Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Off to meet with PALS

Off to meet with PALS (Patient Advisory Liaison Service) to make a complaint about the handling of my father's case. Referred by GP August 3rd, Diagnosed by ultrasound September 26th, We were not actually informed until October 17th and he died November 20th. He never actually got any treatment for the cancer itself. He developed jaundice the week before chemotherapy was due to start and that meant the treatment had to be delayed until the jaundice was controlled, unfortunately it never was. If treatment had started a few weeks earlier then he was clear of jaundice!

Complaints and Concerns


Monday, 28 November 2011

Only 3 working days left in 2011

First day of the rest of my life! Tried to tell the tax man about my dad but they won't speak to me without a copy of the death certificate. I've now posted one off to them but they say "All post is dealt with in order of receipt" I asked what that meant and they told me that for receipt of post they are so far behind that "today" is actually December 20th. So taking the strike and Christmas into account my letter to them is unlikely to be even opened until 4th or 5th January 2012! What a way to run a country!

Friday, 25 November 2011

Dad's Funeral

Thank you very, very much to everyone who attended my dad's funeral today. It was a great comfort to see St.Hildas Church so full and know that so many people wanted to come and say goodbye to my dad. As a former councillor he was entitled to a civic funeral, with the great and the good of the council in attendance. However, he made it quite clear to me that he didn't want that. He only wanted people at the service who genuinely wanted to be there rather than those attending out of duty or from some need to be seen. A sincere thanks again to everyone who came. Rosemary gave the eulogy and it was a great tribute to her grandad. Afterwards we had a house full of young people who came to pay their respects to my dad. How many 80 year olds would have teenagers at their funeral who were not relatives or family but who came out of respect for the departed. I think we gave my dad a send off he could have been proud of. RIP Dad

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

RIP Derek Allison 1931 - 2011

Thank you very much to all of you who contacted me asking why my blog has been so quiet. Quite simply I've been far too busy to bother with it after the diagnosis of my father as having a terminal cancer of the pancreas. This diagnosis changed my whole world. Blogging just didn't make the cut in my list of priorities, which only had two things that mattered, my father and my family.

Sadly that list has now shrunk to just my family. My father died on Sunday night. He died at home with my mother at his side holding one of his hands and I was holding the other. There was no pain at the end, he just stopped breathing and slipped away. Six weeks previously he and I had been on a roof top re-pointing ridge tiles, now he is gone. I miss him already and know I will ask my self every day “What would my dad do ?”

My dad, Derek, has been married to my mum Aileen (nee Outhwaite) for 57 years. They had been sweethearts since she was 16 and he was 17. Many of my friends have remarked that they have never met a more devoted couple. It would be wrong to say they never had a cross word, a family story records one falling out before they were married that lasted two years and which, according to my father, was reconciled when my mother “came crawling back” My mother obviously has a different recollection of how they got back together.

Family was everything to my dad. In addition to me they also had a second son, my younger brother David (49), who is a Director of the Austrian National Oil Company and currently lives in Budapest. My dad was always extremely proud of David’s achievements but at the same time sad that his career took him so far away from home. My parents also have five grandchildren. Their two youngest grandsons, Charlie and John, are still at boarding school. Two granddaughters, Rosemary and Ria, are both at University and their eldest grandson, Edward, is an engineering cadet with P&O Cruise lines, something that my father was especially proud of considering his own national service was spent at sea as a Merchant Navy Engineering Officer. One of my few regrets is that my dad was not being able to see Edward march in this year's rememberance parade wearing his Merchant Navy Uniform. Sadly my dad was just too tired by then to make the trip round to the sea front.

My dad was born in 1931 and attended the Hartlepool Boys Technical Day School. Like many a Hartlepool lad before him he served his time in the drawing office at British Steel before joining the Merchant Navy as an Engineering Officer with the Empire Line. While in the Merchant Navy he served on troopships for both the Suez conflict and the Korean War. My dad's involvement with the sea did not end when he left the Merchant Navy as he was a member of Tees Sailing Club for many years and was Commodore of the club in the 1980's. He was an accomplished table tennis player in his youth and a keen cyclist. In 1951 he and a group of friends even cycled to London and back to see the Festival of Britain. He hadn't played competitive table tennis for many years but he still went for a ride on his bike nearly every day.

After completing his national service Derek retuned to Hartlepool and worked in Port Clarence at British Steel (Chemicals) where he was the Works Engineer until his retirement in 1995. After retiring my dad took my mother on various holidays to visit many of the ports he had called at during his time in the Merchant Navy. This included far east destinations such as Honk Kong and Shanghai. My parents loved Hong Kong and also made two trips to China to see the Forbidden City, the great Wall and the Terracotta Army (or the Territorial Army as my mother called it!). My dad's engineering background however was never far behind and the Three Rivers Hydro Electric Scheme in China was something that impressed him tremendously.

My dad never lost his inquiring mind or his love of a challenge. He and my mother took up skiing when they were in their 50's and he became an accomplished downhill skier before an accident on the piste, where a novice skier collided with him, left him with a damaged knee and ended his involvement with the sport. At 80 years of age he was “the man who can” for several people in Hartlepool when it came to computer problems. I would regularly come home and find my PC had been upgraded without my knowledge since my “hard drive partition was not the latest version” or some other reason that was gobbledygook to me but not to my dad.

I could go on and on. As a Rotarian he visited Rumania to work on a children's hospital, the conditions under which these children lived, and died, was one of the few things I ever knew to make my dad cry. Until 2007 my dad was Chairman of the Hartlepool Headland Parish Council and a Hartlepool Borough Councillor, an Independent member, he had no time for party politics in local government, he thought local councillors should represent their communities and not play party political games. He applied his considerable carpentry skills to building more than one sailing dingy in the basement at home, he could dig a trench with a JCB back actor and drive a bulldozer. He and I worked together to build my current house and last year our family project was the installation of a ground source heat pump, which is currently saving me over £2,000 a year in heating oil bills. However, I think one of the things he would be most proud off are a bunch of flowers that arrived for my mother today. They are from friends of his granddaughter, Rosemary. The flowers made me cry but they were a fantastic tribute. Several of these young people are coming to his funeral on Friday because they loved him like a granddad of their own.

RIP Derek Allison 1931 - 2011

Funeral Service will be held at 10.30am at St.Hildas Church on Friday 25th November 2011. The family would be delighted if anyone who knew my dad and will genuinely miss him would like to come along.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Putting Hartlepool First

Straight talk and political parties are two things that seem to rarely go together, but a new party launched in Hartlepool, wants to change that. Their aim is to do exactly what their party name says, they are “Putting Hartlepool First”.

Putting Hartlepool First don’t care if you are Labour, Tory, Lib-Dem, UKIP, Green or just about any other party in your national views, so long as at local level you agree to set party politics aside and Put Hartlepool First.

“Hartlepool Hospital is a classic case of national party policy being enforced over local interest” said Hartlepool First’s Leader, Councillor Geoff Lilley. “While the Labour government were in power the town’s Labour Councillors were almost totally silent about the issue, because it was Labour Party Policy. Now the Con-Dems are in power Hartlepool’s labour Councillors are claiming to have always opposed the hospital closure. In my opinion it’s just cynical opportunism and party politics at it’s worst”

Hartlepool First intend to field candidates in the 2012 local elections, which will be fought under the new boundaries. “There is another example of party politics being placed above local interests” said Councillor Steve Gibbon, party treasurer of Hartlepool First. “The new boundaries appear to have been drawn to advantage the Labour party not reflect local wishes. The Headland and Harbour Ward is the glaring example but most of the other ward boundaries are set for party political advantage, not to reflect the natural communities within the town.”

The new party believe that the people of Hartlepool are ready for a change and want councillors who represent them and who Put Hartlepool First. “For too many Councillors in Hartlepool Civic Centre it looks like they put party first, political career second and Hartlepool at best a distant third” said Hartlepool First’s campaigns officer, Stephen Allison. “Hartlepool First want to change those priorities. We want to put Hartlepool First.”

The party has formally registered with the UK Electoral Commission as “Hartlepool Independents – Putting Hartlepool First” and has its own logo. Registration as a party is vital if the group want to stand any chance of really influencing decisions in the Hartlepool Civic Centre. Under the Local Government Act registered parties have several advantages denied to individual independents. “It’s the old story about a bundle of sticks together being stronger than a load of single sticks” said Party Leader Geoff Lilley. “In Hartlepool Council at the moment the independents are easily brushed aside because they don’t work together. Forming Hartlepool First means we can combine our strength and really have a chance of defeating decades of Labour dominance in the Council Chamber”.


Contact details; Geoff Lilley, 01429 291542 geoff.lilley@gmail

Wednesday, 9 November 2011