Thanks Mr Harrison, I won’t forget you

When you are growing up you come across people who leave a lasting impression on you. They help to shape who you are and how you think.

Roy Harrison, who died this week at the age of 84, was just such a man in my life.

Mr Harrison, as I always refer to him, was a colossal figure locally who leaves a proud legacy.

I can’t tell you about Roy the family man, Roy the scientist or Roy the man who was instrumental in raising the funds to build Wesley Hall Methodist Church in Sneyd Green.

However, I can tell you a little about Mr Harrison – the strict but kindly man who was a father figure to many young people like myself who attended that church.

I recall the numerous shows and fund-raising fayres which he seemed to organise almost single-handedly.

I remember him as the extremely dedicated captain of the 14th (North Staffs) Company of the Boys’ Brigade.

I remember his voice and his valiant attempts to teach me and the other lads a bit of drill. I never did nail that ‘about turn’.

I remember him leading our little band through the streets of Sneyd Green on a Sunday morning with yours truly bashing away on a side drum.

I recall his pride when I represented the 14th Company in the Bible Quiz and didn’t get a single answer wrong.

I remember Mr Harrison the sportsman, the choreographer and the musician.

Never judgmental, always supportive, he was an incredibly inspirational man.

He was one of those rare breed of genuinely driven, community-spirited individuals who enrich the lives of others through their endeavours.

Thanks, Mr Harrison. I won’t forget you.