Published: 04 July 2013
My husband died on 26 June, aged just 64. I am pleased I found the strength to read the eulogy at his funeral. After discussing with the family I decided to share it on my blog, especially as he met many people in the knitting world.
I am grateful for the support of family and close friends, and have received many cards and messages. Donations made at Trevor's funeral were split between The British Thyroid Foundation and The British Heart Foundation.
He was my biggest supporter and I will always miss him, even if I did think he talked too much sometimes!!!
Trevor Featherstone Tindall was born on 23 September 1948 in Colne, Lancashire although his parents lived in Skipton, North Yorkshire, his mother’s home town. He’d mutter about boundary changes when his Yorkshireman-ship was questioned!
For his first ten years Trevor was an only child and the only grandchild on his mother’s side. On his father’s side he emphasised that he was the only male grandchild for about 15 years. By the time his siblings and younger cousins arrived his special status in the family was well established. His sister, Julie, was born in 1957 and brother Ian in 1963.
He was close to all four grandparents. They lived on the edge of town, near his mother’s parents and he spent many hours with his grand-dad, on his allotment, early morning mushroom gathering, rabbiting and other country pursuits. His other grandparents lived in Horbury, about an hour and a half away, so they either came to stay for a few days or took Trevor to stay with them. He always remembered his grandma and her sisters taking him shopping for clothes which he was expected to try on – that was the first time he remembered having a paddy. His granddad was a blacksmith and he loved to be taken to see him at work. Family holidays were usually in Devon or Cornwall, his dad driving the extended family in his Uncle Tom’s Hawker Siddeley Sapphire. Weekend outings were mostly to Blackpool or Morecambe.
Family life was very happy until Trevor’s mother became ill and died in 1967. Trevor remained in Skipton, staying with his Uncle Tom, while his father moved near his parents. This caused a bit of a rift and he rarely saw his father and siblings over the next 6 years. By the time contact was re-established his father had re-married, giving Trevor a step-brother and two step-sisters as well as a one year-old half-brother.
Trevor left school when he was 15, having achieved a certificate for literacy. The family believed that education wasn’t for the likes of them. He loved to visit Skipton auction mart and looked forward to the possibility of becoming an auctioneer but the family firm took on one of their sons instead. I saw Trevor in auctioneer mode once, for the Round Table – it was highly entertaining. He worked for a short time with Silent Night beds, before starting work with the Skipton branch of the Inland Revenue about 1965. He transferred to London in 1971, then back to Yorkshire in 1975. After speaking to a colleague who was an ex-Prudential employee, Trevor decided that life in the insurance world sounded more interesting than income tax. He made a phone call to the Prudential office in Keighley, when they happened to be looking for a new “Man from the Pru”, most of whose time was spent collecting insurance premiums direct from the customers. Ideally the job needed someone with a driving licence – something he didn’t have – but that lack was wiped out by his enthusiasm and he started working as an insurance agent in 1978. He bought a scooter to do his rounds before passing his driving test.
It was while in Shetland in the spring of 1983 that he was told there might be a vacancy for a Prudential agent as someone was retiring. A phone call to, then a meeting with, George Simpson set the wheels in motion to move from Keighley to Shetland. He worked for the Prudential until about 1996. By that time most premiums were paid through banks and the emphasis was on selling. He enjoyed selling, and was very proud to be recognised as one of Prudential’s top salesmen, but he increasingly found the pressure difficult to cope with so he left. His health problems also began in his early 40s when treatment for hypertension and under-active thyroid started. A spell of self employment followed; much of that time was spent working with Hylton Henry, spray painting cars, and car valeting.
In London in 1972 Trevor met me; I had started work there just a month earlier. It was really Trevor’s flat mate who was attracted to my friend – he thought he’d need to tag along and speak to me. The four of us met at a disco, then walked round Hyde Park until the early morning tube started and the boys could get home. Our friends, Keith and Lorna, got married 8 months later and we got married in 1974. 7 June 1974 On our 39th anniversary, less than 3 weeks ago, he said “39 years, it’s nowt is it”; since then I think I’ve found evidence that he was planning for our ruby wedding next year.
Knowing we didn’t want to stay in London, Trevor petitioned his employers for a transfer back to Yorkshire – many letters were written. We moved north in 1975, finding a house to buy in Keighley which was not too far from his work, nor too near any of my in-laws. Holidays were mostly spent in Shetland. Since Trevor’s first visit in December 1972, he had always said he’d like to live here.
Having a family was hugely important to Trevor and when Guy was born in 1979 and Neil in 1982 he was overjoyed. Trevor, whose experience with babies began with helping with Julie and Ian, was never slow to help with bathing and nappy changing – his mother-in-law was delighted to see such a competent Dad. He always took an interest in what the boys were doing, especially their shared interest in sport. Swimming in the pool at Aith School almost every Friday was a highlight of the week. When grandchildren, Isla, Eddie and Ollie came along he delighted in seeing them and watching them grow and develop. With Isla he enjoyed drawing, singing, and playing with the i-Pad. With Eddie and Ollie, it was stories, jigsaws and one particularly enjoyable afternoon when the boys tried on some of his many hats (they called him "Grand-dad Hat"). Recently all three grandchildren enjoyed an afternoon in the garden when Guy hung a new rope swing in the same place Trevor had hung one for Guy and Neil.
Throughout his life Trevor loved sport. I was never surprised when conversation turned to, usually, football within minutes of seeing Guy and Neil as well as numerous other people. He started supporting Manchester United in the 1950s, and closely followed all that they did. Guy, Trevor and Neil visit Old Trafford When the boys were playing football for Whitedale, and lately for Wastside Rebels, he was a noisy supporter. One referee sent him from the sideline to the stands at Gilbertson Park, then asked him back to the sideline as his voice was even easier to hear from the higher stands. Rebels' supporters and players say the atmosphere at the matches will never be the same.
He learned to swim in the River Aire and represented Yorkshire schoolboys at cross country. While in Yorkshire he played football at semi-professional level. He was an amateur boxer, first as a member of a boxing club in Leeds, then representing the Civil Service when he moved to London. He enjoyed cricket and darts too, his quick mind soon working out the scores. He was a talented table tennis player, and enjoyed carpet bowls every week in Aith, as well as taking part in bowling competitions in other parts of Shetland.
He loved word games and crosswords, and never missed an episode of Countdown. He was musical but couldn’t read music. He owned a guitar, African drum and three mouth organs. Once he picked up a guitar while browsing in the auction saleroom, started to play “House of the Rising Sun”, delighted when someone started to sing along. I wish I’d been with him that night. He spent many hours playing the mouth organ, and I found the long list of tunes he had perfected in one of the cases.
He was a talented artist, going to evening classes with his uncle when he was a teenager, sometimes helping to tutor others. He would have liked to study art but that was dismissed by elders as for ‘nancy boys’. He always visited art galleries, and recently enjoyed the Shetland Museum’s hidden art tour. One of the pieces of artwork of which he was most proud is on display today in the Rankin Lounge.
In 2001 Trevor had a massive heart attack which he was lucky to survive and left his heart badly damaged. At first he felt he was for use only to empty the dishwasher but determination to live the fullest life he could soon saw him look for new avenues. Over two years he completed a course at Shetland College and was proud to be presented with a Diploma in Contemporary Textiles. This course involved drawing, painting, weaving and designing for machine knitting. At various times he took classes in life drawing and clay modelling. On two trips to America he was able to enjoy courses in wood carving and book making. In March he spent a day learning to make rag rugs and had nearly finished his first one, and gathered heaps of material to use in future projects.
Favourite walks were on a beach Trevor on a beach , or enjoying the trees in Michaelswood resting and saying hello to the cat in Michaelswood and at Da Gairdins in Sand. He was happiest away from big crowds – except if he was a spectator at a sport. Trevor’s paintings rarely included humans as he felt you could see plenty of them anywhere. He liked to go to auction sales, often buying things which soon found their way to the charity shop – or bin. Sometimes he bought wooden things which he restored then sold. He also liked browsing book, antique and charity shops, always looking for a rhinoceros ornament to add to his large collection, or another art book.
Trevor always devoted time to voluntary activities – the list below is probably incomplete.
• Eid Community Co-Op – committee member and, latterly, Vice Chairman.
• Aith Community Association – secretary/treasurer since establishment in 2000.
• Aith Bowls Club – secretary/treasurer, founder member, since 2000.
• Citizens Advice Bureau – adviser and Board Member for about 6 years.
• Shetland Islands Credit Union – committee member and held a supervisory role.
• Aith Public Hall – committee member for many years.
• Aith Social Club – committee member and office bearer for many years.
• Aith Boating Club – was secretary for over 20 years.
• Westside Boys’ Club – one of the enthusiastic club leaders and committee office bearer.
• Auld Skule Recycling Centre – helper
• Shetland Round Table – 1980s -past Chairman
Over the last year his volunteering was mostly limited to Citizens Advice Bureau, Eid Community Co-Op and Shetland Islands Credit Union. And sometimes under the name of 'Burnside sheepdog' when he was needed to stand by a gate while I helped my sister to move sheep.
Trevor began to feel unwell about 11.30 pm on 25 June and died soon after midnight. His family feel they have much to be grateful for, not least Dr Veenhuizen, Michael Gardner and Hylton Henry who fought to save him while waiting for the ambulance to arrive. He was able to enjoy life up to the end. On Friday morning he met several old friends in Lerwick and spent the afternoon with his grandsons, as well as Neil and Jolene. He watched the Rebels on Saturday, played bowls on Sunday, enjoyed a visit from Guy and Cathie on Monday morning before spending the afternoon at Citizens Advice Bureau. On Tuesday morning he helped with preparations for my forthcoming knitting film, and checked on shop matters.
Over the last days many people have contacted the family; these are a few of their words:
He was a gem, blyde, interested, welcoming, positive, enthusiastic, cheery, passionate, animated, committed, conscientious, invariably helpful, Hazel’s biggest fan, cheerleader, brilliant man, made laughter in times of sorrow.
I hope that, if you met him, you too will find good memories.
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Shetland is the most northerly group of Scottish islands. Apart from mainland Scotland, the other near neighbours are Norway to the east and the Faroe Islands to the north west.