Dad lived a full and varied life; from humble beginnings in Ilford, by the 1960s he was working with bands such as The Who, The Rolling Stones, Jerry Lee Lewis and Manfred Mann. Recently, he told us how he regretted turning down The Beatles when they wanted twenty five pounds over what he was prepared to pay them.
When he gave up the life of an impresario to work as a financial advisor it gave him and Mum the opportunity to explore the world, from Australia to Iceland, scuba diving and enjoying adventures in jungles and the ocean….
Always a fan of showbiz, he produced and directed pantomimes starring big names such as Jerry and the Pacemakers, Freddy and the Dreamers as well as Les Dawson and Jimmy Jewell. He eventually went on to achieve his dream of appearing on television and film; working as an extra, a game show contestant and even taking small acting roles in films.
But without doubt, Dad’s greatest achievement was meeting and marrying Mum. Despite taking her out for a curry on their first date and ordering a vindaloo. They were together for over sixty years and their love and devotion for each other was tireless.
I want to say thank you
Two years ago I spent some time thinking about what Dad had taught me, his lessons in life. And I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to be able to tell him in a letter and I would like to share it.
Dad, I felt that I wanted to say thank you. I have been reflecting and thinking about you a lot recently and have come to realise that many of my core values are down to you and I wanted to say thank you.
Thank you for teaching me to be honest. I think you are the most honest person I know. You would never cheat anyone. You helped me appreciate the importance of doing the right thing, to be fair and generous to the people who work with, and for you, as well as to be trustworthy and compassionate.
Thank you for showing me the importance of being polite, accepting of people from different cultures and races, for talking to people in a friendly and courteous manner. I loved watching how you would talk to the nurses and the other hospital workers, showing your appreciation for the difficult job they do.
You gave me a taste of adventure, by traveling around the world and doing crazy things; diving, gliding, parascending. You have shown me how to face my fears and have a go, to explore the world and discover new things, about the planet and about myself.
You have taught me to work hard, aim high and be resilient, to be intelligent, reliable and have a sense of humour and to be optimistic even when times are hard.
For all this Dad, and much more, I want to say thank you.
Thank you all, our friends and family, for being here today in honour of my Dad. This is a hard day, but I am comforted by knowing that my Dad had a long, full life.
As Dany mentioned, my Dad loved travelling, and when we went on these great vacations, he was always game to try new things. One of my favourite memories is when we went scuba diving together in the Red Sea.
wind surfing and sailing are actually quite different
But things did not always go so smoothly. I remember on one trip to Greece, my Dad decided to try windsurfing. And he figured, how hard could it be? I know how to sail, so I am sure it is just like that. So off he went. And he was doing quite well for a while until he had to turn around to come back to shore. At that moment, he realised he did not know how to turn around. We had to send a boat out to rescue him. Apparently, wind surfing and sailing are actually quite different things.
I also remember my Dad’s love of sports. He was a lifelong Arsenal fan. I remember when I was growing up sometimes I would hear yelling in the television room and I would get worried. Did something bad happen? No. Turns out Arsenal scored a goal! And fortunately, my Dad was able to watch Arsenal win in the last game he watched before he passed away.
And some of you may remember that my Dad was also an avid tennis player, and he loved watching tennis.
Some of you also may remember that my Dad had a love of acting. He was a frequent performer in St Albans’ Company of Ten and the Radlett Players. He was even in a few commercials, so we will be able to watch videos of him acting for years to come.
The world is a less colourful place now
My dad loved music, especially jazz, swing, and big band. And he enthusiastically shared it with us every dinner time, sometimes whether we wanted to listen to it or not.
He loved comedy, everything from the Goons to Monty Python and Alan Partridge. And he was a master of the Dad Joke. Even in his last days he was cracking jokes to anyone who would listen.
My Dad was a principled man. You always knew where he stood with things, and he was not shy to express his opinions. And he always counselled me to do the right thing, to always try my best and take responsibility.
He slowed down in his later years due to the onset of Parkinson’s disease. It was hard to see him go from being an active tennis player to struggling to walk. But he never made a fuss or expressed self pity. He continued with his passions, and he kept on with life as best he could.
The world is a less colourful place now without my Dad. I will miss him.