Today is exactly five years since my father's funeral, made all the more memorable because we realised on the day it actually coincided with Halloween. At first I was horrified but realised afterwards Dad would have roared with laughter about that. So while I'm contemplating what a wonderful father and grandfather he was tonight my thoughts will be accompanied by a raised glass and a crescendo of fireworks.
I found something my daughter had written about him today: her eulogy and was so touched by her words I'm adding it to my blog as a fitting commemoration to him
'My Grandad was a brilliant man, I will miss him enormously, from a little girl to who i am today he played a huge part;.
I had the great luxury and honour of getting to really know him again in the last few years of his life. I loved taking him for picnics with Mum and sitting in the sun cracking up with him, . that's what I will always think of Grandad as a really funny, decent, solid and good man. He always had time for me and was always interested in everyone in his family.
I am glad we had his 90th birthday at his WRVS hall with Toby, Donna, Mum and me. I made some recordings of his war memories and am amazed at what a trooper he was. I only recently discovered what immense hardship he encountered in the war, from the loss of his first wife Alice from TB, to the phenomenal 'death march' of seven hundred miles, imprisonment in the prisoner of war camp where he worked in the mines over five hundred feet beneath the earths surface. Sometimes I think he must have been invincible to have endured what he did and I am immensely proud of him.
Since he has passed away, in his ninety-two years of existence he seems to have left the same impression on everyone he met. A 'good old boy', a 'gent', 'old school', that's what I keep hearing.
He kept up his Army exercises until recently and would often refer to the time in 24 hours, to the nurses and carers which was amusing. He walked everywhere, which is how he kept so fit, thinking nothing of walking to Pitsea from Benfleet even well into his 'seventies. He still walked through the hilly areas of Benfleet into his 'nineties and only gave up a year ago. He would sometimes go missing and would often find him here, there and everywhere merrily chatting away to anyone and everyone and pick him up and take him home.
I'm lucky to have had him for my Grandad will miss him enormously.'
Photo taken in desert Abu Dhabi, some of our happiest times together and he always said how much he loved it there and I think this photo says it all