I was very touched when I received a newspaper cutting  this week from my new friend Ron Booth. He is a freelance reporter for the “bygones” section of the Nottingham Evening Post. He contacted me about 18 months ago, in another connection, and when he heard my maiden name asked if I was Jack’s daughter. When I confirmed that I was, he told me that my dad had a big influence on his life. Recently he rang me to ask if he had my permission for him to mention dad in his next piece, which was about the St John Ambulance.

This is what he wrote:

“Memories of Jack and St John Ambulance”

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Dad being invested as an Officer Brother by the Duke of Gloucester.

 “I was encouraged to join the St John Ambulance at the Babbington and Cinderhill  collieries in 1948. Jack had been a leading sick berth attendant during the war. He was the medical attendant at the colliery. A dedicated member of the St John, he stood no nonsense. At that time he was a sergeant. I was mostly a patient when they were practising for any competitions. I have been “rescued” from under a coal cutter, trapped in a conveyor belt, and other situations to make it look real. The team was dedicated. Listening to them tell me about my “injuries” and being bandaged and strapped up I began to wonder how I could absorb all this information, little thinking that they had been doing this for years.  I will always be grateful to Jack. While we were growing up, he encouraged us and pointed us in the right direction in life. I was a member of the brigade until 1968. I was so pleased for him when he was first invested as a Serving Brother and then an Officer Brother.The investiture was held at the Priory of St John, in London, by the Duke of Gloucester.”

I contacted Ron to thank him and he Emailed me saying “I for one will never forget your Dad. He was someone I looked up to and greatly admired. I know that many of my friends at the pit would say the same”

I felt so proud to think that 27 years after his death my Dad was still remembered so fondly. He regarded himself as a very ordinary man. He was not perfect, but he tried to live his life in the best way he could. He could rage against injustices and cruelty in the world with the best of them, but tried not to be judgemental about other peoples frailties. One of his frequent sayings was, “There was only One Perfect Man and they crucified Him!” 

He was not wealthy, but never envied other peoples wealth or lifestyle  and if he could feed, clothe and house his  family, he was a contented man. I wonder how many wealthy people can say that?  

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