EDitorial ± 28-Jan-2015

Donald John Freston Broom RIP

40 years ago, I watched my Dad climbing up the golden stair to glory. This was at the old Salvation Army Citadel on Tacket Street - don't look for it now - and I'd sometimes go there with Dad on a Saturday. There seemed to be an endless supply of odd jobs requiring his attention.

When I say "climbing up the golden stair", he was, more accurately, scaling a huge ladder which started up in the gallery and disappeared into the attic. It was so high that it was like a scene from that David Niven film, A Matter Of Life And Death. I was at an impressionable age and I was impressed. He was fearless, my Dad.

25 years ago, thanks to Mum and Dad's help with the deposit, Gail and I bought a flat in Ipswich. I asked my Dad if he wouldn't mind knocking up a shelf or two, somewhere for books, videos, LPs. He took a bunch of measurements and came back a couple of weeks later in the family Yugo. Into the flat he carried piece after piece of wood, each one carefully labelled.

He drilled, he screwed, and eventually the bottom shelf was done. What did he do next? Well, he sat on the shelf and bounced up and down, first in the middle, then to the left and right. Later, once the upper shelf was in place, he hung on to it with his fingers and lifted himself up off the floor. He was a craftsman, my Dad.

1 month ago, visiting my Dad in Heath Road, I told him that I'd spent a good few hours putting up a shelf for Rose, my daughter. He laughed and nearly choked on his hospital mash. He was funny, my Dad, and I'll miss him.