I am sorry and disappointed not to be with you today to pay tribute to a kindly, reliable, conscientious, straightforward
very Christian man. It is quite amazing that Alan became fulfilled despite an inauspicious early life of deprivation,
physical abuse and a compete lack of love and affection. Nobody wanted him and he was already physically
handicapped as a result of contracting polio at the age of 2.
As a consequence, Alan’s upbringing from the age of 6 was within Dr. Barnardos, first at Barkingside and latterly
at Goldings where he learnt a trade and formed bonds, particularly with his best friend, David Barlow, which were
to remain with him for the rest of his life.
Sent into the outside world at the age of 17, everyday living was never easy for Alan. I exhort you to read his
personal Yellow Booklet which narrates a life of resilience, courage and determination against the odds.
Set against the norm, his achievements have been almost miraculous and include:
1. For 25 years a prosthetic technician making and repairing artificial limbs.
2. Winning 3 times the British Polio Fellowship National Sportsman of the Year Award.
3. Becoming Regional Chairman of Gingerbread, an Organization for Single Parents and a Member of their
4. Becoming a Professional Sports Photographer which resulted in him spending a number of years travelling
to League grounds all over the Country. In this capacity, he witnessed first hand the Hillsborough Football
Disaster – the memory of which never left him.
But, above all, Alan never forgot the debt that he felt he owed to Barnardos. He gave talks and raised money all
over the Country for many years and became a highly respected Member of their National Committee. This led
to Alan being awarded The Barnardo’s Presidents Certificate of Appreciation by Her Royal Highness The
Duchess of Cornwall. Alan also had the distinction of meeting Her Majesty The Queen when the new Head
Office was opened in Barkingside.
Separately, Alan maintained his links with the Goldings Family of which I am proud to be an Honorary Member.
A regular attender at our Annual Reunion, Alan will be sorely missed and we hope that Margaret may find it within
herself to join us when the first Saturday in October comes round again.
Personally, I will miss Alan’s company very much indeed. Always courteous and cheerful, we have often
reminisced about our time at Goldings – me the Headmaster’s son and he one of 1000 boys who spent several of
their teenage years there whilst I grew up, of which I have very happy memories. Recently Alan recalled when I
had let him down. Watching the cricket one day, he saw me coming into bat and told a newcomer “this guy can play”.
I was out first ball – such are the fortunes of life.
Well, dear Alan, may your spirit sleep peacefully wherever you are. Our Goldings Family have lost a Man of Real
Substance and we shall not forget you.
David Wheatley, February 29th, 2016