The real face of legacies:
"Thank you so much Fred, you will be missed by many"
Sadly we have lost one of best supporters, who loved children and gave generously to Leo House from the start. He kindly left us a donation in his will. His family and friends collected for Leo at his funeral and a family gathering recently raised another £150.
Here are a few words about Fred Coombs:
Fred was born in 1926 South East London. The family wasn't that well off. They lived in a small terrace house but even with the 7 children, they rented out the bottom floor and all lived upstairs with a cooker on the landing to get a bit more money. But despite that Fred had a happy childhood. He would play outside on the street all the time.
During the war he was evacuated with 2 of his brothers to near Midhurst and he had fond memories of those times, out in the countryside, playing in the fields, feeding the chickens. He was a bright boy but ended up leaving school at 15. He had joined the Air Training Corps in 1941 and was in the Home Guard for a while and then was called up to the Fleet Air Arm. He was an aircraft mechanic and went to Ceylon and Egypt.
When he was in his 20's and 30's he enjoyed wrestling, weight-lifting, canoeing, swimming, cycling. He cycled over the Pyrenees. In fact he was still cycling in his late 70's and swimming in the sea. He used to cycle down to Newhaven from London with a group of friends and that was how he met Sylvia, in a B&B. She was the land-lady's daughter. They were married in 1959 and were together for 46 years. He was very proud of his 3 children and 4 grandchildren.
Fred worked at the power-station in Shoreham and later transferred to Seaboard in Brighton. He had a lovely little job as an electrical fitter and the sub-stations out in the country. He would be out all day in his van, picking blackberries, drinking tea, watching the birds and, of course doing his work.
He was a great DIY-er. He looked after his own cars and everyone else's. He could build walls, concrete, paint. And he wouldn't take money for any of the help he gave people. He was a very out-going man. He made friends easily. He would talk to anyone. He spoke his mind and he was, by all accounts, a bit of a flirt as well!