“Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal”– Unknown
Seventy-Four years ago, a baby was born to proud parents in the south of the UK. He was a remarkable child, one full of love, mischief and above all, an insatiable appetite for learning new things. It didn’t matter what those things were; he just wanted to know about them.
His parents encouraged this curiosity by setting him little tasks – games of trivia and memorisation exercises with fun prizes at the end – as well as devising competitions between him and his siblings that greatly aided their capacity to learn.
As he progressed through life, he remembered these lessons, and he also remembered one key aspect of them: They’d all been fun. Fun had been the key to everything and had been what had encouraged him to work so hard throughout his life.
After graduating, he took that philosophy and ran with it. Working with the round table, he taught physics in Africa and brought his newborn child and wife with him. They went on all sorts of adventures – honestly, there’s too many to count, but some highlights included bed races, crocodile-infested rivers and snakes wandering through the classroom – and made lifelong friends along the way.
Upon his return to his home country, he chose to settle in a quiet northern town and went about creating a happy and fulfilling life for his growing family. He worked in various schools but settled in one eventually. There, he passed on the idea that learning was fun and that life was as interesting as you made it to his students, helping so many of them to go on to greatness and changing the course of their lives forever.
During his time at that high school, he proudly taught physics to both of his daughters and entertained all of their friends with tales of his adventures (as well as live readings of Winnie-the-Pooh and other children’s books that kept them enthralled for hours. Seriously, you’ve not seen anything until you’ve witnessed a living room full of teenagers all sitting cross-legged on the floor staring at a man voicing Piglet and Eeyore), and, eventually, he became the head of his department.
In his free time, he loved nothing more than watching sport – any sport – playing bridge and eventually took up golf. These hobbies carried him through into his retirement and gained him a great many new friends. Wherever he went, communities formed around him, and he was the life and soul of any social gathering.
Upon the birth of his grandchild, he proudly carried her picture with him and showed her all the sights, smells and sounds of the Yorkshire Dales. He was her Gangy, and she was his world.
Even when he was diagnosed with brain cancer, he didn’t let that stop him. He went about his life, making new friends, showing his granddaughter the sights and introducing her to the world he loved so much.
The man who had changed so many lives had left his mark on one more and set her on the same journey that my sister and I had taken so many years before.
That man was my father, and he was, and forever will be, my hero.
He passed away on the 20th of July 2022 at 4 pm with his family around him and a legacy that will live on until the stars go out. His smile was warm, his heart was ever-loving, and his curiosity and lifelong love of learning will never end.
I would like to ask you all to raise a glass of whatever you love to drink (alcoholic or not) in the name of Mick, son, brother, friend, father, grandfather, uncle, cousin and teacher, whose legacy shall live on throughout the world.
I was five years old when he told me that we were all made of stars. He explained how the universe was formed and that every little bit of us is as magical as the twinkling lights in the sky. I’m thirty-seven now and look up at them with equal amazement and awe.
We are all made of stars, but some will always shine brighter than others, and, Daddy, wherever you are now, yours is a light that will last forever. You burn on in others and will light the path for all those seeking to walk it.
I love you so much. Sleep well. You earned your rest.