TRIBUTE TO STEPHEN MALLINSON SNR
Tuesday April 1st, 2014
This is the tribute for Stephen MAllinson Snr, that was written and read by his eldest Grandchild Kimberley Fisher(Beswick)
Good Afternoon – for those of you who are unsure, my name is Kimberley, I am Steves eldest granddaughter and I will be speaking on behalf of my family today.
I am going to also take this opportunity to thank the wonderful staff at Gorsey Clough, who made both my Grampa and my family more than welcome over the last 18 months. Grampa was so happy at Gorsey Clough and you gave us the gift of peace of mind that he was well looked after and treated with the utmost respect. He clearly held you in great regard, so thank you.
I have spent the last few days debating what I should and shouldn’t say; what moments of Grampas extremely full life to include and which to leave out; and found that I wanted to tell you everything which meant you would have been here all week. You all have your own memories, they are yours to keep and treasure and I look forward to hearing them all later on. Instead, I have chosen to tell you about Grampas’ greatest loves. He loved fiercely, generously, with devotion and above all else, unconditionally without ever asking for anything in return. His capacity to love was unlimited, we are all better people for having him in our lives and I am sure this would be how he would like to be remembered. As someone who loved life and someone who simply lived to love.
Grampa told us that he fell in love with Gramby the moment he laid eyes on her in his sisters hairdressers – he then made it his mission to woo her. She didn’t give in too easily but she eventually fell for the charms of the snappily dressed entrepreneur that was my Grampa in the 1950’s. He then devoted his time to making her happy. He would have walked to the ends of the earth for her and would have given her the moon if she had asked for it –She never asked, it wasn’t in her nature – and so he spent a lifetime guessing at what made her happy – and as with most men, he invariably got it wrong.
He would concoct the strangest plans to try and surprise her and give her reason to smile. A prime example would be that Gramby was particularly proud of her rather expensive collection of Royal Doulton Crockery. Seizing an opportunity to demonstrate that he did indeed listen to her on occasion, he set about collecting coupons form the newspaper with the promise of a full dinner set once you had collected 25 of them. So intent was he on getting this dinner set, that he bought 2 newspapers every day for a month so that he could collect 2 complete sets. Despite having to rummage through the neighbours paper bins in the dead of night for missing coupons, he eventually completed his mission and sent off for the plates. After a seemingly endless wait they eventually arrived and he presented her with 2 beautiful pale blue, gilt edged dinner sets. The problem was that they were “Doulton” as opposed to the “Royal Doulton” variety. All the effort – and he still managed to get it wrong – She ribbed him for a short while and rolled her eyes but inwardly, I am sure she was touched by the gesture. Steve was totally devoted to his wife, wherever she was, he wasn’t far behind, she was his right arm and he felt lost without her, even if she was only gone for a few hours. Whilst Alzheimers and dementia prevented him from communicating the way he felt about her in recent months, it also protected him from having to deal with the overwhelming grief of losing her last year. Whilst this has been difficult for our family – to him, the loss would have been unbearable, and so for that one small mercy we are thankful.
Family was his greatest love of all.
He was the youngest of 3 children and doted on by his parents and sisters. Strong family values were instilled into them from an early age, they were taught to treat everyone equally and with the same level of respect that one would expect in return. Grampa said that his “Mam” was like an angel, who was loved by family and neighbours alike. He spoke fondly of a Dad who worked hard and but always found time to spend with his family. He enjoyed a close relationship with both his sisters, he looked up to them, he loved them and they were a huge influence on his life. This upbringing certainly shaped the way he chose to raise his own family.
Both my Mum and Uncle Mally spoke of having a wonderful childhood and have said they couldn’t have wished for better parents. They had their Dads 100% support in all their choices. He got up early and mucked out their horses, attended early morning gymkhanas, shouted from the side-lines at football and rugby matches and took them on many memorable family holidays. He kept their secrets, and was proud of all of their achievements. He provided a feeling of stability, safety and love which is all that a child should ever wish for.
He saw the best in every one of us, he always looked on the brighter side of life and wore rose tinted glasses quite frequently. To him, a fight in a playground meant you were going to become a boxing champion, a win at sports day and you were destined to be an Olympian, a good exam result and in his eyes you were a genius. His warmth and generosity reached out to his extended family. Both he and my Gramby became the “go to “ people for advice, shoulders to cry on in times of crisis and they could be relied on to try and fix any problems. Due to his successes in business, the family were able to afford to buy property in Spain, and Grampa was not content unless the apartments were fit to bursting with family members from all sides. He took great joy from being able to share what he had with others.
Steve had 4 grandchildren and 5 great – grandchildren, sadly he was not here to witness the arrival of our youngest member Libby at the weekend but I am certain that his face would have lit up at the news- we told him that Daniel & Gemma were expecting a little girl and his delight was clear to see. He doted on all the children in the family, he taught us how to ride a bike, drummed our times tables into us on car journeys to school and sang us to sleep with his own unique repertoire of songs. He built the best igloos, and was fearless on the jumping jacks at St Annes. When Chloe came along, none of us got a look in!!
Steve viewed his friends as an extension of his family. Whilst being evacuated to Whalley camp during the war, he made many lifelong friends, whose experiences bound them together closer than anyone could imagine. This band of brothers were a joy to listen to when they were all together, reminiscing about the good old days, it was clear that the bond they had forged was indestructible.
Grampa loved to watch and participate sports of any kind, tennis, athletics, rugby, boxing, he was even partial to watching a bit of WWF wrestling when my brothers and I were younger. He always kept active, playing squash, jogging and training on his ancient rowing machine. He also loved to watch football and in Grampas eyes there was only one team worthy of his support.
Being a Salfordian, Grampa should have been an avid Manchester United Fan, however, always being one to champion the underdog, he chose to support the mighty City. With the majority of his family and friends supporting the Reds, he seized every opportunity that he could to wind them up, all in good fun. The pleasure that he got from seeing United lose was enough to put a smile on his face for days. If he had been aware of how this season had played out so far he would have been simply beaming!
Alongisde Gramby, he loved to throw a party – I am sure the majority of you will have attended one at one time or another – these were usually a lavish affair, and judging from the hundreds of photographs documenting these events, it seemed that fancy dress, and in particular, cross dressing were a popular theme. Grampa seems to be wearing fishnets, and Jimmy Mac is sporting a wig on nearly all of them. He could always be found, surrounded by family, laughing and cracking jokes, usually at some United fans expense.
Grampas other greatest love – or perhaps one could call it an addiction - was chocolate – not just any old chocolate, but Cadburys Dairy Milk. A mere glimpse of the shiny purple wrapper was enough to keep him happy. He spent so much money feeding his chocolate habit that Gramby attempted to ration him. He was undeterred, and instead took to smuggling it wherever he could. Kilogram bars could be found in the glove box of the car, hidden in the wardrobe, tucked up his jumper or put under the mattress. Wherever he was, chocolate wasn’t far away. As far as Gramps was concerned, chocolate could just about make everything better. Before my boys had been weaned onto solids I was informed that he had let them have a little taste of a Cadburys choccy drop – apparently they needed it, it would keep them happy.
After Grampa had been “evicted” from the first 2 nursing homes for his – how would I describe it - challenging behaviour, he eventually settled at Gorsey Clough – I remember being there whilst David the nurse welcomed him and he gently asked me what would make him feel most at home. I replied with “Cadburys chocolate”. From there on in, the staff made sure that the shiny purple stuff was always on hand for every situation and guess what - Grampa settled in just perfectly!!
And there you have it – Grampas greatest loves……he had no regrets, – he worked hard, he found something good in every day and he was fiercely loyal to those close to him. Alzheimers created barriers which were sometimes hard to overcome, but despite that, his character and spirit were still clear to see. Quite simply he loved life – he would want us to do the same, to stop and take in all the amazing moments that are happening each and every day, to see the world as he did, and to make time for love.
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