Friends - past & present
This page lists, in no particular order, people that I have known during my lifetime and that have influenced or affected me in some way or other..
Sadly, some of them are no longer with us and others have split-up and gone their separate ways, sometimes keeping in touch, sometimes not but they are still in my mind.
Listing them here is a hope that one day, they will perform a 'google' search for their own name (come on, everybody does it at some point!) and end up here.
If you are in the list, I would really like to hear from you. Please use the 'contact me' link on this site.
They were introduced to me around 1969-1970 by a friend from school called Gwyn Parfitt who had helped me with my interest in Amateur & Broadcast Radio when I wanted to learn more about the subject.
They were both from Wales with pretty strong Welsh accents and smoked like chimneys but were lovely people.
Bill helped me design & build my first audio amplifier from bits, including creating the chassis out of a duckhams oil drum! A simple push-pull design using EL84's as the power valves (yes, Valves!)
He also lent me a lot of books to read about electronics etc. and introduced me to the world of Amateur radio (although I never bothered to actually get a call sign). I wish I could remember his. He had the Morse test so was a "G3..."
I used to feel sorry for them as Bill was housebound and used an inhaler and Bess had to carry shopping (& everything else!) up about 6 flights of stairs to their top floor, one-bedroomed flat.
The living room was full of "Ham" radio equipment which, sadly I can't remember the makes of everything. One thing I do remember was the vast aerial array on the roof with a motor to turn it in the direction Bill wished to listen/talk on.
The last entry in my diary was in February 1974 when Bess phoned me to tell me that Bill had died. After that, I visited her a few times and had brief contact with her daughter who, I believe, lived somewhere like Jersey in the Channel Islands and came back to visit her but after that, I'm sad to say I lost contact with her and have no idea where she spent the remaining years of her life.
'Mrs' Gordon was Haverstock school's librarian where I was one of the pupil librarians.
Of course, apart form the great excuse of being able to go indoors when it was pouring with rain at break times, it also gave me a chance to meet some of the more senior boys who used to study there (see Gwyn Parfitt, above).
I was even sad enough to go in during the school holidays to help with things!
They lived in Hendon although moved to Alnwick later in life.
Chris was one of the 'Hemel Crowd' I met in the mid-seventies.
He lived in Chiltern close, Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire with his parents and was part of the Mobile Disco crowd I used to visit and who used to visit me in London when I worked at the Global Village.
I bought my very first (and only!) car from him - A Singer 'Gazelle'.
In late 2014, I was contacted by his brother, Roger, who told me Chris was no longer with us but no other information.
Although I replied a couple of times, I never received anything back.
Dave used to live in 'the Tarns', one of the taller blocks of flats on our little part of Regents Park Estate along Hampstead road.
When we had our little radio station, he was one of the DJs.
He once worked in the Cock pub in Triton square (now defunct), just off Euston road but went to work in foreign parts, especially during the skiing season.
Dave was my form Tutor and Spanish teacher at Haverstock School in London.
He was the first teacher I knew that allowed his pupils to call him by his first name and, rather than becoming anarchic, it made me much more aware of using the right term at the right time. He was still 'Sir' in front of other teachers or when he was telling us off (not that I can remember him doing that often!).
He introduced me to folk music, in particular Fairport Convention and their song 'Crazy Man Michael' which he used to play and sing himself. His (our!) classroom even had Mott the Hoople posters on the wall!
He also influenced my decision, around the age of 13 or 14, to stop eating meat and become a vegetarian. I still remember Mum saying something like "shut up and sit down. You'll eat what you're given" when I announced it at home! To be fair, she accepted it very well and I used to just have whatever everyone else was having but without the meat. I never liked most meat anyway and couldn't - and still can't - stand fish so it wasn't as if I was missing out on much.
I missed a class reunion sometime a few years ago when I believe Dave turned up. I have tried to find out how to contact hom through the school but they don't have records going back that far.
I'd love to make contact with him again.
If you're reading this, Dave, get in touch!
Gwyn was a couple of years older than me but was introduced to me by the school librarian, Mrs Gordon, as she knew of my interest in Electronics and that the current school curriculum didn't cover that whereas Gwyn was 'well into it'
He lived with his parents in Hillview Gardens, Hendon NW4.
He was a 'G8' radio ham and we spent a few nights on radio events called 'competitions' at various locations but the one I remember most was at Hampstead Heath Observatory, close to Whitestone pond.
His family were also one of the first I knew that owned a colour TV and I used to go over to watch Star Trek (the original series, obviously!)
In 2010, his nephew, Doug, discovered his name on this site and contacted me (so it can and does work!).
Sadly, Gwyn had passed away in 2005 due to Cancer. At the time he was living in Thailand where he was cremated but the ashes were returned to his homeland of Bridgend in Wales.
Gwyn had been successful in life though and I include part of the correspondence from his nephew to illustrate this:
I met John when I worked in the picture room, Electra House as part of the Post Office International Telegraphs office. He was a postman who used to collect the pictures we received and took them for despatch to the various newspaper offices in Fleet street.
John was married to Linda and they lived in Gravesend, Kent. They had two children, Lorraine and Steven.
They moved to the Bournemouth area and John worked on the railway (as a ticket inspector I think!) but after that I lost contact.
Like everyone on this list, I would love to re-establish contact and to find out what they are doing now.
He lived in Hampstead in New End somewhere but I never visited his family home.
He was also instrumental in getting me to join the Air Cadets - 48F Squadron (Hampstead). There, he was a corporal (& I think he might have been promoted to Sergeant before we left) which made for a strange kind of relationship. 'John' when we were at school but 'Corporal/Sergeant Findlay' on Thursday evenings (at least when Warrant Officer Knowles was around!)
John was strange and secretive in some ways. I never visited his home or met his family but he would often visit me on a Sunday and Mum would always offer him dinner - which he always refused but she put it out anyway and he ate it!
When he left school, it was rumoured that he had left England and gone to work in Launceston in Tasmania although this could have been another example of his secretive character and could still be in the UK somewhere...
I would really like to know where he is now & what he is doing.
The last I heard - and indeed saw - was that they lived in Hertford, right by the canal but I haven't seen either of them for many years now although I have seen Les's name appear on some CamRA (Campaign for Real Ale) articles.
Would love to know what happened to him!
They had one child called Phillip but have since split up.
I made contact with Shirley once or twice but it just seemed to peter out.. until April 2012 when we suddenly made contact again.
She has remarried to Tony and now has step-children.
Other names from my old diaries:
David Baird (Dave) - Canadian who was, I think, at Haverstock school at the same time I was.
Peter Lincoln (Haverstock school)
Mark Palmer (Sherriff Road, West Hamptead)
Len Callaghan (Sainsbury's, Kentish town around 1972. We both worked as part-time Friday night/Saturday. Underage, we drank in the Dublin Castle with Len's parents (I think!)
Steve Riley - Was in Air cadets (48F, Hampstead) with me at start of the 1970s. Lived in Kilburn (Palmerston rd., I think)
He was a last-minute substitution for his brother, Peter, who had originally been booked on the trip but couldn't make it.
We became very good friends and used to go out visiting pubs all over the place.
He was, in 1978, the first person I ever went to the Isle of Man with!
He worked for BT and in the 80's, while I was on shift work in London, I used to occasionally travel around with him in the BT van.
His father worked for the water board & lived in a 'company house'. Initially he was at Platts lane reservoir near Hampstead but then moved to Hillview Gardens, Cheshunt in Hertfordshire.
We used to go there often and visited the Old Anchor equally as often!
He had two brothers, Pete Cranfield and Derek Cranfield
I'd like to know what he's up to now and where he is living.
My first contact with Hemel Hempstead was through Dave Lee, who started at the GPO on the same day that I did in 1972 and lived there.
This was a group of blokes I met while I was DJ at the Global Village in London.
They set up their own mobile disco around the Hemel Hempstead and Berkhampsted area to which I used to go along on Fridays sometimes. One time, my car was attacked because of the pictures of the Bay City Rollers on the back seat which we were planning to give away as prizes!
I started work in 1972 so I have had quite a long time to accumulate a number of colleagues
Divided into various categories they are listed below:
The group I started with at Featherstone street on Monday 25th September 1972 were:
Andre Earle ('Smiler')Tim Jones
Dave Lee ('Leapy')
Jim Morris ('Biggles')
Frank Scoltock ('Scolly')
Paul SibleyGrant Wilbur ('Thor')
Later joined by Steve Wren and Dave Welch.
Roger Pike (Gidea Park)
Bill Lovell (Picture room)