I just found out a man who, if I’d given any thought to over the past few years I would have assumed was dead, died today. Aged 99, I can imagine him being disappointed he didn’t make a century actually.
He was secretary at my school, well no actually, he’d retired by the time I met him. I don’t know how he got involved in my village’s twinning association but oh boy was he involved.
Harry with a rucksack almost the size of him joining the bus with enthusiasm and enough energy for thirty. At a ceildh or any sort of dance really guaranteed he’d be up on the dancefloor sharpish and whirling around like there was no tomorrow.
He especially danced with a woman from the French side, Lizbeth who was equally energetic and of similar height. They would frequently be the first on the floor and the last to leave. A chunk of my adolescence is filled by smoky village halls, loud ceildh music and Harry Minns dancing with enthusiasm.
He was on a team that took out two U-boats in World War Two, he vaguely remembered Dawn French from school, he was a very committed Christian but to me, he’s an irrepressible firecracker. He’s hiking with that rucksack from Caistor to Grasby to see his friends, he’s heading to Grimsby partly on foot and he’s bounding onto the bus to St Remy de Sille with far more cheerfulness than anyone else can cope with early in the morning. Most of all he’s dancing from the time the music starts up until they take their last bow.
Irrepressibly cheerful, ecstatically dancing, unforgettable.
Rest in Peace Harry.