As many will know, my half-brother Colin Doran died on November 27th 2023. He was 85 years old and in the last decade or more of his life had become a Pagan winning many, many friends in that community both in his home town of Whitby and around the country. Quite a number attended his funeral beautifully conducted by Pagan celebrant Daniel le fey Holmes, Priest of Avalon. For those unable to attend or anyone else who knew Colin, the words of the ceremony are here.
In Loving Memory For The Life of Colin Hayes Doran 1938 -2023
Tuesday, 19th December 2023 at 1.00 pm Woodland’s Crematorium Scarborough.
The Fettlers – Whitby Whalers
Welcome. My name is Daniel and I am honoured to be taking this funeral service, for the much loved Colin Hayes Doran, who was also known to his Pagan friends as Imhotep.
Sadly I didn’t get the chance to meet Colin, but this is a small world and I did actually have Colin as a friend on Facebook for a few years, but sadly we never met in person.
When his sister Anne and David got in contact with me, they asked if I could perform a Pagan Funeral Service and I know some of you here today may be unaware of Colin’s spiritual beliefs, which he kept private from his Family. After calling to some of Colin’s friends within the Pagan community, I have heard and read some lovely tributes to him, as a friend and as a spiritual teacher who has helped others along there own spiritual path. Paganism is an Earth-Based Religion that honours Nature, our Ancestors, the moon and the seasonal wheel of the year.
Today we honour Colin’s Faith and the wishes of his family. In tribute of this and in the traditional pagan way, we send Colin, Imhotep’s soul off onto his next journey, to the Summerlands.
In the Pagan tradition, our ceremonies are conducted in a circle of friendship and community. Let us now open up our circle here for you Colin, by thinking of the first time you met him.
We begin by calling to the Elements of Earth for strength, Water for care, Air for serenity and Fire for courage. We call to Goddess and God and to the spirit in all of us, to be with us, to comfort, guide and support us.
By inviting the Elements into our ceremony we create a sacred circle that reminds us of the circle of life from beginning to end.
(Daniel lights a candle on the coffin)
I light this candle in honour of Colin as a symbolic representation of his spirt and life.
BLESSING OF EARTH
We give our thanks to the Earth for the nurture and care given to Colin, it was within the beauty of nature, by the sea and at pagan gatherings at Thornbrough Henge and at Sentry Circle that he found peace. At Earth, I would like to give thanks to everyone that is here with us today, especially to Anne, David and all his family and friends. I also want to take a moment to think of everyone that couldn’t be with us here today but are with us energetically connecting in through their love of Colin.
Earth is our strength, from this we receive the courage to ask for support, a funeral is a time of sadness, but know that each of you here are surrounded in love, none of you are alone, be each other’s support and helping hand, in celebrating the life of a loved one.
Colin we release you back to the earth and know that your work here is done.
BLESSING OF WATER
Here on the East Coast we are blessed to live so close to the sea, In the pagan tradition, water holds the symbolism of cleansing. We ask Water to release and let go of all that no longer serves you Collin, allowing your spirit to flow freely back to whence it came.
Water is the gateway to our emotions, as grief is one of the hardest emotions we ever have to face, water allows us the freedom to be who we are. Allowing us to freely express our feeling. Today is not a day to stress or to worry, for it is okay to cry, to let the tears flow at this difficult time.
Water acts like a shimmering mirror to the past allowing us time to reflect on beloved memories. Here we will remember all the wonderful parts of Colins life.
Last week David went through all of Colin’s old notes and papers, reflecting on his life and memories of Colin, David kindly wrote this beautiful tribute and memoir of Collins life.
Let us now look back.
Colin Hayes Doran was born in Whitby on August 21st 1938, son to a well known Whitby photographer Wilf Doran, who was a partner in the family firm, Doran Brothers who for many years ran a photographic business in the now Dracula Experience, on the harbour side.
Colin’s mum Winifred Mary was the daughter of an East Cleveland ironstone miner, Thomas William Hayes, hence Colin’s middle name.
Colin was the first born in the family and in 1941 his sister Anne was born, who is here with us today. Five years later his second sister Christine was born, who sadly passed over some years ago. That same year in 1946, tragedy hit the family when father Wilf died suddenly. Colin’s Mum remarried in 1948 and David, Colin’s brother was born a year later.
Colin went to Cliff Street and then Mount primary school’s and then after passing his 13+ exam attended Whitby Grammar School, gaining six GCE’s. Finishing School Colin went on to volunteer for National Service, joining the Royal Artillery, serving three years in the surveying section. His postings however weren’t as glamorous as he might have hoped: Colchester, Larkhill Garrison on Salisbury Plain and the windswept island of Benbecula in the Outer Hebrides.
At school Colin was praised for his drawings and art work, now with his surveying work in the army and his skill as an artist, led him to a job with the Ordnance Survey, in Southampton, where he was a cartographical draughtsman, drawing maps.
It was around that time when Colin developed three main interests which occupied much of his spare time in subsequent years: photography, cycling and scouting.
In scouting he underwent a variety of training to become Assistant Leader of the 17th Southampton Troop and later when he moved back to his home town, was leader of the 2nd Whitby Scout Troop.
Colin was most at home on two wheels and while living down south he had a touring bike built to his specification, a machine that lasted him very many years, though it may have had new wheels, handlebars, seat and a new frame!! He regularly cycled from Southampton to Whitby and back to visit family – a journey of almost 320 miles each way.
Due to an accident at work Colin left the Ordnance Survey and when RAF Fylingdales opened in the 1960s, he got a job there, first as a clerk in the administrative section and then as site Photographer.
When that job came to an end, Colin decided to go on an cycling adventure around Europe where he spent many months travelling through France, Spain, Portugal and Italy, before returning home. As well as staying overs in his trusty tent, Colin often used Youth Hostels at home and abroad. In fact his YHA membership card carries stamps from well over 120 hostels where he stayed over the years.
Throughout the 80s Colin continued to cycle competitively and won many medals and certificates as a member of the Endeavour Cycling Club. He was also a proud member of Whitby Wheelers. Colin often returned average speeds of over 20 miles an hour over 100 miles even into his late 40s.
In 1976 Colin won a place at the University of Leeds Teacher Training College, in Bradford. There, as an adult student he first gained a certificate in Education and the following year, 1978, a BA in Education. In those days getting a teaching job as an adult wasn’t as easy as it perhaps is today – he went back to University in 1990 and won a Diploma in Maths and Mathematical Science and for some time taught maths here in Whitby.
In his retirement Colin developed a passion for Paganism possibly from his sightings of Stonehenge when he was stationed at Larkhill Barracks, Colin studied Alexandrian Wicca, initiating as a White Witch and believed in the Ancient Egyptian Kemetic Tradition hence his Spiritual Name of Imhotep. He was a Reiki Practitioner and a regular attender of events at Sentry Circle, near Northallerton where he still camped despite being in his 80s.
Colin sadly passed away due to a form of Heart Failure on Monday 27th November 2023.
BLESSING OF AIR
Air we thank you for the skills, thought and knowledge you have shared with Colin over his school days and university years, allowing him to be successful and wise in all his work.
In Air we find stillness, serenity and silence it is here where you can reflect on your own personal memories of Colin. Please close your eyes or lower your gaze while we play a piece of music that has meaning to Colin.
Dionne Warwick – What the World Needs now (Is Love)
Air we ask that you gently carry Colin upon the wind, safely back to his Ancestors.
BLESSING OF FIRE
Fire is the warmth in our hearts, the spark and inspiration of life, the guiding light that carries us forward. Fire is the celebration of joy for all the passions that Colin had in his life.
Thank you Fire for being Collins guide and inspiration, thank you for the passion you gave him in everything he achieved in life, from his art work to his love of cycling. Thank you for the love that he’s received from everyone here, his family, his friends and his Pagan/Spiritual Community.
We ask for your blessing that Collins Spirit now shines on with you until we meet again.
(Daniel walks over to the coffin and blows out the candle.)
BLESSING OF SPIRIT
As the Winter Solstice approaches on the 22nd December, symbolising the rebirth of the Solar year we mark your passing Colin, Imhotep and as the sun rises we send you on your journey to the Summerlands to rest, finding peace in the arms of the Great
We leave you here in this world, leaving your soul in the care of your Spirit Guides, Gods and Goddesses and commit your body to the earth, dust to dust, ashes to ashes, connecting you with the circle of life. But we know that you are not truly gone, that your soul lives on and your memories will forever bring joy and happiness into the hearts of the ones you loved.
Hail and Farewell Imhotep, Colin. May your Candle be relit in the Summerlands.
“When people we love die, we never get over it, we never stop missing them we just learn to live without them, holding them safely in our hearts.”
When you next feel the wind blow or see a feather fall, think of Colin and know that his spirit is flying freely in the beautiful clear sky’s.
To end we give our thanks to the elements of Earth, Water, Air, Fire and Spirit and most importantly we give thanks to everyone here today. We close our circle here but know that your memories live on. Remembering the love, the fun, the silly times and all the happy memories you shared.
As you leave today you may wish to say your goodbyes by his coffin.
Finally, The family has asked that donations be donated to the RNLI. Thank you for joining us today. In love trust, and Harmony. Blessed Be.
Robert Gass & On wings of Songs – May the Circle Be Open