Dick flying in Australia in 2002: what a blast!

Dick lived from 6 June 1924 to 10 July 2004.

He was loved by many, for all the best reasons.

This is what was said about him:

I would like to say a few words about Dick's life. That in itself will be a
challenge because how can you do justice to a person who was a loving,
husband and father, a mentor and confidence builder to many, and a
generous and enthusiastic friend to all who encountered him, in just a few

But, as Dick's son-in-law I will try my best, in the certain knowledge that
all of you here could cite numerous examples of Dick's character and
behaviour that have made us all the better for knowing him.

Dick's start in life was not an easy one. As an only child to a young
widowed mother with little means of support, life's challenges were going to
be difficult to overcome He was always grateful for a first class education
at Christís Hospital School in Horsham and is perhaps this early experience
of the generosity of others that reinforced his own generous and giving nature
throughout his life.

As a young man, and paraphrasing Dick's own words, he was lucky enough to
just miss involvement in the Second World War. He had trained for the RAF in
Texas as a pilot and gained his wings. But his brief military career ended
there and he happily went on to other things.

Dick studied at Imperial College and graduated as a civil engineer, a skill
that he put to immediate use when he went to St Lucia in the Caribbean to
help rebuild the capital, after a fire had devastated the town.

Years later, when he went back on a family holiday it was with great
pleasure that Dick met again some of the residents who remembered him with
fondness and respect, as the young English engineer who had come to help
them in their time of need.

Dick was not all work though and he soon met and married Jean and they
raised a tall and happy family in Kingston Vale and Chalfont St Peter.
And it was in these happy homes that Dick indulged his love of problem solving,
mostly through the recycling of rescued materials, to come up with innovative and often
beautifully simple solutions, be they for his own home or to help a friend
or neighbour. The challenge was the thing for Dick, and when for
example he was given some difficult prop or gadget to manufacture for the St
Peter Players, the local amateur dramatic group, it was like letting a child into
a sweetie shop, he was in heaven.

But we will also remember Dick for himself, as a loving and giving person
throughout his life.

He was unceasingly generous of his time and effort, and he would strive to
help people to help themselves. He would always try to build a personís self-
esteem; confidence and self reliance, helping them find their own route out of a
difficult situation and learn from it,

He used the same approach when helping his children with their homework. He
would write out everything, make sure they understood how to do it and then
tear the answer into little pieces. He new they needed the knowledge, confidence
and tools to help themselves, not the answer on a plate. Apparently the same
strategy is now being applied to his Grandchildren!

People would also seek Dick out to ask his advice and guidance, and he was
respected as a person of practicality and wisdom who would help you think
through your problems and find a way forward.

To some Dick was a surrogate father, delivering the guidance and love they
could not find elsewhere and welcoming them into the family as if they were
his own. The back door was always open and to some it was their
second home.

I will close now because my few words are nearly up. But how do you do
justice to this generous, kind, loving, self effacing, dry humoured and
sometimes maddeningly logical man? Well I think the answer is in the legacy
he has left behind in his children and grandchildren, and the lives of those
he has touched and made better for his having been here.

And really finally, a few words on why Dick hasn't actually gone but will
continue to be with us. It's a little poem I wrote..

"Eccentric, loving, you hoard every board and nut and pin, and use elastic
bands to keep things in, place
and pegs, are your way to keep the legs, of chairs together as the
golden glue, sets hard there can't be two, like you.

And then in Australia in a sellotaped plane, is your son Mike, he's just the
same !"

He was a good man, and we were lucky to have known him

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