My name is Chris, or “Stinky Granddad” as Jess my lovely 2 year old Grand Daughter chooses to call me, and always with a wicked glint in her eye and her fingers pinching her nose! Apparently something to do with coming home from work and in need of a good shower! My recent Christmas present from her was a quality beer tankard engraved with the words, “To My Stinky Granddad, with love from Jess!” Of course bless her, I just have to love it!
I had a Dream Childhood
I grew up on small farm in East Sussex and for the most part I only remember the sunshine and the fun! I could name every plant and animal for miles around by the time I was seven and of course loved farm life and helped as much as I could. Of course school got in the way, but I had every intention of joining the family concern as soon as I was allowed to leave school. There was no other life I knew better, nor wanted more!
I trained with my Father to become a Teacher
My father was taken ill when I was still at school and the farm had to go. So instead my father returned to teaching which he had started prior to call up before the war. But things had changed and it meant going back to college to train as a teacher! Strange as it may seem, I followed my father through college, a year or two behind and did the same course. We became successful teachers, but would both have preferred the farm life we had to leave behind.
The very Best of Outdoor Education
My teaching career gave me the opportunity to share with young children, my love of science, outdoor life and in particular travel and various sports, especially rugby and Althletics. In my first post I helped to establish an annual field trip to Llangollen in Wales to encourage outdoor learning at its very best. Then in the summer holidays it was camping and Youth hostelling on the golden sands of Gower. In the winter months and for over 30 years in two different schools, I organised skiing holidays for parents and children all over the mountains in Europe! At least 3 former pupils and one parent have gone on to become qualified ski instructors and many have continued to ski with their families long after leaving home! And so too have we!
Promotion to Head Teacher
My second post took me to Harrogate in North Yorkshire as a headteacher of a very small Primary School. I was given the clearest of briefs. Build up the school and introduce everything I had done in my former post. How lucky I was, it was exactly what parents, staff and pupils wanted! This led to rapid expansion of the school and we were quickly moved to a new and separate site with 200+ children in eleven classes. Later we designed and opened a separate Infant School alongside.
For the moment, now in retirement, we continue to live close to the school and we watch it continue to flourish and grow.
My Retirement Plan
I retired a few years early to enjoy gardening, decorating and lots of travel and of course my lovely grandchildren. More than ever I wanted to crack the code to a successful business online. This time to support my two married daughters and their children.My
My retirement plan is halted in its tracks
Within a few weeks of retirement my younger brother Peter, a seemingly fit young doctor, phoned to give me terrible news. He had been diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer and there could be no treatment, remission or cure. He died very quickly within 6 months leaving two daughters and a sickly wife.
More was to follow
My father died suddenly the following summer just after my birthday in June having never really got over the loss of Peter, his dear son. My mother made it to her 100th birthday, but she was sadly very ill in a care home with Lewey Body Dementia and for several years she soldiered on and suffered terribly.
Worse still to come
If that wasn’t enough, cancer struck my family again in 2014 and this time it was a young one that was taken suddenly and gone forever at the tender age of 4 1/4. Grace was my beloved eldest granddaughter and she had just started school when she was taken ill and rushed into hospital. We buried her 3 weeks later. Grace’s cancer story is told on another page. It is not something that anyone should ever have to experience, least of all a child’s parents. My retirement plan was revoked and re-rewritten.
We are committed to running a “Strictly Not for Profit” business to raise funds for child cancer research
The family is naturally devastated, but we are determined to do something in Graces’s memory to help us make some sense of her sorrowful passing. Our aim is to try to improve survival rates and cures for child cancer patients in the future. Therefore, we are committed to running a business that will raise funding to employ chosen researchers, specifically committed to finding cures for child cancer. No child should ever have to die as little angel Grace.
The Biggest Obstacles are a Lack of Public Awareness and Interest
At the moment, less than 2% of all money raised for cancer is spent on child cancer research and yet it is the biggest single killer of children under the age of 18 and even when all other causes of death are added together. This just has to change. It is just not fair. Children are our future, they hold our families together and they deserve better than this and so to do their loving parents.