Meet Fred

Posted by olly rzysko on

He was my Great Grandad... here's a story about him, the candle named after him and when he chased some kids dressed as Santa.
Every candle we make has a story, one that is important to me. They are very happy stories that hopefully can go on to make changes happen and raise some money for good causes.

So this is Fred. He was my Great Grandad, and yeah he was great. He died when I was very young but for some reason remember him very well. He was left handed and the only leftie in the family until I came along and for some reason that was a big deal.

Fred was a character, I have never probed but I imagine he was a bit of a lad (I mean, check out his fade in the picture). He had a heart of gold and spent his last few years being retired, playing golf and in his garden in Ramsgate. I can still see that garden today, the smell of the tomatoes growing in the greenhouse, the waves of flowers, the vegetable patch at the back where he would have bonfires and the mystical smell of the garage.

The candle we created that carries his name is so nostalgic for me. It smells of the beautiful flowers that seemed to bloom forever, the long grass and the roses that filled the air. It's one of the first floral candles I've smelt that completely avoids that dreadful air freshener vibe.

However, my favourite story I was told was when he volunteered at Tesco in Ramsgate to be Santa Claus in their grotto. Now this story has probably evolved over the years but here goes. He was dressed up as Santa, and from memory this was at the top of the escalators. Some cheeky teenagers decided to play a prank and as they whizzed past him while talking to an excited toddler they pulled his (fake) beard.
This was not a good idea.

Fred gently put the kid down and in true Thanet spirit gave chase and unfortunately for them he was pretty quick. He caught them and there may have been a bit of a ruck outside Tesco. Imagine, Santa doing a citizens arrest on a teenager in the middle of a dark December in the 80's.

Rumour has it that this might have made the local newspaper but my family deny all knowledge.

I've been lucky. I had several incredibly grandads all of which had a huge impact on my life.

John was a sailer (pictured below with me dressed as a Victorian child). He was covered in tattoos, loved a roll up cigarette and a can of Fosters but also loved taking us camping as kids and singing Dolly Parton in his bright orange split screen VW Campervan.
Grandad John Shepherdson
Denis worked on the trains (here with the birthday cake). I don't know if he was a train driver but I found that really cool as a kid. He was a giant of a man to me but looking back maybe he wasn't that tall.

Victor, wow what a guy. He taught me business and how to enjoy it. He lived life well and did a huge amount for community and for his family. You'd find him hiding in his workshop or in the garden having a cheeky fag with his slippers and smoking jacket on. Slicked back hair, cravats, perfect moustache and a spark in his eye. My family still live in the home he bought in 1973 and it is his legacy that my daughter now enjoys that space and the incredible garden that surrounds it.

This candle donates 10% of sales to CALM, the campaign against living miserably. It's sad to type this but I have lost 5 friends to suicide since I was 18. All male, all under 40. That's dreadful but CALM provide resources to try and prevent suicide and support those in need.

Love you all


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