HaVE you lost a relative or friend in recent months whose life you’d like to celebrate? our Friday column tells the stories of ordinary people who lived extraordinary lives. Email
your 350-word tribute to: [email protected] uk or write to: Extraordinary lives, Scottish Daily Mail, 20 Waterloo Street, Glasgow G2 6DB. please include a contact phone number.
DAD was born in Stafford, but following the death of his father when he was just five, he and his mother moved to Devon to be with his grandmother and aunt. It was in Teignmouth that his love of steam trains began and he would spend hours at the station watching the trains come and go. After school, he moved to Swindon to do an apprenticeship on the Great Western Railway. He met Mum, Nita, at a party and they married in 1964. After completing his apprenticeship, he moved to Ilford, Essex, with his young family — Mum, my sister Alison and me — to work in the drawing office of the
Ford Motor Company. He went on to design forklift trucks at Lansing Bagnall in Basingstoke before finding his perfect job. He was in two minds about applying for a job at Standen Engineering, saying to Mum: ‘If Ely has a train station, I will apply.’ Not only did Ely have a station, the first thing he saw as he got off the train was Standen Engineering across the road. It felt like fate. He took the job and stayed until his retirement, working his way up to being co-owner. When he retired, he moved to Leicestershire to be close to his grandchildren, Charlotte and Luke — and the Great Central Railway. He was a volunteer working on the steam trains for the next 20 years. He realised his dream of becoming a fireman and ultimately a steam engine train driver and was so proud to take the public out on gala days and Santa Specials. Dad was able to use his engineering skills to design and manufacture spare parts for the engines when they were renovated. He was community spirited, going around the village with Mum, clearing litter, and was chairman of the doctor/patient group. Dad was a lovely, kind man and we were overwhelmed at how many people attended his funeral and sent cards and flowers. His legacy is his family and the beautiful steam trains he helped to restore.