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11th Dec 2020

Terry Woolston R.I.P.

Terry Woolston had his 83rd birthday on 29th October. I spoke to him shortly after and we had a lovely chat, he was happy. Sadly however, shortly thereafter following a short illness Terry passed away in Queens hospital from pneumonia on Sunday 22nd of November.. His family were allowed to visit him in hospital and were at his bedside at the end, which was very peaceful.

Terry was a life-member of St Chads, he had been a member for over 50 years, consider that when you think that the club has been going for 64 years. He had held many offices in the club including Minutes Secretary, Captain, Secretary, bar manager and President. After his wifr Jenny died, he spent his last few years in Parkview Care Home where he was quite at home but he was thrilled when he managed to visit St Chads with Helen last year. He was super interested in St Chads club right to the end, he had been telling his daughter Helen only a few weeks ago that he wanted to visit again. It was such an important part of his life that the family arranged for his bowls hat to be on the top of his coffin at the funeral service and for him to be dressed in his St Chads tie and blazer.

Terry's funeral was held at Forest Park Crematorium, Hainault, Thursday 10th December at 2.15pm. It is a tradition at St Chads that we make an honour guard for the late member as they go into the chapel and even with the pandemic still around, we upheld that tradition. Terry's surviving siblings couldn't make it the the service so there was sufficient space for the club members present to attend the service. The two tributes read out revealed what an interesting and full life Terry had experienced. It was quite unbelievable and you can read the tributes below.

The family are doing a collection on behalf of the Alzheimer’s society, if you would like to make a donation then follow this link https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/in-memory-of-terry-woolston

The first tribute below was read out by minister Christine Harding.

TRIBUTE; Terry Woolston

We have gathered together to celebrate Terry’s life and to share a few memories of who Terry was and what he meant to each of you. Having spent time speaking with Helen I want to spend a few moments reminding you about the type of person Terry was and what he accomplished in his life.

Terry was born 29th October1937 in Caister on sea Norfolk attending the local schools and was an altar boy in the local church. When Terry left school he joined the Royal Signals from 1955-1958 often being posted abroad to West Germany, Denmark and Norway. Terry then left the Royal signals to join the Gurkha signals from 1958-1961 where once again he was posted abroad this time to Hong Kong, Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, India and Nepal. Terry was used to travelling whether abroad or to his barracks but on one particular train trip on his way back to Catterick he was to meet a young woman named Jenny who he would eventually marry. It was obvious from the start that Terry liked this young lady and they chatted all the way until they reached their relevant destinations but Terry not being one to give up or miss an opportunity removed her luggage label so that he had her address and could write.

Their courtship was via mail at first and the odd occasions that they could visit but love blossomed and Terry asked Jenny for her hand in marriage to which she said yes Terry left the army in 1961 and Joined the foreign and commonwealth office and his first posting was in Ceylon where he spent five years coming back home to marry his sweetheart on the 14th September 1963 in Hetton-le-Hole and honeymooned in the lake district..

Once married they returned to Ceylon and began to settle into married life It was not long before the patter of tiny feet was to be heard and Helen was born in 1965 followed by Caroline in 1966 which was to keep Jenny busy over the next few years. The family returned home to the UK in1967 and lived in Eric Road Chadwell Heath. Terry received new postings to Luxembourg, Dublin, Salisbury, Rhodesia, Mexico City and Montevideo in Uruguay. Then in 1972 the family moved to the British Embassy in Washington DC for three years until 1975 when they returned home back to Eric Road and then in 1986 just Terry and Jenny returned to the British Embassy in Washington DC until 1989 when they returned home to Chadwell Heath.

Terry continued working for the government until 1994 until he took early retirement, which allowed Terry and Jenny an opportunity to embark on many happy years of travelling for leisure, they loved cruising all over the world and taking coach trips in the Uk. Terry was also a member of the St Chad’s bowls club for over 50years having roles such as minutes secretary, captain, secretary and president as well as playing many matches and being involved in the social life of the club. Terry. Was also am member of the Cedars club for many years holding various roles as Treasurer and Secretary.

Times were good but sadly Terry’s wife Jenny passed away on 25th May 2017. Terry and Jenny had been married for 53years, which I am sure; that you would agree was a tremendous achievement in the society in which we live today and one that they could be justifiably proud of. Terry also had several health issues at this point and moved to Parkview Care Home in Dagenham where he happily lived for the last years of his life.

In addition to being a loving husband to Jenny Terry was father to Helen and Caroline, grandmother to Isabella, brother friend, and neighbour. All of you this afternoon will have known Terry in some way or another. And you will each have your own special memories of Terry who will be greatly missed by everyone who knew him but never forgotten because Terry was a special person and the memories of Terry will live on in your hearts. Thank you Lord for Terry and for the memories we treasure of him today.

And below is the moving tribute given by Terry's daughter Helen.

Terry Woolston

This is a tribute from me and Caroline, for our dad, Terry Woolston. While he was known to most as Terry, to some as Tel, to his mum, when he was naughty, as Terence, to Caroline and I as dad. His granddaughter Isabella, when she was first learning to speak, couldn’t quite pronounce Grandad and called him GamGam. That name stuck for years and I think it’s the name he enjoyed the most.

Dad was born in Norfolk, in Caister-on-Sea. He was super proud of being from Norfolk and even more proud of being a Caister Man. He was a lifelong supporter of Norwich City and would shout – up the Canaries! He was very fond of his parents and sister Tricia and brother Peter and always talked about them and their life together, with Trixie the Boxer Dog.

Dad was a Scorpio and mum said he was the most perfect embodiment of the Scorpio male! He was known from early on as ‘the blue eyed boy’ because of his bright blue eyes and dark hair. He was born a couple of years before World War 2 and remembers having to carry a gas mask in a box around his neck. He also remembered his dad coming back from navy internment in Algeria.

When Caroline and I were little, we used to spend holidays with Dad’s parents in Caister. We remember our nana used to love telling us stories of dad when he was little, how he had been a bit of a scamp, even when he was an angelic altar boy. We used to love it and squeal ‘tell us another story about when Daddy was naughty!’

Dad would be the first to say he was not an academic and left school to join the army at 17. He travelled around the world for the next six years and told us he became fluent in German. He was proud to have been a member of the Gurkha signals, loved speaking Gurkha commands and was the owner of a very scary Gurkha ‘kukhri’ knife. It was during this time that he did parachute jumps, something he told people about ever since!

He met mum on a train going up north when he 23 and returning to Catterick and she was going back to Durham from a holiday. She says she let herself get chatted up by a soldier. He stole her luggage label to start writing to her. We still have the first letter he wrote and he seemed extremely taken with her! They started to write to eachother, because not every house had phones then and then to visit eachother. They got married and mum joined dad in Ceylon. He was a very loyal and loving husband to her from then on.

Dad left the Army and started a lifelong career working for the government, in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Cabinet Office. He worked really hard for his young family, doing three shift rotation, including nights and sometimes being sent on overseas postings. On one, in Rhodesia, he broke his foot whilst by jumping into a swimming pool on Christmas Day – a strange choice for man who never learned to swim! And whilst on duty in Mexico there was an earthquake. Margaret Thatcher invited him to a Downing Street reception to thank him for standing by his post. Mum was not happy that he couldn’t take a guest! Dad was always telling his granddaughter Isabella that she should consider a career in the Diplomatic Service, because it had been great for him. He couldn’t pronounce ‘secretary’ and called it ‘sec – a – terrie’ and said she should apply to be a second secatary as then she could be an ambassador. Mum and dad had two three-year postings to the USA, living near Washington DC, which they really loved.

When he was in Chadwell Heath, Dad found a special place and friends in both in the bowls club and the Cedars Club. He played bowls for five decades, as well as taking on lots of roles to help run the place. In the summers he was ‘over at the green’ for all the hours of daylight. He was sad when he went to the USA and they didn’t have bowls so had a go at golf, but once he was home he was back bowling as soon as he could be. We took him to the bowls club for a visit last year and he was so thrilled to be back again. The bowlers all gave him a wonderful welcome, that moved him to tears. He would have been thrilled with today’s tribute, thank you very much.

Dad was hugely sociable, charming and chatty – a real gentleman. He adored small children and would talk to any of them that he came across on the high street or in cafes. When mum died and he had health issues, we chose Parkview Care Home because it had so many activities going on. Caroline and I are very grateful to all the dedicated staff at Parkview for how well they looked after him. We feel that they gave us three bonus years with him that we wouldn’t have got otherwise. We went over most weekends and dad enjoyed it when we all went to the Rosie Lee café around the corner for the full English breakfast. He loved black pudding and had a full English number 2. At Parkview dad was known for offering to help the carers and took on ‘extra duties’ like feeding the fish and helping other residents put on their shoes. He loved seeing the ladies downstairs and had a famous catchphrase – ‘if you can’t be good, be careful’. He loved it when singers or school choirs came to sing at the Home. He was so proud when they made him the Resident Ambassador and on his recent 83rd birthday he said he had been invited to a special meeting ‘about his age’. He was thrilled when he went in and they surprised him with a huge bouquet of flowers.

Both dad and mum were very keen for a grandchild and absolutely thrilled when Isabella arrived. He rang Caroline and said ‘I’m going to be a grandad!’ They loved to help out and spent lots of time with her. He was really proud to give her his old typewriter when she was older. He asked her every time he saw her, for a whole year before she got her A level results, if she had got into Cambridge yet. He was the proudest person on the planet when we were able to tell him this summer that his granddaughter was indeed going to Cambridge University.

Dad really loved jazz. Even in his very first letter to mum he asked her ‘do you like trad jazz’? Well he did, and he had loads of it, he played it a lot. He was thrilled when him and mum could travel to New Orleans and hear it live in Preservation Hall. In America he also grew to love bluegrass, the forerunner of jazz. At Parkview he held jazz playing sessions on his CD player for the other residents. He told me many times that he wanted a jazz funeral, with the New Orleans type band playing him soulfully in and joyfully out and that is what we have aimed for today. The music for his Committal is a a bluegrass tune, we thought the words were pretty special:

Some glad morning when this life is over,

I'll fly away;

To THAT home on God's celestial shore,

I'll fly away.

I'll fly away, Oh Glory

I'll fly away; (in the morning)

When I die, Hallelujah, by and by,

I'll fly away.

When the shadows of this life have gone,

I'll fly away;

Like a bird from these prison walls I'll fly,

I'll fly away.

Just a few more weary days and then,

I'll fly away;

To a land where joy shall never end,

I'll fly away

I'll fly away, Oh Glory

I'll fly away; (in the morning)

When I die, Hallelujah, by and by,

I'll fly away (I'll fly away).

Rest in Peace Terry.

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