A former Torbay magistrate once described a ‘man of the people’ by a court colleague has died aged 94. Bert Langmead, a retired manager with the Post Office, joined the bench in 1962 and served on it for 26 years. During his last nine years on the bench until he stood down in 1988, Mr Langmead was also chairman on the licensing justices. When Mr Langmead retired from the bench, numerous tributes were paid to him by policemen, solicitors and court officials. Colin Jones, who was clerk to the court at the time, described Mr Langmead as
“A man of the people” and added “You take with you not only our thanks and respect but our genuine affection and goodwill”.
Retired Torquay estate agent Barney Bettesworth, who served on the Torquay bench from 1975 to 1990, remembers his former colleague as someone who brought a common-sense approach to administering justice.
“He was a very amiable guy who was well balanced and brought a level-headed approach to the bench…I remember him as being very down to earth and someone I respected hugely during my time as a magistrate”.
During his time as licensing chief, Mr Langmead was critical of the drinking culture which was starting to develop among young people in Torbay. He told the Herald Express “Young people today are being conned – there is more to life than just boozing yourself to death”.
Mr Langmead was employed by the old General Post Office for 46 years. He joined in 1932 as a telegraph boy and worked his way up to postal superintendent in Torquay via stints in Teignmouth, Exeter and Paignton. He and his wife Margaret were married for 71 years. They met at the youth club run at Christchurch, Ellacombe in Torquay when he was 13 and his wife to be 11.
Gran and Grandad’s 67th wedding anniversary on my sister’s wedding day in 2007
In the months before the outbreak of World War Two, he enlisted in the Territorial Army and when was was declared was posted to France. Mr Langmead later served in Norway. When British forces were evacuated from Norway, he returned to this country and spent some time with an anti-aircraft duty in Kent. The couple were married in June 1941, in Exeter, and within weeks he was sent to Burma, where he served for the remainder of the war.
Mr Langmead was a regular churchgoer and served on the Cockington-with-Chelston Parochial Church Council. He was a churchwarden at St Matthews Church. Mr and Mrs Langmead have two daughters, Sylvia and Marion, five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren, with a sixth on the way. Daughter Sylvia said her father enjoyed a full life well into his 80s when, inevitably, his pace slowed.
“My father was a man of integrity and a true Torbay gentleman who will be sadly missed by everyone who knew him” said Sylvia.
Mr Langmead’s funeral took place yesterday at Christchurch in Ellacombe where he had been a boy chorister more than 80 years ago, followed by a burial service at Torquay Cemetery.
Albert William Langmead, JP
Died Sunday 8 July 2012 at Torbay Hospital aged 94 years.
Devoted husband for 71 years. A loving father, grandfather and great-grandfather.
A true Torquay gentleman who will be sadly missed by all who loved and knew him.
I had my second OU tutorial on Saturday, it was six weeks since the last one, and I was struck by how much had happened since the first one. I think it’s fair to say that May was a month of madness for me, and so far June isn’t proving much better.
Since that first tutorial:
* There’s lots been going on at work, as ever. If you’re interested in the Value of Social Work then check out the RiPfA Manifesto microsite here
* I have almost finished my assignment – it was a hard one as it caused me to analyse my personal style and consider how that fits with my organisation’s climate and culture, very revealing
* My Grandparents celebrated their 71st wedding anniversary, but not before my Grandad fell in the night and broke his hip – the opposite one to which he broke after Christmas. So he’s a 94 year old with two new hips so far this year, doing his own bit to upset NHS rationing quotas ;) He is still in hospital and we visited him on Father’s Day and he was in good spirits, although looking very frail
* My Dad has been admitted to hospital as an emergency on two occasions, both times 6 days after chemo, he has yet to make it to the second treatment, even though he has now completed his fourth course. Palliative chemotherapy is relatively new, it doesn’t seem that it’s easy, two trips in an ambulance, two emergency admissions doesn’t leave anyone feeling that good – as amazing as the staff working in casualty are, the process itself is draining. Not helped by one occasion being the middle of the night, well 3am by the time Dad finally reached a ward.
All of that said I’m not really complaining, without the chemo there’s a good chance he wouldn’t be here any longer. Indeed he said to me himself on Sunday that he didn’t think he’d make Father’s Day, neither did I when he was admitted earlier that week.
Today Mogs isn’t well. He got up and fell over, lots. He is walking with a sideways wobble and feeling very sorry for himself. He keeps falling over and isn’t really eating. My vet is amazing. I rang at 8.15am, they don’t open until 8.30 but the receptionist was happy to talk to me while she waited for her computer to limp to life. Luckily there was an appointment just after 9, he was given a thorough check over and the current suspected prognosis is a middle ear infection. He had an anti-inflammatory and antibiotic jab and he has to go back in 48 hours. So far he doesn’t look much better but we’ll wait and see.
On the plus side, always looking for one, my Mum took a photo of me and my Dad on Father’s Day and I love it – it’s not the best photo ever, it features me and Dad, and Stella (my parent’s dog) and better still the top of my Mum’s head – but I do love it. Small things, good to have some positive memories – it goes without saying that taking the photo alone was an entertainment -neither of us are particularly at ease having our photo taken and my Mum has skills in many areas but photography isn’t her natural strength (poor eyesight and all that). Anyway, take a peak at my positive show on what has been a fairly horrendous six weeks. As a very wise woman once told me (@amcunningham) just keep putting one foot in front of the other, day by day. I’m still walking.
A week ago I wrote a post explaining Dad’s latest situation with #cholangiocarcinoma Don’t give up the ship, fight her till she sinks. At the time we’d just seen his oncologist and heard the news that Dad’s one remaining option was to have chemotherapy in an attempt to stem the tumour in his stomach bleeding, which in turn is causing him to become severely anaemic and requiring regular blood transfusions.
On Monday Dad went to the unit where he receives the chemotherapy to have his prep session and bloods taken. Less than a week since his last transfusion and he’s anaemic again and his haemoglobin level was down to 7. The fantastic staff did all that they could and managed to fit him in on Tuesday for another blood transfusion, in order for him to start chemo today as they’d originally planned. All of this organised at the drop of a hat, with Dad’s specialist nurse doing what he seemingly does best, twisting arms and calling in favours. So today was his second day at the unit, ten hours at a time, so far so good. The chemo is very risky for Dad, but its a game of odds and the balance of probabilities suggests that doing nothing is even riskier.
Possible side effects include all the usual things (anaemia, hair loss, constipation, wind, loss of feeling, impaired immune system), a major bleed (not surprising given the amount of blood he is losing anyway) and neutropenic sepsis.
Dad has had sepsis on a couple of occasions, including the last time he was on chemo, they’ve warned us that the most dangerous time will be this weekend. Anyone who has ever been taken ill on a weekend, never mind a Bank Holiday, never mind Easter…will know that you don’t want to end up in A&E then. That said, I’m really impressed with the fact that they have raised the issue and reassured Mum that we have to be explicit that we need attention, and it’s also good to know that the hospice palliative care team are aware too. Unless you’ve had to do it I don’t think you can necessarily appreciate how hard it is to request attention once you’ve been admitted into hospital, especially in a busy A&E Department where you’re surrounded by other poorly people. This leaflet, and it’s explicit time bound permission statement to go back and insist on action, is really powerful stuff. Very impressive. This flimsy piece of A4 paper could make the difference on whether someone like Dad survives, I know that with this piece of paper in her hand my Mum would go and ask for further attention, without it there’s a slim but outside chance she might speak up but evidence so far suggests she’d rather not make a fuss/appear ungrateful/nag/push in etc etc etc. Never underestimate the power of a piece of paper for a generation who were brought up to respect authority!
The other possible side effect of one of the many drugs Dad is on is that it could alter your mood. I’m staying at my folks house tonight for moral support and I can honestly say that this drug has altered Dad’s mood….he was treating his sick bowl as a fashion accessory. My Dad has always been a little off the wall, in fact his party trick when I was a kid was to drive the car with his knees and no hands, but I’ve not seen him in a playful mood in ages. Obviously having the chemo and taking some step to fight it is a good thing, for now.
I was slightly wired all day today, I was up in London for a meeting, and I felt so far away if anything had gone wrong. That said it was a good meeting and nothing did go wrong and Dad is insistent that I don’t put my life on hold for him. Having been home for most of March, unfortunately I have stacks of travel planned in April. If I’m truly honest I’m absolutely dreading what the next few days and weeks hold. That said everyone who has dealt with Dad over the past few weeks has done so with such kindness, that it makes me feel reassured and humbled, and a little more daunted (because my suspicious mind assumes that this is a sure fire indication that this really is coming to an end now). I’ve also been blown away by the number of you who have left blog comments, sent tweets or DMs and those of you who text me when I was silent to check how things were going. Thank you all so much. I know it’s hard to know what to say or do in this situation, I know that some people would just rather not think about it, and I know that I am a walking, talking, ball of emotion at the moment and I’m not the easiest person to deal with at the best of time. Thank you all for your patience, virtual hugs and moral support, it’s really appreciated. I’ll leave you all with the man himself modelling an NHS sick bowl!