Inevitably it is impossible to condense any life, full or cut-short, into a few succinct words. It is a job made even harder when trying to do justice to a man whose life was so full, whose heart was so large and whose presence touched so many people. My Grandad's life was, more often than not, self-told through colourful and vivid stories of his wartime voyages and Fleet Street adventures. A fantastic story teller and orator, his ability to capture an audience's imagination with the simplest yet most fascinating stories is my unerring memory - and an undoubted point of personal jealousy! When someone is so at ease with themselves, people are often comforted and supported simply by their presence; Grandad was no exception. With such mammoth hands attached to his somewhat ape-like limbs and a deep, luxurious laugh, his presence brought an air of security and comfort to those around him. Even in his last days, to clasp our plainly normal-sized hands into one of his ‘spades' allowed the family around him to feel protected at a time of such great loss.
For me, a person's life should be judged by the impact they make upon the people they leave behind. With that in mind, the touching tributes and memories recounted to me by those who spent as little as passing moments with him can leave me with only one conclusion:
Grandad John was a great man, who touched a great number of people, and who will be greatly missed.