In loving memory of Andrew Arthur Stewart who sadly passed away on 31st January 2021, aged 93 years.
Andrew was born on 7th November 1927, the second child of Eugene and Amy Stewart. The nickname 'Sam', given to him by his father, stayed with him all his life, and was the source of his younger grandson's name. He grew up in Aveley, where he attended the Aveley Junior School, which is probably where he met Joan, who eventually became his wife.
When Andrew left School, he became a Merchant Navy Engineering apprentice, going on to qualify, and then sail with what is now P&O. He mostly served on the Australia and New Zealand chilled cargo run, sailing through both the Suez and Panama Canals in his time. He had fond memories of a bar in Sydney, that his uncle Ernie had frequented, during his days on a cable-laying ship, some years previously, where they gave Andrew a free beer on learning of Ernie's recommendation. Sadly, when Valerie visited Circular Quay in 2019, the bar was long gone.
Time passed, and Joan and Andrew were married in Aveley Parish Church, with Andrew travelling through the night, to make sure that he made the most important date of his young life, after his ship docked late in Liverpool. Andrew continued at sea for a few more years, then found employment with CAV, starting in October 1957, working on fuel injection for all sorts engines.
Their first child, Valerie, was born just over a year later, on her father's 31st birthday.
The family moved from Essex to Feltham in Middlesex, where Nicola was born in February 1962. During their years in Feltham. Andrew learned to drive, becoming the proud owner of a mini traveller. The family made many trips both short and long together, sometimes punctuated by urgent stops, when Nicola was travel sick. On at least one occasion, an unimpressed Joan donated a stocking to replace a broken fan belt. When they also acquired a small camping gas stove, roadside stops for a hot drink became a high point of days out.
During their time in Feltham, the family endured the winter of 1963, when the freeze started at Xmas, and continued to Easter. Unfortunately snow blew into the roof space of the house, so Andrew climbed up into the loft and piled the snow into buckets, which he lowered down to Joan who put then in the bath to melt. To Valerie's great amusement, and Joan's consternation, he slipped, and put his foot through the ceiling of one of the bedrooms. Fortunately he was unhurt, apart from losing a bit of skin, snow clearing operations continued, and no other ceilings were damaged.
In 1966, Andrew's work, still with CAV, moved to Fazakerley, near Liverpool, and the family returned to live with Joan's parents in Essex, whilst their new house in Aughton was built - these things happened slowly in the 1960s. New house, new baby, the family was completed with the birth of Alastair in January 1967.
The years in Lancashire were good ones for the family. Though Andrew did all the things that typical men of his generation did: supporting his family financially, gardening, car maintenance, DIY (he once made a table for his daughters to do their homework on, that could have taken the weight of a baby elephant, and a kite so solid that it would only have flown in a hurricane), he also cooked, taking responsibility for the family Xmas lunch for many years. As the family grew, they were also joined by a dog, so they acquired larger cars, and continued to make both holiday and day trips together. North Wales, the Southern Lake District and the Forest of Bowland were all popular destinations. Holiday trips included Blue Anchor Bay in Somerset, Weymouth, and the year that Joan learned to drive, a trip to Scotland, with Joan doing most of the driving in a car donated by her father. Evening walks by a canal near Scarisbrick were also popular, on one occasion Andrew had to rescue the dog, who had fallen in, whilst Joan held the children back from helping, or more likely joining the dog! Despite a full work and family life, Andrew still found some time for hobbies, taking a course in celestial navigation, and occasionally crewing on a friend's boat.
Sadly, the family's time in Lancashire came to an end, when the factory in Lancashire was found to be uneconomic and closed. Andrew worked in Spain temporarily, and eventually transferred to the Company's Finchley plant. This time, Joan and Andrew decided that rather than live close to the plant, they would return to Aveley where Joan's widowed father and Andrew's parents, all now very elderly, lived. This meant a much longer commute for Andrew, which he did in a variety of ways over the next few years: bus, train and tube; car; and much to Joan's consternation - motorcycle! Despite several minor 'adventures', he only really injured himself once, when he broke a wrist. One summer, Andrew decided that it was time that he and Alastair did something together, and they went off for a weekend of backpacking. Despite some issues caused by the equipment, it must have been fairly successful, as Alastair went on to take a great interest in fell-walking and rock climbing. He also tried fishing but only succeeded in catching a cold! He was less successful trying to get Alastair interested in canoeing, building a canoe, nicknamed 'HMS Colander', by the kids, that never actually saw the water.
Whilst they lived in Essex the children all grew up, and Nicola flew the nest to start a new life with Glyn, now her husband of more than 30 years.
Then came the family's final move, from Essex to Kent, where Andrew completed his career, still working for the same group of Companies in Gillingham. During his years working in fuel injection, he worked on many projects including the QE2, the Chieftain Tank, Rolls Royce vehicles, Sulzer diesels, and finally the first of the modern cleaner diesels for lorries.
Once they had moved to Kent, and with the children grown, Joan and Andrew decided to make good use of their freedom, and changed from a frame tent in a trailer to a caravan with which they travelled all over the UK, occasionally joined by Valerie, who shared the towing on longer journeys. On several occasions the threesome towed the van down to Lake Garda.
Nicola and Glyn had two boys: Jack and Sam. When Sam was born Andrew and Joan were on holiday, and Valerie phoned a message through to the campsite, as it was before the days of universal mobile phones - apparently it was the first time that the managers had been asked to pass that sort of message.
Now retired, Andrew joined Mid Kent Astronomical Society, attending meetings regularly, taking great pleasure in the company of his fellow enthusiasts, and his star-gazing. He also took a course at the University of Lancaster to increase his knowledge of the subject. Despite being unable to attend meetings in later years, he continued to be interested in astronomy to the end of his life.
Sadly all good things must come to an end, and as Joan's health began to fail, Andrew was her constant companion and loving carer, with Valerie taking over much of the running of their home for them. Joan and Andrew's long marriage came to an end, when Joan died on 13th April 2010.
Increasing disability curtailed Andrew's activities over the ensuing years, but he still pursued his interests as best he could. Sadly, deafness robbed him of music, but there were still railways, ships, stars and snoozing over the Daily Telegraph.
He and Valerie made a long day trip on a train that was steam-hauled by a famous engine 'The Union of South Africa', which left them both feeling like film stars, as enthusiasts turned out from one end of the journey to the other to photograph the engine, and the beautifully restored Pullman cars in which the passengers travelled. Unfortunately, a subsequent steam trip was cancelled at the last minute, so in order not to waste the London hotel rooms booked for the preceding night, the two spent the day at the Science Museum instead. Andrew and Valerie made several visits to The National Railway Museum in York, and on one occasion, Andrew was delighted to see a Sulzer diesel engine that he had worked on displayed, and had a long chat with one of the curators about it.
Andrew had the pleasure of seeing his two grandsons turn from mischievous tots, to clever schoolboys, and then mature and responsible young men. He and Sam had a shared passion for history, and he took pride in Jack's German studies, which culminated in Jack relocating to that country. Seeing Nicola and her family was always a source of great joy.
At the end of 2018, Andrew's eldest child (Valerie) retired, so they were now a household with two generations who were pensioners. They had big plans for working on the family home, which was in need of some improvements. The works stopped after phase one, as the spread of Covid 19, made having contractors in a house with such an elderly resident inadvisable. Instead they missed phase two, and moved directly to phase three, which was the garden, and Andrew had the pleasure of seeing the greenhouse, that had been his retirement present 3o years previously brought back into use. He was also planning to grow sweet peas, a great favourite, in 2021.
Unfortunately, despite huge efforts by Alastair and Valerie to keep him safe, Andrew contracted Covid 19 and died peacefully in Medway Maritime Hospital on 31st January 2021. The family would like to thank the staff of the hospital
for their kindness to all and their care for Andrew, when they couldn't be with him, and in particular the staff of Harvey Ward where he died.