In memory of Terence John Little
05/11/1950 - 19/11/2020
Terry was born in Newbury, but moved to London 'as a nipper', going from East to North West and spending the majority of his life (40 years) in Harlesden.
Youngest son of Alfred and Ethel Little, brother of Georgie, Terry (Dad) grew up in a house full of love on Shirland Road, and no doubt a level of shenanigans if his stories from childhood are anything to go by.
Dad turned his hand to all sorts of jobs, from selling fruit and veg on a stall, and then in Whiteleys to driving a double decker. This was in the days when you could still smoke upstairs and you learned to drive on a massive skid pad. We were not sure quite how true the story was, but dad would regale us of a tale on the skid pad where his instructor had to ask him to stop and throw up - as dad was having such fun throwing the route master around and turning it into funfair ride!
After his fill of not great hours, and literal fill of diesel fumes in the lungs, with 2 small children at home, Dad hung up his TFL License and swapped it for a flat-bed truck. Working for H Randel and Co for many years, and being a serious magpie, I had the most random selection of 'furniture' (usually kitchen tops and scaffold poles) turned into desks, shelving etc. I guess Dad was just too advanced for designers - you'd pay a fortune for that look now!
Every job Dad had after walking away from fruit and veg, involved driving of some sort. Never shy of a hard day's work, Dad took that ethic to an extreme when he became a 'contractor' for WH Smith News resulting in him working 364 nights a year - with only Christmas Eve off. Due to no employment rights, Dad had to retire in 2014 in order for him to have a knee replacement. Despite my constant pleas to get legal advice, or a job literally anywhere else, Dad was happy. Predominantly, because he was able to work all those years with his infamous 3-legged co-pilot Petal. She too worked 364 nights a year, perched on her bench seat of Dad's van, waiting for treats from other drivers. Despite the 3 legs, and generally being the most soppy dog you could encounter, she was Dad's fiercest protector as co-pilot. If he took too long at a drop, she would be out of the cab and looking for him. As is the fun of late-night deliveries, she also ensured Dad and his cargo were kept safe by faking an exceptionally ferocious face and bark. As equally famous in Harlesden as Dad was, it broke all our hearts to lose her in 2018.
Dad lived for his children, and not just the human ones! My brother and I knew we were loved deeply, but we also knew Dad's dog was on equal (if not at times a bit higher) pegging.
At a glance, Dad could look and sound like a character you'd want to avoid off Eastenders. But, show him a puppy, kitten or any furry animal he could cuddle and the facade was melted away in seconds. He always told me not to trust someone who doesn't like animals, and especially not someone who would ever hurt them. That advice hasn't done me wrong so far.
Although if you had 4 legs, you were high on Dad's love list, he did like people too! From spending so long in Harlesden, only moving from one end to the other in 40 years, it was impossible to go out and about without Dad knowing, and then spending an age talking to, someone. When you're young, and impatient, this is so annoying. However, as you grow and see the true connection of community, you realise how impressive it is. And in recent months, it's shown me just how loved Dad was too.
In 2018, Dad was dealt a double blow of losing his beloved dog Petal, and his son Jamie within a few weeks of each other. Dad and Jamie's bond was stronger than just father and son, they were best friends too. He would have, and did, anything he could for my brother and I. His heart, as you would expect, never mended from that loss.
Now in 2020, we've been on a journey with him, one which I admit we'd rather not have. In April, Dad suffered a severe stroke. He was then resident in Charring Cross Hospital for 12 weeks and 3 days before we got to see him in person and hug him. Initially full of drive and determination to be well enough to walk his dog again, sadly due to resource and the pandemic, that drive was not matched by services. Ever the one to keep trying, Dad did just that, but sadly his body had other ideas. Neary 4 months to the day from his return home, he was finally able to have peace and leave his physical overcoat.
Although we hurt, for so many reasons, especially losing Dad in the way we did. We are also so grateful for our own little silver lining amongst the pain. We were able, with the support of the most amazing and wonderful care staff I have ever met, to show Dad how much he was loved and say our pro-longed goodbyes.
Terry was your friend, your neighbour, a husband and father. We all have our own memories and stories about him, which we will continue to hold near.