Jim’s been well looked after

Surrey Herald/News - - COMMUNITY -

THIS news­pa­per’s cov­er­age of the Scot­tish In­de­pen­dence ref­er­en­dum was an imag­i­na­tive piece of lo­cal jour­nal­ism.

For a start, it did bring out is­sues of gov­ern­ment that are im­por­tant to lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties. The pos­si­bil­i­ties of more in­flu­ence of lo­cal af­fairs is a mat­ter for us all. The sight of 16 and 17-year-olds vot­ing must be of in­ter­est to our young­sters. But it was also imag­i­na­tive to give the ref­er­en­dum some lo­cal promi­nence be­cause there are many Scots liv­ing in the area. They have an in­ter­est in the de­bate although they have no vote. I was born in Scot­land and lived there for 21 years of my life and have still a (slight) ac­cent. I came here for work and once mar­ried, found Wey­bridge a very con­ve­nient place for com­mut­ing to London and to bring up a fam­ily. But I al­ways took an in­ter­est in Scot­land, the beau­ti­ful coun­try­side, the moun­tains, the foot­ball and rugby teams and the poli- tics. But in spite of my her­itage, I did not have a vote. I was grat­i­fied to see the enor­mous turnout (over 80%). This level of turnout is un­known in this area, even in a gen­eral elec­tion. Could the ref­er­en­dum event be a pre­cur­sor to a re­vival of in­ter­est in pol­i­tics? Many peo­ple say to me, why don’t you re­turn? But that would mean leav­ing a place I have known and served for more than 30 years.

Scot­tish tra­di­tions are fol­lowed lo­cally, such as high­land dance so­ci­eties. There is the Oat­lands Pipe Band, which has en­ter­tained us many times at lo­cal events. This shows us that Scot­tish tra­di­tions are of great in­ter­est to those out­side Scot­land. We do not need to re­turn to Scot­land to en­joy its tra­di­tions.

If it was ‘Yes’ for an In­de­pen­dent Scot­land, what would my sta­tus be – refugee or asy­lum-seeker? As the vote was ‘No’, I can leave that ques­tion to the side for the mo­ment. A MAN from Vir­ginia Wa­ter cel­e­brated his 100th birth­day last week with a cel­e­bra­tion tea and a Skype call to Canada.

James Evans is a res­i­dent of the Mer­lewood Care Home in Hol­low Lane and has lived there for the past 10 years. Mr Evans was born on Septem­ber 10 1914 in Liver­pool but moved to Sur­rey when he met his fu­ture wife, Nancy, on hol­i­day. Naomi Pol­lard, who works at the care home, said he had jested that he liked to be re­ferred to as a ‘Liver­poli­tan’ not a Liver­pudlian as this was the ‘posh ver­sion’. Miss Pol­lard added: “He is a com­plete gen­tle­man, very smart and al­ways in a suit and wants to look good. He al­ways asks how do I look or do I look present- able be­fore he goes out of his room.” She said Mr Evans is a quiet man but with a great sense of hu­mour. The cen­te­nar­ian was a chiropodist and worked with the Royal Army Med­i­cal Corps dur­ing the Sec­ond World War and ap­par­ently has a lot of ‘har­row­ing’ mem­o­ries’. Mr Evans has no chil­dren or other rel­a­tives in the coun­try but made a birth­day Skype call to his cousin, Peter Evans, in Canada. The 100-year-old puts his long life down to the fact he was ‘well looked after’ by his mother and his wife.

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