Today I learned of the death of one of my Hartlepool Hughes relations. Alan Hughes was a first cousin to my Grandfather Hughes. Although they were separated by over 35 years, they were still in the same Hughes generation. Alan was the son and youngest of six children born to Aidan and Florence Lester Hughes and lived his life in Hartlepool, England.
My two brothers and I met Alan and his wife Judy back in 2003 when we had the wonderful opportunity to travel across the pond to England. My English roots used to be one of my genealogy brick walls. In 2001 a delightful English lady contacted me after she saw my home page on the net and saw that I had Hartlepool relations. It was a serendipitous meeting. Her home was only about a 15 minute drive from Hartlepool and she was more than willing to work on my family in the local libraries. You can probably imagine that I was doing the "genealogy happy dance"!
My new English friend also found an inquiry on one of the UK sites regarding relations of George Henry Hughes of Hartlepool, my great great grandfather. I e-mailed the writer and was immediately put in touch with his mother, who is Alan's sister, Betty. We began to correspond and a seed was planted and I was in a "need to" frame of mind to get to England and Hartlepool.
Alan, Judy and Betty welcomed us to their town like we were American royality. We were squired around Hartlepool and met many Hughes relations. Alan and Judy spirited us away one afternoon and drove us out into the country to see their caravan. We spent a delightful afternoon eating fish and chips and then went to the caravan park's recreation center for drinks. I remember that Alan loved to drink shandy's....a mixture of beer and lemonade...a summertime favorite in England.
Alan must have known everyone in Hartlepool. When we drove through town, folks would stop and walk over to the car to give Alan their best, or to share a laugh or a remembrance. He was truly loved and respected. A jovial fellow with a big smile and a hearty laugh--full of stories of his beloved Hartlepool and family.
Alan, you will be missed by your family and friends on both sides of the pond. I wish we could have spent more time with you and will cherish the memories of our visit.
From the Hartlepool Mail, Hartlepool, England
Hughes, Alan. On, Friday, 25, September, at Hartlepool Hospice, after a short illness, fought with dignity, Alan, aged 75 years, loved and treasured husband of Judith, a devoted father and best friend to Alan, Trevor, Beverley and Julie, a dear father-in-law, adored granda and great-granda. Funeral service to take place on Friday, October 2, at St Aidan's Church, 12 noon, prior to interment at Stranton Cemetery. Friends please meet at the church. Please feel free to wear colours.
Next to you. You cannot see or touch me, but I'm standing next to you, your tears can only hurt me, your sadness makes me blue, be brave and show a smiling face, let not your grief show through, I love you from a different place, yet I'm standing next to you.