A Load of Old Codswallop – RIP Sidney Harold Richardson
“A Load of Old Codswallop” – you can just see him, now, tutting with a wry grin and a twinkle in his eye as he says it.
Friends and family of Sidney Harold Richardson, we join together to remember: a husband, a father, grandfather, uncle and best friend … I hope in this speech to do him the very big favour of not overdoing the soppy sentimental stuff. We do know however, that, secretively he’d be as pleased as punch that there are so many here that care. The friends of Sid, are very much part of the family to him.
For those of you who don’t know me, I am Laura, his eldest daughter, saddled from an early age of being the spitting image of her dad! That’s not exactly a compliment when you are a teenage girl!!! No offence Dad but … Really!
So what maketh this man we so adored.
Well, he was committed to his loves (I’m thinking Liquorice Allsorts here!). Most sweets actually but whenever I see Liquorice Allsorts. I think of him.
He was generous to a fault with his time and patience and trust. Three very special traits.
He had the gift of the gab! He loved to spin a yarn or share a shaggy dog story. In fact, hands up, how many of us have been woven into one of his tales only to find the details have changed somewhat? Who’s telling this story anyway???
Charlotte was his first love. She was a huge dapple grey Shire Horse that became his best friend. Shortly after HIS dad died, Sid was sent to live with his extended family on a farm in Somerset. In the first few weeks he found he couldn’t sleep in his new bed and would be found in the morning with his arms wrapped around the neck of Charlotte. With Charlotte he learnt the importance of time, patience and trust.
There have been other loves in his life …
His Family Tree quest
The 7-Gauge Train Set
The Stanley Gibbons Stamp Guide
The Round England Coach Trips
James Last and his big band
Morcambe and Wise
The holey socks that Tariq gave him for Christmas once!
Pat, my lovely mother, and Dad’s better half for over 60 years will have many more delightful memories. She spent 7 years dating Sid on the back of a motorbike till he told her one birthday …. she could go and get that ring she’d always wanted. She cried. “A load of old codswallop” he said.
What I learnt from Dad was that life isn’t always as short as you expect it to be. He outlived the second world war where he served in the Middle East. He had his fortune told in his mid twenties, and he’d been planning his death as suggest by Gypsy Lea for his 55th birthday. There have been some many operations and accidents over the years and yet, we had the pleasure of his company for an extra forty-four years than he thought.
Tis my belief that when Alec, his long awaited Grandson came along (Dad was a mere 84), he found an extra lease of life and some more of that precious love to give.
That time, patience and trust thing came into play when he retired and took up volunteering in Woking community. On one particular occasion, he managed to get a wheelchair bound guy to get up and walk! A miracle I hear you cry? Well, ask me later? Just who’s telling this story anyway?
Of course, he isn’t a saint. On the odd occasion, enough was enough, and if you crossed the line of trust – you knew it! We probably all can recall a moment in our lives when we taken his good nature that one step too far … a night in the car for my sister, Debbie. I’ll let her regale that story!
In 2007, he was awarded Surrey Volunteer of the year, an accolade for the work he was doing with the Surrey War History records. He would have continued but technology got the better of him and it was time to hand in his nib.
Material wealth never meant much to Sid. His mantra was to “spend a little, save a little”. Whilst he was never frivolous – we were always comfortable and when he could splash out for a family gathering he would. A family gathering meant time for a tall tale or two. As we all know, he had the gift of the gab and loved to talk.
He welcomed many into that family of friends. Debbie and I both chuckle at the phrase – nice boy but he doesn’t say very much – does he? It’s because they could never get a word in edgeways; Dad!
Each of you will have your own special memories which I hope you will share over a cup of tea and a rock cake later. This gentle man, our best friend will live on in our hearts forever, while he … without an ounce of codswallop here, is now pushing up daisies ….
Special Occasion Speeches #2 (Written 16th Oct 2016 updated 24th May 2020)