It was early in December that Joy, Nick’s wife, telephoned me to give me the very sad news that Nick had died earlier in the week from complications brought on by Motor Neurone Disease. I knew Nick health had been deteriorating and that his physical strength was weakening. I put it down to the fact that having suffered from Polio in childhood, it has repercussions in later life. I understand MND was only diagnosed reasonably recently.
I first met Nick in 1965 at Bethany School in Goudhurst when he was 14 if memory serves me correctly. He was a year older than the rest of the class, as he had lost quite a lot of school time due to polio and surgery to stabilise his ankle.
Something that always struck me about Nick was his determination to do exactly the same as the rest of us. This was borne out that at the school’s 150th anniversary celebrations,Nick was invited to read a poem at the chapel service. Nick started by saying that he was eternally grateful to the school for treating him as an ordinary boy and not handicapped. The fact he had a profound limp made no difference to the way he was treated.
When playing cricket, he was a fearless wicket keeper. When playing football, he played in goal, to compensate for his weakened leg, he would stand nearer that goal post than the other.
As soon as one met Nick, it was obvious he was very artistic and creative, not to say eccentric. Being a day boy and Nick a boarder, I didn’t see him out of school .However, one Sunday, he ‘roped in’ some friends to act in his own play ‘Captain Black’. I’m not sure if it was a film or just photographs, acted out in Marden parish church grave yard. Nick wearing a black top hat and black cloak!
After leaving Bethany, Nick followed a teacher training course at Christ Church in Canterbury. Then went to Sandwich technical college where he taught for 28 years and then the Chaucer technical college retiring at 60. At school he was the Learning manager of English, Art, History, Life and learning Skills, if that wasn’t enough, he was Year Head and Library manager. Not content with all these duties, he still managed to find time to create scenery for school plays.
In retirement, He and Joy bought a derelict house in Albi, South of France to renovate, another outlet for his creative and design side. It allowed him to expand his photography interests. After Nick and Joy sold their French house, to satisfy some of his creative side, he made models of St. Peter’s church Sandwich, sold in packs, that people could buy and make up for themselves.
Nick has two sons with his first wife Val, Chris born in 1978 and Andy born in 1980 and four grand children.
In later life when we met up and his body was obviously failing, he would often say to me, ‘you know, I’m a lucky boy really’.