My father died suddenly thirty years ago. They had been living in Scotland for a few years, but before that had lived here in Church Stretton. As it happened we had had a happy visit to their house in Kircudbright only days before he died.
My mother then moved back to Church Stretton and lived here till she died eleven years later. Debbie’s parents moved to Church Stretton at that time and we really enjoyed seeing so much of them both until Alice died three years ago. And now, this year we have lost Sol as well. There is, of course a sense of loss, and there is work to be done, but more important, I believe, is a great sense of thankfulness. We have enjoyed the company, the discussions and the arguments. We have shared family meals and visits, walks on the hills and occasional trips to the theatre or a concert. Having our parents here, so close, has put Church Stretton on the circuit for visits for family,
so that means that we have had visits from the wider family including of course those in Yorkshire, Scotland or the antipodes. Though it is in some ways a bitter-sweet benefit, I think that Debbie and I have both felt it a real privilege to be able to stand by and support our parents in their last months.

When I was born only one of my grandparents was alive, and I only saw her two or three times. Our grandchildren know all their grandparents, and several of their great grandparents too. Both Sol and Alice took a great interest in their great-grandchildren, as indeed they had in their grandchildren, and visits from the youngsters were real high spots in their last months.

Pictures on previous page Roy West with Alistair (and Charlie) in Scotland and Sol, Alice, Jean & Roy at Matilda’s welcome party in 1978.