Alan Roy Thompson
I think it would be rare for most people to have a memory of the first time they met a friend’s parent. However, despite it being nearly 30 years ago, I can still remember the day I met Alan so vividly.
I stayed over at Middlestone House ready for an early start the next morning. It was an inset day at Chew Stoke Primary School and Alan had offered to drive Lizzie and me to the theme park Alton Towers. Off we drove at the crack of dawn, on the nearly 3 hour drive, so that we’d be there for opening time.
Dropping us off at the gates, Lizzie and I had the most glorious day going on all the rides over and over (even sneaking onto the Black Hole after Lizzie being told she was too short!), taking full advantage that the park was virtually empty as most other kids were in school.
Exhausted from all the fun, we left the park and Alan was there waiting for us, having waited in the car park all day, ready to drive us all the way home again. Although, I’m sure we would have bored him to tears with all of our rollercoaster stories, he did a good job of hiding it, as my overriding memory was of what fun Dad he was and how cool of him to take us.
I reflect on that story as a grownup and it sums up Alan so well. So generous and so welcoming. He made Lizzie’s new mate feel part of his family instantly and I have felt that way ever since.
I haven’t lived in Chew Valley since 18 and one of my absolute pleasures when I go home to see my family, is also making the short drive over to Bishop Sutton. Knocking on the back door to be greeted by Tessa in the kitchen, insisting I eat or drink something – “ah go on” – and then finding Alan in his usual spot on the lounge. No doubt we would chat about Bath’s current form and it wouldn’t be long before one of his infectious belly laughs was filling the room.
I still can’t quite believe that he won’t be sat there, wearing away the same piece of carpet, the next time I pop over. No doubt his home will still be full of love and wonderful memories of one of life’s very best.
I feel very fortunate and privileged to have known Alan. I am sure his strong character and goodness is part of the tapestry that makes me the adult I am today.
Stroke of luck that Rugby is the game they play in heaven. Rest in peace Alan.