Lives Remembered: Charles Higgins
Friday 15 May 2009
My father, Charles Higgins, who died on 8 April aged 71, was many things to many people. Charles had a diverse range of interests – letter cutting, sailing, walking, swimming and voluntary work at a local primary school – which brought him into contact with a wide range of people.
He was born in 1937 in Whitehaven, then Cumberland. He was always very proud of his Cumbrian roots and was a keen supporter of both the Lakeland Dialect Society and the Friends of the Lake District.
He won an open exhibition to Cambridge and studied Natural Sciences and Chemical Engineering at Trinity College from 1958 to 1962. It was while he was a student here that he met my mother, a local girl. Her father was faintly appalled that she was going to marry a trumpet-playing student, whose band once had a memorable advertisement: "'Balls,' said the Duchess, '... are nothing without Vieux Carré jazz band"'.
After several years in the North West, they relocated to Surrey, where Charles was a Chartered Engineer, working with British Gas until 1995.
It was in his retirement that my father really blossomed. He threw himself into all his activities with gusto, especially his letter cutting and sign writing, of which he was largely self-taught. He latterly joined the South London Lettering Association and was their Treasurer at the time of his death.
He also undertook voluntary work, with the "Old Flames" of the British Gas Pensioners Group, and more locally assisting at a class for adults learning English as a second language. More recently he served as a school governor and spent time listening to children read at a local primary school, something he really enjoyed.
He was also a very keen walker and member of the local Ramblers group and a competitive member of Hampton Sailing Club. He particularly enjoyed doing cryptic crosswords.
He was always a very individual man, with a good turn of phrase, once memorably describing the change from summer to autumn as "the nights are cutting in, the football season will soon be upon us and the year will be buggered".
He was very proud of all his family and was a fiercely loyal friend to many. He is survived by Cynthia, his wife of 46 years, his daughters Anna, Rosie and Sally and four much-loved grandchildren.
If you would like to contribute an obituary of a friend, family member or colleague, please send a piece of no more than 500 words to Obituaries, 'The Independent', 191 Marsh Wall, London E14 9RS, by fax to 020 7005 2064 or by email to email@example.com. We reserve the right to edit copy for length and style.
- 1 The man who filmed the Freddie Gray video has been arrested at gunpoint
- 3 Top Gear: Jodie Kidd, Philip Glenister and Guy Martin 'in advanced talks' to join show
- 4 Frankie Boyle on Scottish independence: 'In the Interests of Unity, F**k Off'
- 5 How to gain confidence and maximise your sexual potential
Boston Marathon runner's search for mystery man she kissed ends with letter from his wife
Frankie Boyle on Scottish independence: 'In the Interests of Unity, F**k Off'
Italian police 'reveal' what Jesus looked like as a young boy
Mysterious 'X-Files' sounds heard miles above the Earth
Met Gala 2015: Beyoncé manages to out-skimp Rihanna, Miley and Kim Kardashian combined with near-naked ensemble
In defence of liberal democracy
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
General election live: SNP suspends two members for disrupting Labour rally
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils
Andy McSmith's Sketch: Feisty audience is the real star of an enlightening show
£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...
£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...
£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...