A letter to… The lads who saw my Dad leave this world

It was 3 years ago today. The snow was thick on the ground and icy underneath from layers of snow fall.
You were walking in York down St. Saviourgate. I’m not sure whether you would have been walking towards my Dad or from behind, but at first you must have thought he had slipped and fell onto the uneven cold ground.
My Dad was on his way to the dentist. When he woke up that morning he had no idea that this would be his last day of his life.
I’d forgot he had a dentist appointment that day, and if he’d had lived it would have just been another day. Now our dentist visits have a significant meaning to us all.

Nevertheless you were the ones to see him die in front of you.

Later on that evening when the news had been shared, when sat next to the room where his body lay in York District Hospital. The Duty Nurse helped us understand that Dad (at 62) had died from a heart attack, and that he was pronounced dead at the hospital.
The first question that sprang to my mind was. ‘He was on his own. Who found him? Someone must of called the ambulance?’ He explained to me that that wasn’t important right now, and looks of agreement mixed with grieving strains on my mum and my brothers face made me push the matter temporarily to one side.

The snow began to melt, and the days went by. We decided three days later that we would find the spot where he fell and mark it with some Iris’s; Dad’s favourite flowers. We did a bit of detective work, knocking on grand wooden doors and asking people to recall the events of Monday, to see if anyone had heard an ambulance. Just by piecing these bits of information helped us visualise the day and the last moments of Dads life. We eventually ventured into one of Yorks many pubs. A barman recalled he had heard an ambulance parked around the corner leading into the gate on Monday. He remembered two young ‘out of town’ student lads as he described them, came into the pub. They thought they’d just witness someone die, and ordered two pints. They were a bit shaky.

My Dad would not have wanted to scare you, but each year we have a couple of pints now too.

So who was this man, you may have sometimes wondered over the years? Well, actually he was Harry Potter – no not the fictional character – the real one! It was a shame he didn’t get to see the final film which had just been shown in the states. He loved the books.
He was a learning support mentor at a local primary school. All the children called it the Harry Potter school. He was well thought of by everyone he met. For someone who wasn’t a sociable person, preferring more to stay at home with his children, the funeral was full of all the people he’d met in his life; the BT lads, the Adult Ed group, All the teachers at Scarcroft School, family and friends.
Here’s to a great man, Dad, Husband, Grandfather, Grandson, Brother, Uncle and friend, three years on. Thank you for being with him and sharing those last moments with him.

A Poem
Memories of Harry Potter

There was a house on Vyner Street
Where silence never reigned.
There was hammering and knocking,
And kids going insane.

My mate Lucy Potter
Had the world’s coolest Dad.
Everybody wanted one
Like the Potter kids had!

The Potter house was full of pictures;
life; and noise, and love.
And Harry and his lovely Sue
Fitted like a glove.

With kids as good as Lucy, Anna and Stu,
It would be a folly
To give up then.. So on they went
And got themselves young Holly!

I’ve never known a family
With more smiling and less scowling.
They were MAGIC long before
A certain book by J.K. Rowling.

Harry had a varied life:
There’s nothing he couldn’t do.
Photography, technology
And building stuff too.

(I still remember everyone
Had such envious feelings
About Lucy’s bed, built up a ladder
High up on the ceiling!)

When Harry led a team of us
Across the Lyke Wake Walk
for forty-two long miles
He had to listen to us talk

About our blisters, sunburnt heads,
Our agonies and aches.
With a twinkle in his eye
He kept us sane, and kept us safe.

‘Another mile! Another mile!
Keep moving on-your’ve gotta!
We all thanked God that day
That we were there with Harry Potter.

Harry Potter had a smile
That reached from here to Lendal Bridge
And that all became clear
When you met his wife and kids.

A gentle man, a strong man
Filling life to the brim.
That pesky boy wizard
Had nothing on him.

His name was Harry Potter
In peace now may he rest.
His name was Harry Potter:

With love, admiration,
an huge sadness that you are gone.
Bee Rowlatt.



4 thoughts on “A letter to… The lads who saw my Dad leave this world

  1. Thanks for sharing Lucy. So moving. Sending out love to those two lads as well, wherever they are, that they tried to help a stranger.

  2. He sounds like a wonderful man and it sounds like you have fun filled memories to last you forever and a day x. Such a lovely blog, he would have been so proud of you xx

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