About Pa Bagshawe

It makes sense that before I go into this recent dark history I tell you about my Pa. I could spew an array of positive adjectives your way that would perfectly describe him. He was funny, kind, sensitive, sarcastic, independent, courageous, warm and so much more. He wasn’t a traditional Father in a sense as he spent a good portion of my childhood working hard to provide and it wasn’t until I became a teenager that I was truly honoured to find out about the man he was. He was intelligent beyond belief, one of those annoying types that only has to read things twice for it to be committed to memory and always full of inspiring and useless facts that would become novels as he would reveal it to you.
An Engineer and Mechanic by trade, he was brought up in Eyam with his older brother and five older sisters, which of course made him the youngest of quite a big family all the while living in a small two story cottage in the midst of nowhere. From a young age he was tested with a unique path having been diagnosed with Rheumatic Fever, a deadly disease that wasn’t uncommon back in the fifties but thankfully only left him with a mildly damaged heart that would be monitored until an eventual aortic valve replacement in his forties.
Despite this medical setback, he was pretty fit. Many a tale as a kid involved biking between towns and villages, swimming outdoors in Hathersage or trekking from nearby Chesterfield to get to evening class and complete his qualifications. After a brief stint in the Royal Air Force, for which he left through a touch of boredom, he became well known in the Peak community circles for being able to rip apart, diagnose and put back together anything that ran on petrol and diesel. He also dabbed his toe in the pond at transporting heavy goods across the Scottish border before settling with a nationwide company that fixes fork lift trucks. My teenage years are highlighted with evening roadtrips around Sheffield and the Peaks in his immaculately clean works van as we burnt our tongues of McDonalds Radioactive Apple Pies and indulged in their Hot Chocolates (if the machine was still on).
But he was so much more than a mechanic by trade and our Father. He wasn’t just vastly intelligent in engines and such that I know nothing of. He always had an affinity for History and loved nothing more than to immerse himself in the Simon Schama trilogy of books that sprawled over the years of British History. He was often nose deep in any book in act that involved learning about Humanitarian studies or Literature and was versed in so much that you wouldn’t have been surprised if he suddenly sprung that he was a Professor in the subject. It all spelled back to his childhood, he told me that he had a passion for his History teacher in Secondary School who encouraged his early interest. Whilst he didn’t per sue it further within an educational environment, he spent many years self learning and there wasn’t a holiday missed where it didn’t revolved around museums or historic buildings.
In hindsight, my Father wasn’t akin to children. He usually got himself in trouble by waking us up after we were settled in bed or by behaving more immature than we would have done at our own young age. He knew his role was to provide and for that he worked above and beyond, all hours of the day and night to ensure the mortgage and bills were paid with enough left over for us to live comfortably as a family. Only as me and my two brothers got older did our special bond form with our Father once we were able to see the real unique man he was and that long list of personality traits I attached to him at the beginning of this chapter.
He was also quiet, introverted and would often tell me how he felt a nuisance to this world, something I inherited and something in which we bonded having realised we both felt this torture of feeling unworthy of everything. His patience was thin, not uncommon in a man and he would, like me, retreat into his shell of a mind if things got tough which infuriated those around when they worried deeply about his physical and emotional absence.
I haven’t yet told you my Father’s name. It should naturally be the first sentence of the chapter, of the book in fact but that’s because I wanted you to build a man in your mind, I wanted you to build a character. Imagine a tall man, with glasses, little hair and a smile so warm and bright that it could blow your socks off, though this is difficult to find in a photograph as he never could resist a stupid face.
My Father was Stephen Bagshawe. The e is important. But not half as important as the man he was, the person he was and the unique, special creature that I spent twenty-seven years of my life with. I hope I have been able to paint a picture and to do him justice, though in reality that could never happen as the relationship between a Father and Daughter is always unique and so my memory of him will always sparkle brighter than any star in the sky.
But in the pages ahead I hope you learn from him a mere ounce of what I did. He was a wise creature and though he didn’t know it, he created ripples of warmth to those he met despite feeling he was never enough to exist.
And another thing. He wrote. He has years worth of diaries that are filled with facts of the weather, notes of work and trips we might have taken. As he became sick I encouraged him to write which he did so with little prompt. Through his words as well as my own you can see the massive challenge he faced in coming to terms with his own premature death and an illness that stripped him clean of everything he thought he was. I personally love to write but never felt confident or compelled to want to share my thoughts with a wider audience. But regarding my Father, I am to driven to share his story, to share the man he was so that his memory can live on forever outside of just our family.
Stephen Bagshawe. Remember that name. For he will change your life.

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