Roy’s Tribute – 1943 – 2023
Roy was a very private, kind, gentle and loving person always ready to listen, he was born on the 19th July 1943 at Neasden, London, he was the youngest of six children. On 16 March 1945, when people were celebrating the end of the war, the family home was hit by one of the last rockets of the World War II, killing his eldest sister, Doreen who was just 16, destroying their home and everything in it.
Two of his siblings had been evacuated to their grandparents in Newcastle, his father was with the Army in Germany and not allowed to return home, so he went AWOL for which he could have been imprisoned.
Roy’s eldest brother, Derek rescued his mother who was trapped, badly injured and was taken to hospital, Roy and his brother Ron with serious injuries went to another hospital and Derek went to live with his boss, how devastating and traumatic that must have been. We still see this happening in the Ukraine today which always saddened Roy as he understood exactly what they are going through.
Roy had been sleeping in the same room as Doreen and was only saved by the fact he was standing up clinging to the side of the cot, if he had been laying down as Doreen was, he would have also been killed by the blast – so from a very early age he was a survivor!
This obviously affected the whole family, there wasn’t the help or support as there is today, they didn’t talk about it as it was too painful but just got on with life the best they could.
Roy played football for his school team; I believe he was a ‘tricky’ left winger!
This led to his lifetime support of Newcastle United, his mother was a ‘Geordie’ and through her family they were loosely related to Jackie Milburn and the Charlton brothers.
Roy’s dad, a Londoner, and his son Robert often had lively banter with Roy about their teams, they both supported QPR.
When Roy left Kilburn Grammar School in 1959, he started a five year refrigeration engineering apprenticeship with York Shipley, earning the princely sum of 1s and 4d an hour, 6.1/2p in today’s money.
It was at this time Roy met Jackie and they started dating, love at first sight a real love match, Jackie was only 14, they were together for 64 years – a lifetime!
On the 30th August 1965 we were married at Neasden Methodist Church, and moved to our first home in Kenton, Harrow.
Roy had finished his apprenticeship which led to him working on many important government buildings especially in the city, hospitals, ships, food processing factories, warehouses, travelling the country and abroad which included Malta where he made a report for the government on the possible use of the caves for meat storage. When air-conditioning became fashionable this also became part of his work.
Roy enjoyed his work, he was much respected in his trade and became a manager but preferred to be ‘on the tools’ trouble shooting, he was always happy to impart his knowledge especially to apprentices.
When Robert and Anne-Marie were born it made their family complete, something he had always wanted. He loved them both dearly, was extremely proud of their achievements but often frustrated by his ill health at not being more active in their lives.
However, in 1984 they decided to change directions moving to Ashwell taking on Ashwell Stores. This was to be their life until retirement but Tescos and Sainsburys soon put an end to that dream! After three years they sold the shop but stayed in Ashwell, Roy returned to his profession however he was picking up every infection going and often ended up in hospital. There was no understanding as to why this was happening.
In 1996 Roy had his first stroke, they decided to move to Clacton to be nearer family. Once there he had blood tests which diagnosed Common Variable Immune Defiency (CVID) – not common – this answered a lot of questions!
Under Barts in London, he was placed on weekly antibody infusions which they did themselves at home, this defiantly helped but he still shielded to protect himself – he still contracted infections and was hospitalised on a number of occasions!
Roy was like the Royal family; he never complained nor explained he just got on with life
Roy worked 44 years only retiring two years early on ill health grounds, that was quite an achievement!
In 2004 they moved back to Ashwell a place they always considered home. In 2006 their first grandchild, Abigail arrived bring much joy. They had the privilege of looking after her after nursery, Roy enjoyed every minute he spent with her.
In 2008 Caitlin arrived followed by William in 2011 being in Manchester we were unable to have so much contact but loved them dearly and followed their progress closely, encouraging them whenever possible.
Roy was so proud of his grandchildren’s achievements, their honesty and love, his message to them was always ‘follow your dream’!
Over a period of time Roy had three more stokes, developed AF and was finally diagnosed with an enlarged aortic aneurysm, which unfortunately for Roy was an odd shape and in a difficult place which couldn’t be operated on, it eventually grew to be critical.
Roy was a wonderful husband, father and grandfather, always caring, kind, gentle and non-judgemental. He was a man of few words unless as he said ‘he had something sensible to say’. He was well read especially in history, archaeology and life in general, always had a point of view but never imposing it on others. He had a good sense of humour and loved ‘blagging’ watching people trying to work out if it was true or not.
He was a good listener, patient and full of well-reasoned wisdom but only gave advice if he was asked. He was a great encourager, enabling Jackie to undertake many projects in Ashwell which often meant she wasn’t at home with him, he never complained nor was he grumpy no matter how ill he was.
He loved family gatherings, BBQs, special occasions and Christmas where extended families were involved, nieces and nephews were a joy to him, seeing them grow, achieve and develop their own families.
We enjoyed holidays especially walking Devon’s coastal footpaths and trekking across the moors with friends, until seven years ago when the risk of infection became too great. By this time, they had limited social contact but Roy was always interested to know how everyone was.
Roy could turn his hand to anything, DIY, gardening and cooking – his Sunday roasts were wonderful, enjoyed by family and friends
Slowly his health worsened he could no longer cook meals and needed support dressing etc. At this stage and after much discussion they decided to move to Moorlands Court Independent Living accommodation in May 2022
They never regretted it for a moment, it quickly became home where he could enjoy listening to Talking Books, watching nature in their little garden maintaining as normal a life as possible with the support of the wonderful carers.
Of course, he was apprehensive about receiving personal care but soon got the hang of it and he could heard chatting and laughing with his carers, so much so Jackie would say ‘I think you are enjoying that too much’ to which they would all laugh.
It was only four weeks ago that family and friends gathered at Moorlands Court to celebrate his 80th birthday, he so enjoyed the day being surrounded by those he loved and who meant so much to him. The kitchen staff at Moorlands excelled themselves making their hard work seem effortless by providing a wonderful buffet for which they were very grateful.
Sadly, Roy contracted an infection which turned to pneumonia, his potassium and magnesium levels were low, he was pumped full of antibiotics, it was thought he would bounce back as usual, sadly that wasn’t to be. His aortic aneurysm ruptured and he slipped away peacefully.
Barts always thought that the rocket in 1943 compromised Roy’s health so eighty years on the WWII was still affecting not only Roy but also his family.
Well Roy’s your earthly journey has come to an end, his life was in some ways an unusual one but together with family and friends he made it work. So, until they meet again, may you rest in peace, stay close and God bless you.