£365 was raised from the kind donations for Hayward House Cancer Care in Nottingham, where Harold received tremendous care in his final days. The donation has now been received by Hayward House who have sent a thank you for supporting their palliative care unit.
In loving memory of the late Harold Edwards who sadly passed away on 12th March 2015 aged 92 years.
Tribute to Harold Edwards
1st September 1922 – 12th March 2015
This tribute was read at Harold's funeral on 25th March.
The family wishes to say a few words in memory of Harold who sadly passed away peacefully in the early hours of 12th March after a courageous fight with cancer. He was well cared for in his final days at Hayward House.
Harold was born in Nottingham in 1922. The youngest son of twelve children and the youngest child of the family, Lucy, is here with us today.
Although times would not have been easy, he recalled fond memories of home that clearly instilled in him the importance of family life and these values stayed with him throughout his life.
There are many childhood stories such as his errand of running to the local baker to get stale leftovers at the end of the day. He once tripped on his return resulting in a shining black eye but he still hung onto the cakes! He remembered, however difficult times were, Ma always provided the family with homemade food on the table. He continued a very healthy diet for the rest of his life and was very much a vegetable man having at least four vegetables on his plate every day– in fact he probably ate a healthier diet than we did! His sisters claimed, as one of Ma’s favourite boys, he was let off the duty of cleaning the cellar steps which they had to do– a claim he laughed about but didn’t deny.
Lucy reminded him recently, when recalling such family stories, that they hadn’t had much but they had lived.
It was with sadness he remembered the day he received the news his eldest brother Harry had died on HMS Enterprise on what should have been a return journey home during WW2 and also in losing his eldest sister Millie to TB.
Harold spent his entire life in his home city of Nottingham with the exception of serving with the Sherwood Foresters from 1945 (private no. 14941912.) Although he would often joke he was deployed when it was all over, he was posted to Palestine serving his country in its important peacekeeping role. He would tell humorous stories of how, as new arrivals, they refused to eat bread contaminated with beetles but quickly learned survival meant eating it, beetles and all! Or the time they mischievously picked oranges thinking they were in for a refreshing treat only to find they were bitter marmalade ones. Beneath the humorous stories there were obviously more disturbing times and experiences of which, like many, he rarely talked.
He had met his future wife Gladys during the war when they were both working at Ericsson Telecommunications. In their courting days they enjoyed dancing, cinema and many Sunday strolls along the Victoria embankment. It was during his time in the army he proposed to her on the train station platform when about to return after a period of leave. He then came back a few months later and proudly married in uniform in August 1945.
After the war Harold returned to Ericsson’s, later Plessey Telecommunications, finally taking the opportunity to retire at 62.
Harold and Gladys had two daughters, June & Beverly and he was a devoted husband and father who worked hard to support his family, including working night shifts and attending night school to improve his prospects.
Weekends were dedicated to family and many DIY projects for the home. Even in later life he was still very much a handy man and could always be relied on to lend a hand. He had practically a tool for any job. He still kept an eye out on his weekly trips to Aldi for any useful tools in their special offers aisle.
Harold was completely heartbroken with the sudden loss of Gladys almost 20 years ago. His grief was deep but he eventually found the strength to establish life on his own and to still be the loyal and devoted father.
He loved his garden, planting colourful borders every summer as Glad had done and was especially meticulous about his lawn (which we mowed for you this weekend Harold!) He had what seemed a small production line in suet puddings for the birds and tamed a couple of robins to come to his whistle. His neighbour Joanne did wonder if he was talking to himself in the garden one day only to discover he was talking to his ‘pet’ robin. I’m sure the robins are missing him and their treats. At the age of 92 he still took great care of his garden and only last autumn gave the lawn and hedge a final cut and said he needed to replace his old electric hedge trimmer for a lighter version next summer.
It was this strength and determination to remain independent that was never displayed more strongly than when he was diagnosed with cancer four years ago. Although a tremendous shock to us, he displayed absolute strength, dignity and a positive attitude. Without any complaints he dealt with all the tests and treatments involved.
With this positive attitude he continued to carry on life as normal as possible, living independently with very little support and never considering himself old. He took great care of himself, always turned out smartly, often with a tie, especially when attending any appointments. His oncologist team was full of admiration and amazed he was still cooking, cleaning and mowing his lawn whereas he considered this as perfectly normal.
Throughout this time, Harold enjoyed holidays and remained ruthless when it came to a game of crazy golf or ludo. On these trips he would enjoy his morning stroll for a newspaper, reading or tackling crosswords, sitting having a quiet nod by the sea, lots of cuppers and ‘just a small half’ in the evening.
Football had always been a great love of Harold – he would settle down to watch any decent match on TV and if the England team was due to play he would say he was on the bench with his boots on ready. He thoroughly enjoyed a trip to London to see an FA Cup semi-final. Part of the enjoyment of the trip was what he considered a very luxurious train journey. He said it was the first train journey he’d taken to London since the war!
Fortunately he could watch football without needing to hear as his increasing loss of hearing was a frustrating impairment but he would also joke about it saying ‘I’m a bit mutton jeff you know’ and usually declared his date of birth or address as a safe bet in response to the questions asked by hospital staff when attending his appointments. He used to joke with us that after four years of visits they should have known his details by now anyway.
Over more recent years, Harold had enjoyed reminiscing with Flo, Jim and sister Lucy, recalling old times and no doubt a few discussions about the cost of things, government and the world today in general, as he maintained a healthy interest in world affairs and politics.
We were lucky to be able to celebrate his 90th birthday with him and he enjoyed every minute of his surprise party. He then enjoyed being able to join his sister Lucy and family in the celebration of her 90th birthday last year.
People will have their own special memories of Harold. Typical ones would include teaching young nephew Harry how to stand and pack a punch if needed in defence against school bullies; taking nieces and nephews on fairground rides and building sandcastles; playing pin bowling and golf on the Wii sport, his knowing when one had tried to sneak some matches from auntie Glad (you know who you are Tosh); and his niece Flo – who he proudly gave away for her wedding on behalf of his late brother Harry. His daughters will remember being taught to roller-skate, Sunday trips out and endless practical help when setting up their first home. There are of course too many treasured memories to mention of the most wonderful father two daughters could have, who they knew would always be there for them, providing support, guidance, unconditional love and loyalty.
The people across various age groups who knew and met Harold, whether it be friends, neighbours, medical teams, people in shops (especially those he saw during his weekly lunches in Hopewell’s cafe or ‘Hopeys’ as he liked to call it) considered him to be a truly lovely gentleman with a warm smile. These attributes have shone through in all the condolences the family has received.
We will leave the chapel today to the music of Harold’s favourite James Last orchestra who he enjoyed listening to in his younger days, often entertaining the family by standing in front of the stereo pretending to play the role of conductor.
For all who knew and loved Harold, we feel blessed to have had him in our lives. Harold had a long life and will leave a big hole in our lives. His tremendous courage and strength were present to the very end and he never gave up the fight. He will be missed more than words can say but we must now say our goodbyes and be comforted he is at peace and reunited with his beloved Glad.
Thank you Harold for being such a wonderful part of all our lives. We are immensely proud of you, your strength and values.
Goodbye, sleep tight and God bless Harold.