Guard of hon­our for army vet­eran Fred

Rossendale Free Press - - Front Page -

VETER­ANS formed a guard of hon­our at the fu­neral of one of their com­rades.

Hasling­den-based Veter­ans in Com­mu­ni­ties (VIC) paid trib­ute at the fu­neral of Fred Well­man at Lumb Bap­tist Church on Oc­to­ber 6.

The for­mer ‘Barnardo’s boy’ served in the Dorch­ester and Dorset Reg­i­ments as a reg­u­lar after join­ing the Army in 1947, aged 15. He served in Aus­tria, Hong Kong, Ger­many and Cyprus and gained the rank of Lance Cor­po­ral. He wrote a book on his ex­pe­ri­ences ‘On and Off the Hook’ and is fea­tured in a Bri­tish Pathe film from 1953.

Fred, of Craw­shaw­booth, died on Septem­ber 15 aged 86, spend­ing his last few days at Craw­shaw Hall Nurs­ing Home.

Orig­i­nally an Army bands­man, Fred used to play the drums in the area’s clubs in the 1960s, for acts in­clud­ing Bob Monkhouse, Les Dawson and Diana Dors at the Cavendish in Black­burn. Lo­cally, he also played at the As­to­ria Ball­room with the Jimmy Hey­worth Band and for the fa­mous Wa­ter Band.

Fred’s daugh­ter Leah-anne Poole, 43, said her fa­ther was a “won­der­ful per­son and fan­tas­tic fa­ther and grandad”, de­spite a tragic start in life which saw him brought up in a Barnardo’s home from the age of two.

She ex­plained: “His fa­ther died on the way to hos­pi­tal as he was be­ing born.

“Some­one shouted to his dad ‘She’s gone into labour’ and he sped off on his push bike and was killed at the end of the street. When he was two his mum put him in Barnardo’s tem­po­rar­ily and couldn’t get him back out. He was 10 when his mum passed away from an ec­topic preg­nancy.”

Leah-anne said her mum Toni died 10 years ago and the fam­ily re­turned to the Val­ley in 2008 from Som­er­set, mak­ing a new home on Crib­den Lane. Fred, who was di­ag­nosed with Alzheimer’s three years ago, joined VIC’s art group and went on many so­cial trips.

Leah-Anne said: “For two years he was go­ing to VIC three times a week.

“He ab­so­lutely loved it and they were fan­tas­tic to him. In the last three years of his life we had some fan­tas­tic car­ers. He was poorly but they took him out and they took him to the Veter­ans in Com­mu­ni­ties every week. At his fu­neral they had a guard of hon­our and all the flags there. I felt so proud.”

Fred leaves daugh­ter Leah-anne, three grand­chil­dren Louis, Jes­sica and Abi­gail, and two great-grand­chil­dren Theo and Annabella.

●● For­mer ‘Barnardo’s Boy’ Fred Well­man joined the Army at 15

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