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Tribute to Frank Bristow

Frank, a member of Photofold for more than ten years, passed away at St Luke's Hospice on Sunday morning 14th April 2024.


Although Frank was not an active photographer, he had a long-standing interest in photography generally and his particular favourite genre was all things natural history.  Frank enjoyed many of the Photofold outings, an image of which is below which was kindly provided by Steve Stringer.  Members have sent messages saying they are sad to hear of Frank's passing and knew Frank as a respected gentleman, a kind, lovely chap who was always so happy and made everyone who chatted with him smile.  Attending the weekly meetings were often the highlight of Frank’s week.


Frank was born in Plaistow in 1938, one of seven siblings, with four brothers and two sisters.  Margaret, Frank’s sister describes Frank as not only her brother, but a very good friend.


A Scout, man and boy, Frank started with 12th West Ham who would travel out into Essex to camp at Stock.  This Scout Troop continued with reunions into the 2000s.  Frank joined 2nd Wickford after he moved to the town, in 1985. He supported his wife Ann with her Cub Pack and worked with others running the Scout Troop.  Frank was always an asset at camps, cooking for all the children and teaching them many skills, such as putting up tents, tying knots, fire lighting, map reading and hiking.  As well as this, Frank maintained the Scout hut and all the equipment.  He had a very positive impact of many young lives.  He had so many stories to tell of his Scouting years. Paddy, Frank’s brother, is very proud of him for putting time back into Scouting in Essex.


Frank loved the outdoors from an early age, climbing trees and over the bombed buildings left from the war.  He would cycle from West Ham all the way to Southend with his mates.  He once broke his arm falling off a coal lorry, but did not let on to his Mum for several weeks because he knew he would be in trouble.


He did his National service between 1956-1958 and hated it.  He maintained that during this time his mission was to make the corporals’ and sergeants’ lives a misery. 


During this time he met the love of his life, Ann, in Ashdon-under-Lyme, and wherever he was stationed he would hitch-hike back to see her whenever he could.  They married in 1960 and moved to Wickford in 1967.  His son Steve was born in 1976 and now there are 3 grandchildren, Chloe, Jake and Gracie, all of which Frank was extremely proud of.  He was a very loving dad and any spare time he had was always dedicated to Steve.  His wisdom made life easier for Steve and made everyone feel better in themselves, as he always said the right thing.  He could be stubborn at times, as everyone knows, but was still loved by many.  He was Steve’s hero, and he looked up to him and learned so much from him.  Steve said that if he could be half the man his dad was, he would be so, so happy.


Frank had several jobs, working for Unilever, Tate & Lyle in their offices and then in Wickford he moved to Keil Kraft, makers of model aircraft.  When they closed down he went to Pilkington Glass as a Quality Control Manager.  Once retired he was able to do what he enjoyed far more, gardening.


Frank's kindness was greatest over the many years helping various people around Wickford by attending to their gardens and so much more than that in many cases, he did this into his 80s.


After Ann died in 2001 Frank mourned her loss severely.  However, good times were ahead both in the simple things in his life to travelling far and wide from Poland to South Africa, with his 70th birthday in Venice and celebrating his 80th on the Blackpool Tower Ballroom.


He always preferred to be outdoors and his favourite place to walk locally was Thorndon Park in Brentwood.  He loved his dog, Tanya, a German Shepherd.  He also loved dancing in addition to all the other interests listed here.  He also took an AS level in Psychology!


Frank enjoyed his time at the St Lukes facility in Dunton where he attended over the last few years, doing keep fit, gardening, and volunteering his son Steve to make some bird boxes for them to sell at their fundraising events.  Frank was able to end his days at St Lukes Hospice and this is where any donations will be channelled.


Frank enjoyed all things in nature and particularly in the Spring and Summer when the sun warmed him, such a shame he had to go just as the warmer seasons arrive. It is a blessing to know he is out of pain for he certainly endured so many health problems over the last fifteen years and this endurance highlighted just what a strong man he was.  His sense of humour remained throughout, even down to cracking jokes with the nurses in hospital.


Everyone who knew Frank will miss him dearly, both family and friends. He was kind, generous, strong, loyal, wise, and lived up to the Scout Promise, always doing his best to help other people.

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