Visit an older relative and be amazed by their stories

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I really want to start 2014 on a positive note. But when I tell you about a recent loss in the family, you’ll understand that it’s not easy.

You see, just before Christmas we lost my Great Uncle Wally, who died suddenly at the age of 80.

As you can imagine, the process of sorting out his affairs has been most upsetting.

But in death, we celebrate life as many fond memories have returned. We’ve found lots of items that are small but so special.

Old reels of tape with recordings of me giving the football results when aged six. A simple notepad with a picture of the Queen on the front along with ‘Silver Jubilee 1977’.

Inside is a note I’d written as a four-year-old, telling Her Majesty that I loved her!

We all live busy lives and we all have older relatives we seldom see. But when we do meet up, wonderful stories are told.

My uncle came to the Isle of Wight in 1954 to work on the railway, meeting my other great uncles at the time.

This is also where Wally met my Great Aunt Joan.

Trains ran all across the island in the 1950s, so it must have been hard for these proud railwaymen to watch the Beeching axe leave just eight miles of track.

You may have even caught my uncle’s train from the Pier Head.

Through these relatives, I heard stories of how the big guns on the island help protect Portsmouth from those devastating air raids in the Second World War.

They told me about the paddle steamer that was lost off Southsea in 1942 after hitting a mine.

We never spend enough time with our older relatives, hearing those stories about our recent history. How we lived through war and how we survived.

It’s only then that you realise how lucky we really are.

So the point of my story today is to go visit an older relative. Talk about the old times.

Del Boy in Only Fools and Horses got it so wrong telling Uncle Albert to shut up whenever he uttered the words ‘during the war’.

Go hear those stories today and be amazed.