My family is the most important thing in my life - alongside the faith many of us share. I'm blessed to have a crowd of likeable and loving people in my closest circle. I can be certain they will always be there for me.
While we were at Aldwick, our son, our daughters and their husbands, 3 of our 5 grandchildren and my wife's Mum all lived within a mile-and-a-half of us. My brother lives in Wiltshire and Joy's sister is even further away, happily settled near her husband's family roots.
During our last few months in West Sussex we gained our first great-grandchild, Thomas, born to our granddaughter Holly who, with her husband, now lives in Wiltshire.
[ UPDATE ... Very sadly I have to record that Joy's dear Mum, always known as 'Jean', passed away in November 2012 and will, of course be greatly missed by all of us. For her, with failing memory and eyesight, poor hearing and very limited mobility, it was the answer to her prayers at the end of an otherwise happy and very active life. Jean could not understand why, over a relatively short time, everything had become so difficult. She no longer enjoyed eating, watching TV or being in the company of other people ... she could no longer read or embroider. She could no longer see well enough to want a car ride in the country or along the coast ... and she felt, and often said, that life no longer held anything for her. In this sense only, we have been able to draw some comfort from such a loss.
Glowing obituaries were published in the local newspapers in Bognor / Chichester and Stourbridge / West Midlands, noting Jean's 2 main careers ... at Station X, Bletchley Park during the War ... and as a Dr Barnardo's Homes Houseparent and Superintendent. ]
Our youngest 2 granddaughters, Bethany and Florence, seemed at time of writing this to have settled quickly into their peer groups at School and Toddler group respectively.
Our son (Owen) and son-in-law (Mike Ash) built an enviable reputation with a family-run firm ... MILLER & ASH ... ably supported by Samantha (our eldest) doing everything a busy back-office must do ... except make the tea!
The company ceased trading in 2014 - but requests for them to do work are stiull being received.