.”

A poem written by Zak Snell, one of Phil’s great-grandsons, was also read aloud to those paying their respects.

The work – entitled Always in the Echo – recounted everything from his grandfather’s time in the RAF to his favourite dinner. Read the poem below.

But all who spoke of Phil, organiser of the Echo’s Christmas Toy Appeal for 17 years, recalled his cheerful nature and beaming smile.

Cllr Anne Rey said: “When I think of Phil Carey, I always see his kind face and big smile.”

She added: “He was a true friend of Bournemouth.”

Always in the Echo…

Great Grandad was always full of fun

He liked to sit out in the sun

And when he invited us round

He liked to clown around!

His favourite meal was sausage and mash

He always liked to spend his cash

Everyday he’d be on the bus

He was someone you could trust

He saw lots of guts and gore

In that awful Second World War

He served in France and Belgium too

And this was all for me and you

At Christmas time he worked so hard

Sending everyone a card

Each year he made an appeal for toys

For all those unfortunate girls and boys

He was born in London in Edmonton green

With the biggest nose you’ve ever seen

He went on to sell fruit and veg

But drove his lorry into the shop n’ hedge

At 15 he went to work

As a Salvation Army office clerk

He worked in London delivering the mail

And that’s almost the end of this wonderful tale

He was always in the Echo, Echo, Echo…

And at the bus Depot, Depot, Depot…

He always lived a busy life

Now he’s gone to join his wife

Smiling right until the end

He’s joined up with Jesus, his saviour friend