Obituary – Fred Wilson 1934-2021

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Fred Wilson: 10 Sept 1934 – 26 May 2021

For those who were unable to attend Fred’s funeral, I give below excerpts from “The Tribute to Fred read on behalf of the family by Tracey Jones”
“Having been born on the 10th of September 1934 in Aberdeen, Fred was the youngest of four siblings who, even with the ravages of the Second World War raining down on them, literally, as their own back garden was bombed, managed not to be evacuated from their home.”

“Their father was an ARP Warden and the family would all hide in a Morrison shelter during the bombing raids”

“Because you did in those days, Fred left school at the age of 14 and together with his pal Bill the pair of them spent some time pursuing their joint love of cycling. They cycled all over Scotland staying in youth hostels along the way and in 1951 embarked on a huge trip from Aberdeen to London in order to visit The Great Exhibition and see their cycling hero, Reg Harris. Whilst they completed the trip, Reg Harris didn’t turn up!!”

“It was in 1952 that Fred joined the Seaforth Highlanders at Fort George in Inverness. This would be an army career that encompassed postings to Germany and Egypt along with duty during the Suez Canal Crisis.”

“Fred always recalled that one of his proudest moments during his service was when he was inspected by General Montgomery at El Alamein.”

“In 1955 Fred was selected to train with the Parachute Regiment in Aldershot, however at the same time his mother was poorly and so he returned home to Aberdeen to look after her, therefore relinquishing his place at Aldershot.”

“His Army service did however, see Fred become a proficient and successful marksman, with him going on to win prize money from various shooting competitions all around Scotland.”

“Fred’s service years drew to their close, he became a welder and blacksmith by trade. An occupation that took him all over the country as something of a trouble shooter, fixing and repairing the gigantic earth moving vehicles. 26 years of Fred’s working life would be spent at Blackwood Hodge until the company finally folded in 1990. By then Fred had become a well-respected foreman within the welding shop. So much so that he was still enjoying attending the company reunions well into his 80’s.”

“Fred could quite possibly be regarded as somewhat of a savvy character well into his 80’s as he was, at this time happily learning how to download music. He wasn’t afraid of the changing technology and kept up with it for as long as he could. He’d always had an eclectic love of music with genres from classical, opera and country through to rock and pop. Fred had been born into a musical family with his father having made and played the banjo and so perhaps this love of music isn’t a such of a surprise?”

“Sometimes, not always but definitely on this occasion, Fred’s enjoyment of music also went alongside an enjoyment of dancing, and of course his dance partner was wife Margaret. Having first met at a dance, in 1959 the two were married in Glasgow with a move to Northampton following as Fred was offered work here.”

“Fortunately, Northampton was home to the Salon Ballroom, as it was called back in the day and along with the Scottish Association, of which Fred and Margaret became lifelong and active members, not only could they continue to dance, but spend many happy times with new and very special friends both here in Northampton and Corby.”

“It was whilst a member of the Scottish Association that Fred always fondly remembered being so proud of being invited to address the Haggis at a Burns Night celebration. Spending hours beforehand learning and rehearsing the famous Robbie Burns poem he regaled the guests in his Aberdonian dialect which was clearly understood by all. However, if that same dialect was used outside of those friends, Fred would know full well no-one understood a word he was talking about!”

“As father to Russell, Fred was always supportive”

“He did however, come from a generation whereby he was traditionally regarded as the breadwinner and he took that role to heart. As work often entailed him being away from home it was Margaret who would be found on the side-lines cheering Russell on. But as Fred returned home from any work trip there would often be small gifts for Russell.”

“As the years passed and hobbies mellowed and merged, with Russell in particular taking an interest in gardening, Fred was always on hand to offer kindly advice and help. And it was Russell who has been a daily visitor to Fred over the past 18 months and as Fred’s illness progressed.”

“Fred was known by his grandchildren as Papa, a title he so proud to hold and he enjoyed playing board games, watching films and drawing with them as children. In return they will speak shortly of their memories of him.”

“Fred was a gentleman who not only enjoyed his music and his gardening but also time spent pottering around in his shed, ‘making and repairing’, as he put it.”

“The motto “make do and mend” was very close to Fred’s heart and he would spend hours creating or devising repairs around the house. It is fair to say that some were more successful than others, however, having found a bargain in a charity shop or a junk yard, anything from a camera to stamps to mobile phones, he thoroughly embraced the possibility of keeping something rather than throwing it away, always thinking that it may just come in handy one day. Whilst his DIY skills were excellent these haven’t been passed down to Russell.”

“And so as Fred’s life has now drawn to its end, spend a few moments whilst listening to this next song with your own memories of both he and Margaret.”

(The song was ‘Time to Say Goodbye’ by Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman and the exit song ‘The Northern Lights of Aberdeen sung by Robert Wilson).