Tuesday, 29 May 2012

My Tribute to my Precious Father

My dad was born in Macclesfield Cheshire in 1940.  He was the 12th child in the Sherratt family and was known as the baby of the family.  This was a large family with many stories that could be shared.  Although dad loved his family and was grateful for everyone looking out for him as he grew, he did share with me how he never appreciated being the last one in the bath water! He truly loved his family and has always spoken highly of them throughout his life. 

Mum and dad married at the grand old age of 18! They set out on a journey together that led them to Bournemouth where dad took up an apprenticeship as a plaster and tiler and mum worked as a shop assistant. 

After 2 years they moved back to Leek and I was born. 

Dad was a hard working man, he would often work all day and then take on extra work in the evenings to ensure our family had a home and our needs were taken care of.   To him, mum and I always came first.

I will always remember how much dad loved to help people in anyway that he could.  His biggest problem was that he could never say no and would often take on to much work.  He used his skills in the building trade time after time helping so many people, most of the time for little payment.  I sometimes used to get a little angry that he gave so much of his time for little return, but he used to say it’s okay, it’s how I can give to help others.  Early on I realised my dad was a generous big hearted man who genuinely cared for others. 

He believed in a fair days pay for a days work and would never consider overcharging people – a rare quality.  Dad took pride in his work and always gave his best (READ CARD).

Dad lived an uncomplicated life and his contentment with what he had was a real example to us as a family. You would never hear him saying he wanted the latest gadget, a better tool, a new car or a bigger house.  In fact, he would seek to use whatever he had to save spending his money.  This would cause him to excel in creativity!  (SHOW BRUSH)

Many knew him as a friendly guy who took people at face value and he was able to relate to most people.  He could talk for England and his conversation would go on and on and on, even with a complete stranger.  One time whilst visiting us for the weekend in MK, Alison had to rescue our postman from him as he was desperate to get on his way inching his way down the drive with Dad in close pursuit.

Dad will be remembered in our family for his famous sayings during our conversations like ‘a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush’ or ‘you can’t put an old head on young shoulders’. Some sayings I couldn’t work out like ‘six eggs in a basket don’t make seven’ or ‘a horse for the field and a dog for the path’.  Much of the time he would get them mixed up and we would just laugh.

Dad loved a laugh, he was a fun person to be with, young people and children loved him and he connected with them. He would amuse them and also many of us for hours with the latest magic trick he had just learned.

Dad enjoyed his work in the Fire and Rescue service and jumped at the opportunity to work full-time at Leek Fire Station. He valued his colleagues and the friendships he made.  I know he had a great friendship with you Joe and that continued after you both served your time in the Fire Brigade. I always chuckled when he spoke about you because he always referred to you as his sub-officer right up until he died. 

Dad’s life changed when his grandsons were born.  He became a doting grandfather to Wesley and Mitch.  There isn’t anything he wouldn’t do for the boys.  Dad Lived for Alison the boys and me, and he hated saying goodbye after a weekends visit or a holiday. 

Dad was key in the helping to renovate four churches here in Leek and also a number of other churches around the area.  He was passionate about serving the work of the Lord.  Look around today, because this is his handiwork.

My dad was so proud of me in my pastoral ministry achievements in Milton Keynes.  He kept, saying over and over, your church is incredible, full of lovely lively people from all around the world.  I believe our church had a massive impact on my dad’s faith.  He listened intently to the details of my overseas trips and was blown away by our building project at MKCC and our vision seeking to share the gospel of Jesus Christ around the world.

In the last few years his spiritual life and relationship with God accelerated.  We talked a lot about God’s love and amazing Grace for us.  Dad explained that he often felt like he was not good enough for God.  This is a common feeling with many, and the truth is that no one can ever be good enough compared to God’s righteous standards.  But thank God for Jesus! Through His death on the cross he demonstrated his love for us and paid the price for our sin so that we can be completely forgiven and accepted into God’s family.  God loves us; he is not angry with us nor does he condemn us whoever we are. 

Dad was diagnosed with lung cancer 2 years ago. He had a choice to give up or to fight; he chose to fight.  Dad drew strength from his faith in God and his word and together as a family we supported dad throughout all his treatment.  Dad finally passed away peacefully with my mum and myself by his side at home.  I am so proud of my father. 

Dad was a generous man to me in every way.  For 49 years my dad has had my back, I will miss him.  READ card

Mum, you are doing great and I am so proud of you.  The way you have loved and cared for dad is brilliant and there is nothing more that you could have done for him.  Dad leaves a huge hole in your life I know, but I am there for you, I have got your back.   My family are there for you and your friends are there for you too. 

I want to say a huge thank you to MacMillan and the carers for all the support we received in these last few months – fantastic.  God bless you.