George Edwin Rudkin Gardner was born in 1923 and spent his childhood and adolescent years in the Forest of Dean and Berkshire. During the war he served with distinction in the Parachute Regiment, was wounded several times (including at Arnhem) and gained the King’s Gallantry Award for Bravery. He also worked on top secret matters at Bletchley Park as a German linguist.
In 1963 George opened a tea shop in Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire, which rapidly expanded into a considerable business empire, now run and developed by his sons, Clive and Keith, a third son having predeceased him. After the death of his first wife, Dorothy, he married Pauline who has nursed and cared for him devotedly in recent years as his health began gradually to deteriorate.
George was an active member of the Military and Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem in the Commandery of the Marches. At his funeral members of this Christian Order, resplendent in their mantles of chivalry, formed a guard of honour for his coffin. George was a Founder Member of the Commandery of the Marches and did tremendous work as its Chancellor until retiring from that office. We all miss him, his uprightness, efficiency and his stylish good humour.
As his son Clive said: ‘...he taught us many values and made us the men we are. He was the greatest man I ever met.'