I write this evening with that strange mixture of grief and joy, for a week ago on the Wed of 13th November 2019 my wonderful Father, Charlie passed away.
Although he has been poorly it still came as a shock to receive the phone call to let me know. As you can imagine this last week has been full of busy for my brother Andrew and I as arrangements have had to be made, and I had to travel to the North-East. Family members have had to be notified from as far afield as New Zealand and others as close as Dads next door neighbours. Some arrangements were made together and others over the internet and by phone. However I think the bulk is done now, so we can think on our memories.
Memories of a much loved Father, Grandfather, Great Grandfather. Dad was always there for us, growing up and into adulthood. He could be relied on not to interfere but to support us as we went along. When I had a lot of medical issues as a young boy, involving all my teeth removed at 10 years, my hearing difficulties, eyesight matters it was Dad along with Mum who was simply ‘there’.
When I told them I wanted to marry Alison it was Dad who hugged her and assured her that she wasn’t new to the family for she had always been a part of the family, as far as he was concerned.
As a young local preacher it was Dad who drove me to all my services, sometimes hearing the same sermon several times but never complaining. Later when I learnt to drive I could tell that I drove differently to him having learnt in a different era, but he was still supportive by not slamming on his imaginary brakes too often, when a passenger. However he still managed to ‘offer advice’ but not always when I wanted it !
Two of Dads proudest moments came firstly with my own Ordination when he travelled to Derby and Burton to see me be Ordained into Presbyteral ministry; only 7 weeks after Mum died. I still wear the stole he bought in her memory and although he must have missed her dreadfully that day he never complained about the unfairness and simply played the role of the proud Dad. The second occasion was in 2010 when he firstly attended Alisons Ordination as a Deacon in Derby followed the year after by her Ordination as a Priest in the Church of England. I have a photo of him somewhere with a big beaming smile; hope I can find it.
Dad was a people person, whether in Church or having a pint at a variety of different pubs and clubs he would engage in conversation and be sought out for a friendly word. An impish and mischievous sense of humour, he was always looking to tease, right up to the end. When I saw the lovely twinkle in his eye I knew I was being teased. “How are you Dad” I’d say and he’d respond without hesitation “terrible !”. When he eventually began to use his walking stick which he should have used years earlier, it became another weapon with which he’d prod the person he was teasing.
A lovely quote from our New Zealand cousins describes a tour of NZ that Dad and their Dad (Uncle Thomas) as “a right couple of likely lads” (a lovely Geordie reference in there). Ian also says that he never saw Dad upset, argue or say a bad word of anyone. Well, like the rest of us he wasn’t perfect but he was a real gentleman, teaching Andrew and I respect for others, care for people and the need for hard work (especially for other people).
The first photo in this article was taken at Kensington Palace when I took Dad for a tour on his 80th birthday. He enjoyed the tour and was then surprised when I told him I had arranged high tea in the Orangery. This was a novel experience for a lad raised on dripping sandwiches, and he thoroughly enjoyed it until he saw the prices on the menu. Complaining about the crusts having been cut off he announced “at that price I’d have not only expected the crust but the rest of the loaf as well” much to the amusement of the waiter. On the way home he was pacified with steak pie and chips in a small greasy cafe outside Kings Cross railway station !
I remember when Mum died (on a Sunday), he made his way the following week and told me that he cried every step of the way, remembering how 7 days earlier he had taken the walk with Mum. When I said that the Chapel would have understood his rely was “I know that but its my rock”. Dad would never shout his faith, but in that phrase and in the way he lived his life I have no doubt whatsoever that it was a strong ad passionate faith.
I could go on for there’s so much more to say, but …………………..
Next week when we say our final farewell there’ll be a whole host of other memories to share no doubt (Andrew will have memories different to me) but every memory will reflect the gratitude that Andrew and I have that we have been privileged to call Charlie Redshaw ‘our Dad’
Rest in Peace, Dad
we love you