Graham's final journey

Darren C

Admin Team
The admin team considered whether or not we should publish any more news on Graham given that the rawness of loss is such an emotional experience. It is obvious that sharing such sad news can trigger other memories that we have in addition to those of Graham. After due consideration, we do feel that it is fitting for Graham's final journey to be shared with the members, as many would have liked to have been at the funeral in person to pay respects and it is a shared closure for some too.
P
lease do pass on this thread if it might cause you any upset.

Graham's funeral was well attended on Friday. The cortege was made up of 8 A2s and a gull-wing Tesla. I have a feeling that Graham would have approved of both models, though the A2 would have been the chariot of choice as the better innovative package, there is no doubt.

I have included some images from the day courtesy of @murdo and @Teresa. Teresa's black and white image of the funeral car and A2s captures everything beautifully. I have added Murdo's eulogy, which is very touching and I'm sure is relatable to those that knew Graham best, and also the eulogy of close family friend Fraser, which really is as insightful as it is beautifully crafted and impeccably written.

RIP dearest Graham @spike, rest in peace, always remembered, forever in our thoughts.

Spike 1.jpg


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Eulogy from our Murdo and good friend to Graham and Janet

It might surprise you to know that the quiet man Graham Keith Paterson was something of a celebrity. Much respected and admired.

To the Audi A2 Owners Club he was Spike..that was his screen name on our website. Spike was Graham's cat.

Those knowing him well would often speak of his mantras . There were a few.. but the one which sums him up best .

If you've nowt good to say then say nothing.


Today as always I've only good things to say about you my friend.

Graham bought an Audi A2 in May 2001 after much painstaking research that tested Lake District Audi staff to the limits. Everything had to be just so for the precision engineer buying a piece of innovative engineering years ahead of its time.

He joined the A2 club in April 2002 and over 20 years the name Spike became synonymous with all that was good about our community. He was kind. Helpful. Articulate Knowledgeable. Enthusiastic. Humorous. An incredible memory for details. And a wee bit eccentric.

A private man, Graham was never comfortable in social settings. He told me that his colleagues at Cummins Engines called him the Olympic flame .


Because he never went out.

Graham was much happier at home pottering about the garage on one of his many projects or in the garden. With Jan and their dog Meeka.
He didn't attend our social meets . Much happier with the anonymous help and support he provided to the A2 community in the UK and beyond. Usually in the wee small hours.


He's provided that help and support around 9000 times over 20 years. And that legacy will live on as long as these quirky little aluminum cars remain on the roads of Europe. Graham will still be helping owners maintain their cars. I think he'd like that.

A reluctant tourist, Jan always had to push, prod and persuade Graham to travel anywhere. Its an achievement in itself that she managed to holiday with Graham at a cottage in Ullapool. A place they returned to once it was in the comfort zone ..


So when I suggested to meet with this happily anti social character, it was unthinkable!

With persuasion from Jan and myself however, he agreed reluctantly. Years later he wrote to me reflecting on that meeting. Describing his expectations about the 2 hour journey as going to be 'a waste of diesel'!
A Yorkshireman with Scottish roots, he was born to be a canny man!

However it was my great privilege that he also wrote how wrong his expectations were. Hours melted away in conversation and on returning home to Dalton he couldn't wait for the next time we met. And so a most unlikely friendship took up roots and I'll cherish the memories of visiting Dalton with my family , my kids playing in the garden with Meeka and the quiet look of contentment on Graham's face.

And so it happened that the reluctant tourist, and mythical figure from A2OC , Spike, blew out the olympic flame and started to go out.


Yes it was awkward for him , but he enjoyed it. He never realised the high esteem he was held in by our community. I'll admit to being a little star struck the first time we met . I know many others had exactly the same sentiments.

So to finish, another unthinkable thing happened. Graham suggested an A2 Club social weekend in his home village of Dalton. The second of which most poignantly starts today. The first having been a great success.

And now, it will be the first of many Spike Memorial meetings we will hold each September.

Goodbye dear Spike. You'll always live on within A2OC.



Eulogy from family friend Fraser, a real insight into our friend Graham

Good afternoon everyone,

We are gathered here today to celebrate Grahams life.

For those of you who do not know me, I’m Fraser, a friend and former Dalton resident and neighbour of Janet and Graham.

My first memory of Graham was 20 years ago as he offered his help, we were renovating a cottage. Graham loved helping people especially with practical things, he was extremely skilled from a practical perspective and in fact a perfectionist, sometimes referred to by Janet as ‘Percy perfect!’ These skills were infinitely useful in helping my dad and I as over many months as we completed our new family home in Dalton. As I got to know Graham I realised he had a mischievous sense of humour and on many occasions found myself quietly chuckling to Graham’s jokes often with Janet affectionately the butt of the joke!

Graham was born in 1946 in Newcastle, son of Lydia and John Paterson younger brother to Michael. Graham’s father worked for Anglo American oil as depot foreman at an oil distribution centre. Graham’s mother worked as a nursing sister at Newcastle General hospital.

Graham’s father died in 1948 when Graham was just 2 years old.

Graham recalled with great fondness Aunty Florrie and Uncle Bob, neighbours who became surrogate parents to the boys when their mother had to work all hours to make ends meet and bring up the young boys alone after their father’s death.

Graham was mischievous from a very young age and his sense of fun and humour became apparent very early on.

When Graham was 7 the family relocated to the rural village of Rothbury to a children’s convalesce home called Whitton Towers where Graham’s mother worked as a sister. This is where Graham developed an appreciation for the rural way of life and in particular nature and animals.

Whitton Towers was renowned for being haunted and at just 7 years old, Graham ably assisted by brother Michael saw this as a great opportunity for fun. It was alleged the old vicar based there hundreds of years ago had an affair with a maid who died in one of the towers. Graham and Michael would raid the laundry for sheets and run up and down the dark tunnels rattling doors and making spooky noises scaring the patients and nurses alike!

In 1958 when Graham was 12 years old the family moved to live with Uncle Fred in Billingham.

Graham’s eye for detail and perfectionism came in to its own when he left school and went to Constantine College in Middlesbrough to become a draughtsman and worked for Head Wrightson the large industrial manufacturers.

Graham and Janet met in 1968 when both were working at British Titan Products in Billingham. Janet had been left broken hearted and had given up men for good! To make her feel better a friend had set her up with Graham. On their first official date Graham took Janet to Oulton park in Cheshire to see a car race. Her mother was very uncertain about this, insisted Janet wore a longer dress and made Graham come in the house for a good onceover before letting Janet go on the date!

And that was it! A relationship lasting a lifetime was formed. Janet and Graham married in June 1970 and very soon after moved to Dalton. Graham often recalled building their own house whilst living with Mrs Bulmer in a tiny cottage in Dalton with no running hot water. He said it was the ultimate incentive to get Bellsgarth built where they remained to this day.

Graham spent most of his working years at Cummings engines in Darlington. Graham was responsible for researching and customising Cummings products to fit various applications from Trucks to generators and boats. He loved the technical side of this job. Graham retired at 58 and had 18 years happily retired.

Dalton was their home, their community, almost like an extended family for them both. For those that have never lived in Dalton…it’s a special community and the last couple of weeks have shown just how wonderful the people of Holmedale really are.

Graham always had a project on the go! Ok… he always had many projects on the go! From improving the noise vibration and harshness on the A2 to building a vintage motorcycle, or changing the windows in the house, or retrieving tones of wood from a field to cut and split with his incredible home-made log splitter, he was always busy.

Graham loved animals, however in spite of this when Janet announced Becky Coates had a dog that needed a home it was a flat no from Graham. As many of you will know Janet has a quiet determination about certain things and she was not going to accept no for an answer. She told Graham and anyone else that would listen she was having that dog end of. So, Graham went to the kennels with Janet to collect Holly. Holly promptly ignored Janet and went trotting over to Graham and they became firm friends. Graham had his favourite seat somewhere between the log burner, the big window with a view over Holmedale and the remote control so he could watch the Moto GP, and always at his side or on his knee was his dog!

Graham was a gentle, quiet man and most of his movements were slow and considered, he was not one for jumping about and certainly not running. One afternoon, soon after Holly arrived in Dalton I was up a ladder at the side of the house. I heard Graham calling Holly very loudly, then like a scene from a carry on film, I saw Graham sprinting at great speed across the village green; Holly was on the loose. All soon went calm when Holly was found outside Janet’s second home, the village hall!

Bellsgarth is also home to Tiggy the cat, who Graham was also very fond of and who unlike any cat I know likes to go for a walk with the dog. Graham and Janet also have what is probably best described as a hedgehog sanctuary in the back garden where Graham had created a Camera trap so they could watch the activities of the hedgehogs at night.

Graham was not one for going out or going on holiday; he was a reluctant tourist. In fact he refused to renew his passport so he could be at home more, however every year in May Janet and Graham would go away on holiday for their birthdays to Scotland, Graham only went because his friend Hector in Scotland had a bigger garage than Graham! Janet however liked to travel more and would go with or without Graham and branched out on many trips.

One trip Janet did quite regularly was a trip to Stobo Castle. Graham religiously gave the car a good check over before Janet went on a long journey. Sarah, who lives next door saw Graham diligently checking the car over knowing Janet was going off to Stobo again and said to Graham ‘it’s so nice to see you care so much for Janet you check the car over whenever she goes away’. Graham’s reply was typical Graham he said with a wry grin, ‘I’m just cutting the break pipes’ and went straight back under the car!

Graham was most at home in the garage, this is a treasure trove of carefully placed items, just the kind of place you would not want children to go! However Grahams garage was right in the eye line of my children as they came out of our drive. He kind of had no choice but to interact with them when they went and lingered beside him on the drive asking questions as children do, he was wonderful with them, he was so patient and kind and it brought the best out in Graham and it was so lovely to see!

Graham had 76 mainly happy and healthy years. His illness was relatively short and to be entirely honest it came as a huge shock for so many of us, not least of all Janet. Graham’s final words came in an email to Janet.

Hi Jan


Things to do

Remove LED headlamp bulbs from Terios

In case Stephen does not know here is a Typical guide off youtube

Also remove control boxes for bulbs

Replace with H4 bulbs

Find Terios log book

Empty glove box


Love Graham

Just a few hours later Graham had gone.

It was so obvious for all to see that Graham Loved Janet very much.

It is with Janet in our minds and in our hearts that I say “Thank you”. Thank you for bringing Graham in to our lives and thank you for the wonderful memories this has given us. They will remain with us forever. Rest in peace Graham.
 

Sootywg

Member
I have only just heard this sad news. I have not been on the site since 19th Aug. I have read the tributes and can only say that I clearly missed out on not having met one of the stalwarts of the A2OC. I have benefitted from several of his posts. My heart goes out to his family at such a difficult time.
Geoff
 

murdo

Admin Team
Not sure how you add to that. Met Spike only once and I realised he read everything. However he only said anything if it were worth saying. He said it with very few words. Every word is worth reading. RIP Spike.
He did indeed Phil. Another Spike Mantra was 'every question deserves an answer '. Retiring from the A2OC admin team when he was 70, this was one of his concerns that this standard would be maintained. I can't pretend we have upheld that , however it was a positive and community spirited example Spike set. Regardless if the question had been asked before, you'd be rest assured of a measured and friendly steer from Spike. A treasure of a human being. ✨
 

Mr Angry

Member
Heartfelt condolences go out to Spike and family. He will be sorely missed on this forum for his knowledge of A2's inside and out. I never got to meet him in person but helped me out on several occasions, which i will never forget.

I have to echo the comment from philward above in his reply but what a fantastic and well written Eulogy from Murdo!

Kudos to you and the rest of the Admin team for all the support given on this forum throughout the years...no other forum has this kind of passion or care and may it continue...

Cameron
 
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