It is with much sadness we have received notification of the death of pensioner Graham Parker who passed away on 18.02.2021 aged 86 years.
He retired in April 1989 from Weston super Mare fire station. He was well respected by his colleague’s honesty, integratory and dedication to his job. He was someone always willing to help. Many years ago, when he was on station and some new recruits came to join station many were keen footballers. He went on to start Weston Station’s first football team and through his many contacts in the community got permission to use many football pitches. Later Somerset Stations formed teams and a league was formed.
Graham was a dedicated family man who was always there when you needed him and his word was his bond.
His parents brought up their family during the very difficult time of WW11 when money and resources were in short supply, but they always did their best and instilled good values into their children; 3 boys and 1 girl (although one boy died just after Graham was born). That shortage of money really influenced Graham throughout his life, meaning that he was always very cautious with money and one of the reasons that he joined the Fire Brigade was the certainty that he would have a good pension when he retired.
Graham loved singing including many Irish and WW1 songs which he learnt from his mother and sang around the house. He joined Emmanuel Choir when he was about 9 or 10, and he was in several other choirs throughout his life, including The Cheddar Male Choir. Two of their songs, in which he is singing, are part of our service. He enjoyed male voice choirs best and the last one that he was in was “Strike-a-Chord, until he had a slight stroke in 2018.
Another important part of his life was his sport especially water polo, swimming and football. He could have signed on for Swindon Town football team but at the time he was doing his mechanical engineering apprenticeship and could not do both (his Father said!)
The Sea Cadet organisation was also a big part of his younger life and he went right up through the ranks from being a boy entry to an Sub-Lieutenant officer training boys to swim, and taking part himself in swimming galas on behalf of the Weston Unit. Unfortunately, when he had to do his national service, because he would not sign on as a ranked officer for 22 years in the navy, they discharged him on medical grounds. However six months later he was called up by the army and was square bashing for the REME.
Graham’s main career was in the Fire Brigade which he thoroughly enjoyed – both the actual firefighting and many years in Fire Prevention. I think that he found the challenge of court work very stimulating. It was just four days before he was due to retire that he had his first heart attack. When he had recovered the Job Centre gave him the opportunity to do a clock and watch repairing course at St. Loyes College for disabled in Exeter for a year. Following this he worked for a good many year’s in the workshop of “Carter Moore Clock & Watch repairs in Orchard Street.
Motorbikes were always part of our life, including the Triumph Tiger 500 that we travelled down to the South of France on, the year after we got married and this included many mishaps and adventures.
Graham and Dina actually met at Emmanuel when he came out of the army. Dina was 15 at the time. Once they were married, he lived and worked for his family including his three sons, Daryl, Kevin and Shaun. He could turn his hand to most things (except plastering.) He were married for 57 years but only lived in three properties, the present one for 51 years. During his married life he built 3 garages, installed 4 lots of central heating, built two sets of fitted wardrobes, renovated 2 kitchens and updated all our properties. Because of his wonderful practical abilities, Graham was asked to be a church warden for one year during the re-ordering of Emmanuel Church.
Over this time, he had two dogs both of which he cherished and took on many walks locally and whilst on holiday.
Graham had the most amazing memory from his younger years and knew so many locals in Weston, many of them being friends from his infant and junior schools. He loved his town, where he was born, as it was, and was always interested in what happened in Weston until the last 20 years.
He was dearly loved by all of us and will be so greatly missed in very many ways. However, we are grateful that he is now at peace.