"A Pretty Amazing Man"
Many thanks to all my dads' family and friends for attending his service today. Most of you will know him through work or pleasure from the Homefire Plant Kerseley or Newdigate Social Club Smorrall Lane (many a social event held here)
There are a few people here today that have known my dad a lot longer than most, Alan & Isobel Cardell and family have known him for nearly 50 years, and they have been great friends throughout those long hard years.
I say HARD because there are something's that many people here today are not aware of and I would like to share some of these to show the HARD but enjoyable life he had.
Let's start at the beginning, born in 1931 into a hard working Northern mining family, one of 13 children (No television!) A HARD childhood but took everything thrown at him. Went to school until the age of 14 but left with NO qualifications and barely able to read or write ( he was no academic ) But he made his way through life without a struggle and was not hindered by his lack of schooling.
At 14 he entered the mans world of the coal mines, in those days they used pit ponies (he knew them all by name) this was HARD.
Married in 1953 (before you start counting I am 54!) still working in the mine with very little money and looking for a place to call home. My dad left the mine in the late 50s and did various other jobs like milkman (with a horse and cart!) and a hodcarrier on a building site, but still NO house to call a home!
So what did he do! We went to live in a farmer's field, in a caravan! (Ask Alan Cardell)
As mum and dad have said many times over the last 50 years "these were some of the best years" We stayed in this caravan on 2 different sites for the next 6/7 years, there are many stories to be told from these years but it would take hours maybe worth writing a book! One thing I will say is that if anyone had seen the size of this caravan you could not understand how 7 people lived in it! Here again the word HARD springs to mind, that's not just dad but the whole family.
Eventually we did get a house (made of bricks) and as a family thought we had hit the big time (well at least I did) it was about 10 miles from the old caravan but a world away in life style. But that word again HARD - out of work, no money, and just the day to day struggle made life difficult. But he kept his chin up, dug deep and got on with life.
In 1965 he left his wife and family of 5 children and travelled to Bedworth!!!!!!
(This was the end of the world for a Geordie miner!) With an offer from the then N.C.B. to work at the Homefire Plant Kerseley. He lodged in Kerseley for the next 12 months making life long friendships with the likes of Pete Connelly and but once again I hear that word HARD no family made it a very trying time.
But suddenly the door opened and the dark clouds started to pass over! It was 1966 England had just won the world cup and the Richardson family were on the move. We crossed the Tyne rail bridge heading south out of the industrial North East towards Warwickshire. A journey into the great unknown, but an adventure for us 5 kids but again it was HARD moving house and family 250 miles " BUT HE DID IT "
Not to long after coming to Warwickshire the family was complete David was born.
The job at the Homefire Plant was going well, kids had found new friends and settled in school and everything seemed to fall into place. I think by now the rest of dads family up North were thinking their brother had become a bit of a snob! But that was far from the truth; he travelled back as often as possible and never forgot his Northern roots. He had moved on, left the North East and was making a better life for his family and himself but in my eyes this was HARD and took guts and internal strength (That's our Dad!)
The last 43 years have thrown up many challenges, not least a miners strike and early retirement but all he took in his stride and got on with what he had to do "Work Hard" and enjoy life to the full.
We will ALL miss you Dad!!!!!
But we will NEVER FORGET the man we call "OUR DAD"