Friday, 28 February 2014

On Mr. Woodman....this ain't no dress rehearsal!

Does attending the funeral of the local Lollipop Man mean I have been living here for too long???? 

I don’t know. But I did attend the funeral of the local Lollipop Man this morning, the wonderful Mr. Peter Woodman. Adored by Broomwood mums, children and dogs alike, it would have been his 80th birthday today, and his was a life to be admired. The Reverend kept saying, “make the most of it, like Pete did, make the most of it.” 

His granddaughters, with red eyes and broken voices, read a lovely poem in his honour. A former co-worker from Madame Tussauds gave a personal, often funny, certainly emotional, eulogy. That is when we learned just how naughty our Mr. Woodman had been. But of course we knew that. That is why we loved him so. No one can resist a mischievous twinkle in the eye. Or if they can, why know them? Mr. Woodman charmed us all, and judging by the standing-room only crowd in the chapel, he will be greatly missed by many.

Before he came to us, he had been in the Merchant Navy, lived and worked in New Zealand, run pubs from Cornwall to London, worked at Madam Tussauds and Tower Bridge. During his crossing guard years, he not only saved so many of us from the perils of Nightingale Lane, but called all the children by name, admired new scooters, trainers, pencil cases and hair ties with sincerity and stood in as grandfather on Broomwood Grandparent’s Day, cheerfully eating jam and ‘cress sandwiches (yes, the two ingredients mixed together). All the dogs knew he had treats in his pockets; tails wagged ferociously in his presence. And of course, he famously served as judge in the legendary one-off Broomwood Hall Dog Show, on Clapham Common, in 2010. As his former Madame Tussauds co-worker mentioned today, come recent Christmas times, his flat would be filled with tokens from Broomwood families: cards, chocolates, bottles (lots of bottles), and apparently one year a brace of pheasants.... well it is Broomwood afterall!

He embraced every stage of his life and it hugged him back. Family, friends, co-workers, local families....we all kept in touch, we were all there today. He lived life. He loved people. They loved him back. We should all be so lucky when our time comes.

 Ok, so Mr. Woodman was a good guy. What does this have to do with running or building libraries or life? Well, the short answer is: nothing. But the long answer.....well that is where the living takes place. What you put into life is what you get out of it. If anyone reading this is tempted to spend the evening moping, feeling sorry for themselves, nestling down into a cave of self-pity, DON’T. Think of Mr. Woodman. 
Go running, read a good book, ring up a friend and share a laugh. Best of all, pour yourself a large gin & tonic (Mr. W’s tipple of choice), shout “make the most of it,” a few times and then toast his memory. 
Folks, this ain’t no dress rehearsal. Live. Today.


  1. my dear friend I miss u xxx

  2. its two years since you left us and I think of you often Peter xx

  3. Thinking about you at Xmas 2017 xxxx still miss you dear friend