Leigh Fraser Webb

From Cara

Dads Eulogy

Leigh Fraser Webb, my dad, was born on 19th September 1946 in Bearwood to Ruby and Stan Webb. He attended Bearwood Road Primary School followed by Holly Lodge Boys Grammar School. It is fair to say everyone at Holly Lodge knew dad for his sporting prowess as he was in many teams from basketball, football, athletics to table tennis and of course swimming.  He even made the paper when he was 14 for having 36 sporting trophies for winning in different sports at school, county and regional levels. It was in 1960 during a joint school hockey match he met mom who attended Holly Lodge Girls Grammar School. They started their courtship and dad was often found riding his bike from Bearwood to Smethwick just to see her in the evening and stand at the end of her street.

On the 30th March 1968 at St John's church, Halesowen, mom and dad were married surrounded by all their friends and family. Following the service they celebrated at Blue Gate Pub before heading to Majorca for their honeymoon. In September 1974 I was then born closely followed by my sister in May 1977, but we will come back to that later.

Dad started life working with his parents Ruby and Stan at Chesterfield House fancy goods showroom before taking over the business and growing it to include a transport delivery firm. Eventually in 1984 dad decided to sell Chesterfield House and mom and dad took over The Toll House Store in Hayley Green, whilst still keeping his transport business alongside. In 1997 after an amazing 13 years in the shop mom and dad moved to Pedmore and dad saw out his working life as a driving examiner out of the Lower Gornal testing centre. This was a perfect job for him as it tied together two of the things he loved most: cars and meeting people.

In the early years of married life dad continued with many of his sports and often talked about the fun he would have on the Basketball tours and I know Peter you will have many memories and stories to tell us.

Dad not only worked hard through his life but I think you will agree he played hard. Me and my sister would go so far as to call him our very own action man. One of his favourite pastimes and somewhere he met some of his best friends over the years was through Kidderminster Motor Car Club. He loved competing in the early years - rallies, production car trials, hill climbs and jimcarners. He loved working with Mike on their rally cars including his Renault 8 gordini. He also enjoyed helping to stage rallies and events for others and was often asked to be stage commander for large events the highlight of which was the Network Q or Lombard RAC Rallies. His rally stages included over the years - the Safari Park, Sutton Park, Weston Park and also some Welsh stages. One of my favourite memories was racing around the Safari Park with dad as he checked the stage ready for the official rally to start. Another was him teaching me to ride his trials bike and whizzing around on the back with him as we watched the cars compete in the hill climbs and then returned to the caravan where Uncle John and Rob would be totalling up the scores.

When dad set his mind to learn something he wouldn’t stop until he achieved it and one thing he wanted to do was gain his pilot's licence which he did in 1970. I am sure many of you will have memories of dad taking you up in the plane with him from Halfpenny Green Airport. I’m sure he let many of you have the controls and fly the plane. His greatest flying achievement was when he flew to France and back. He also used to talk about hiring a plane the day I was born.

Dad also loved motorbikes and was proud when he achieved his advanced motorbike certificate. He loved going out on organised rides but was also often found at the Bridgnorth bikers cafe eating his bacon or sausage sandwich. Again one of my favourite memories was after I had met Ian and we had both passed our motorbike tests, we all rode out on sunny evenings to Stourport or Bewdley.

It was through his love for biking he became one of the roadwatch team with Malcolm for the Royal International Air Tattoo at Fairford. This was one of the highlights of his year as he loved helping people but it also meant he got to watch loads of amazing planes fly and do their acrobatic air shows. He managed to do this role for a number of years and again made many friends along the way.

Another of dad's highlights each year was Tankfest as he loved to drive the tanks.

5th in the world at yoyo

Now we need to go back to family life as mom and dad wanted both myself and Lindsey to experience as much as possible as we grew up. They encouraged us to try many sports and clubs so we could find our own passions and were always on hand to support and encourage us. One of my sisters favourite memories is when she had gone to do a parachute jump and had told mom and dad they weren’t allowed to come and watch. However, dad being dad had found out exactly what time she would jump and had gone to watch her anyway. He didn’t let her know till she was safely on the ground. I think she was secretly really pleased he had come. They not only wanted us to have many experiences but also to visit many countries and experience different cultures. Some of our favourite holidays include towing our caravan to various destinations in France, scuba diving off the beach in Lanzarote and of course the time he surprised us Christmas Day with tickets for a family holiday to Orlando Florida to Disney World. Me, mom and Lindsey all sat crying because we were so happy and surprised. Our holiday to Disney was especially inspirational to me as following this holiday I was determined one day to dance at Disney and I know he was proud of me when I achieved this and he was able to watch me perform in the parade at Disneyland Paris.

Mom and Dad loved their friends whether from school, work, car club, skiing, neighbours or other pastimes and seeing you all here is a tribute to what an amazing friend he was. Many of you have been to their famous Christmas, New Years or jubilee  parties over the years. They also enjoyed many evening dinner dances, meals out and holidays with many of you. One of their favourites in recent years were their trips to various Warner Holidays with Auntie Pat and Uncle Mick.

Over the years one of the things dad used to say was it will be a really lonely life if you don’t have children and I know both him and mom were thrilled to become Grandparents in December 2012 when Charlotte and Cameron were born and then again in September 2014 With Jamie and December 2016 When Lillian was born. As he had done throughout his life dad through himself into being the best Grandad he could. I am sure his grandchildren would all agree he was an amazing, fun and energetic Grandad. In fact on hearing about his passing Cameron described him as ‘proud and strong’ which I would also agree with.

Unfortunately over the past few years he has been battling with the very cruel disease ‘Parkinson Dementia’ after previously beating prostate cancer. As a family we could slowly see him slipping away which was heartbreaking to watch. Mom became his carer and was amazing looking after him 24/7 but when he started being unsettled through every night and following a fall he spent a short time in Russells Hall followed by time at Tilled House Rehabilitation Unit before we found him a room at Bartley Green Lodge Care Home. Our hope was he would improve enough to have some quality of life, that we would be able to take him out and visit him but following a nasty chest infection this was not to be. On Tuesday 20th December he passed away peacefully in his room.

I would like to say, mom you have been an inspiration to myself and Lindsey through all of this, we are so proud of you and love you very much. We would also like to say thank you to our husbands Ian and Jason for all your support.

Finally I would like to say goodbye to my kind, handsome, strong, energetic dad. I hope nan and grandad are looking after you and you are chatting away with Uncle John and all your other friends who have passed before you.

Until we meet again, fly high and rest in peace Dad.


From Lindsey

I knew Cara was going to do a great job of the eulogy and it was going to read like a mountain of achievements so I wanted to say a little bit about what dad is leaving behind in particular the lessons he's left with us that will be imprinted in our minds and that we will be teaching and passing onto our kids. Dad was a very wise man so here's some rules we'll be living by or trying anyway.

1 Never put your foot in the fan, for dad this means don't go too fast in your car. He would use, quite often, an analogy about the accelerator being like a tap the more you open it the more you use. Doing anything he possibly can to keep us from speeding. Sorry dad for the points I got in Cornwall this last summer.

2 The second lesson which Cara has alluded to is to show up for your kids even if your kids don't ask and are embarrassed teenagers. You've already heard how he came to watch my parachute jump well there was another time in Symonds Yat. I was canoeing with a group of friends from university. We were learning how to Eskimo roll. We kept seeing these flashes in the trees but didn't think anything of it, just thought it was the sun or something. The next thing I knew when we'd finished and coming out the river, it turns out the flashes were my paparazzi parents hiding in the trees taking photos of us. They made sure they showed up for us always never missing a dance show or a parade even coming to see me in Australia and Cara and Disneyland Paris

3.. Do dangerous things safely and say yes to new experiences.  I've always been astounded and will be forever grateful for being able to go to mom and dad with any crazy scheme or new experience and them saying yes and supporting me with it. They were always right behind me whether it was with air cadets, the territorial army, marathons, travelling the world etc. Sometimes after telling me I'm mad and to to be careful or making sure I was doing these dangerous things safely.  He didn't really have a leg to stand on trying stop me, with all the dangerous things he did safely, one I would like to mention is taking me, Cara and Nick round icy carparks at night time teaching us how to turn into a skid safely. Thank you for saying yes! And being my biggest cheerleader. Dad would always say to me "did you tell them you've climbed Everest?" so Dad just for you I will tell all these lovely people. Did you know I have climbed Everest?”

4. Be the parent your kids want to tell stuff too. When something happened like dying the bathroom carpet black, or when I crumpled my trumpet or dented a car it was dad I wanted to tell first. I hope I can be as calm as him when my kids mess up!

5. Treat everyone equally and like you want to be treated- I've always asked my dad's advice if I had a moral decision. I remember an occasion when I called at university and wondered if he thought I should come home for the weekend as I'd promised a friend to go to his birthday but really wanted to stay as was having a great time at university that weekend. He never said what I should do but talked me through it and my friend was really pleased to see me. Dad always treated people with kindness and his friends used to send him in if there was anything needing diplomacy as one flash of his smile could get anyone eating out of his hand. I've never been prouder of him in the last few months. When his struggles would have made most people fed-up and angry, Dad still made it into the hearts of all his carers, giving them a cheeky smile a little wink, letting, especially the blond ones

There's plenty more like always have an A to Z in the car,  remember to treat everyone else on the roads like they're idiots, ensure your car is big enough to tow the caravan you have. 

However I would like to end on a poem called Smile

Though your smile is gone forever

And your hand we cannot touch

Still we have so many memories

Of the one we loved so much

Your memory is our keepsake

With which we will not part

God has you in his keeping

We have you in our hearts