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I’ll miss you Dad, from the bottom of my heart

My dad was born in Belper, Derbyshire, on October 7, 1944, after his mother Vera was evacuated there during the Second World War.

Along with his dad, Len, the family lived in a house in Ingram Road, Gillingham, and his brother, Malcolm, followed three years later.

Dad first went to Forge Lane Primary School before moving onto Gillingham Grammar School for Boys.

From there, he joined Rentaset in Hopewell Drive, Chatham, and it is there he met secretary Susan Smith. He helped install television cables and repair TV sets across Medway.

Mick White
Mick White

Just back from a holiday in Italy, he was tall, dark and handsome. He invited Susan to his 21st birthday party and two weeks later asked her on a date. Three years later, they were married at Christ Church in Luton in July 1968.

Their first home was in Settington Avenue, Chatham, and I was born in March 1971. My brother, Andrew, followed in June 1974. We moved to Juniper Close, Walderslade, in September 1974 but six months later moved to Hall Road in Lordswood where my parents stayed until 2009. After a brief move to Maidstone, they moved to Rainham in 2012.

Work wise, my dad moved from Rentaset (which later became Radio Rentals) to a company called Greenwich Cablevision.

It moved him into television production; the company has since been bought out many times but you would now know it as Virgin Media.

From there, he joined Kent Police television unit in 1977. His work there included making training videos for police officers, helping record video evidence at the scene of crimes, making TV appeals and producing a TV show appealing for witnesses to come forward. One of those presenters was David Hatcher, who would go on to join a national version of the show, Crimewatch.

At one point, Kent’s television unit – which dad went on to head up – was one of the best in the country, but as technology changed as officers were able to record their own evidence on easy to operate cameras, the unit’s role moved into CCTV.

It included offering businesses advice on how many cameras they should have and where to place them. Mum remembers dad poring over the plans for Bluewater for hours, tweaking all the settings and then cursing when he found out it was to be landscaped with large trees – and he had to redo all the camera angles. There may have been frustrations but dad quite simply loved his job. Over the years, he was asked to go and work for many high-profile companies, with a higher wage, but he didn’t want to.

He did part-time work including teaching electronics at North West Kent College in Dartford and pulling pints behind the bar at police headquarters in Maidstone. It helped pay for us to go on camping holidays to Devon, Cornwall, the Isle of Wight among others. He was never happier than when he was with his family, or pottering about at home. He loved a project which could be redecorating the house, servicing the family cars and at our Lordswood home he even built the conservatory and relaid the driveway.

Nikki with her dad.
Nikki with her dad.

He did not like a lot of fuss or grand gestures, preferring a day out with family, but also enjoyed to travel and visited America, Hawaii, Cyprus and Australia with my mum.

His passion was jazz, but he would listen to it through headphones as he knew it wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea. He also loved photography. Once he retired, I caught the bug too and he taught me a lot about taking a good picture, hours I now cherish.

Dad was a clever man, quietly brilliant but never boastful and able to turn his hand to most things.

He passed away on December 12, after a brave battle with cancer. We didn’t realise how many others’ lives he had touched until now, the deluge of cards, letters, phone calls and messages showing testament to that.

Several have summed him up as not only a gentleman but a gentle man and for dad that seems perfect. We will miss him every day.

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