It was with great sadness and shock that we learnt of Frank’s death to Covid-19 in April 2020. As Membership Secretary and Committee Member of the Allotment Association he was well known throughout the membership. Welcoming new plot holders on Sunday mornings, advising on the care of their plot he was a reliable and friendly presence around the site.
Frank joined the Association in 1991 managing plots 101a and b. His particular love was for growing fruit which is testified by many members who knew him personally. He joined the Committee in 1999 despite being heavily involved with work as Councillor and other local activities. He was elected as Chairman in 2000 and served for a few years until he had to give up due to other commitments on meeting nights. He became Membership Secretary in 2010 and enjoyed this role enormously, giving considerable time and effort not only to advising budding new plot holders but also to wavering gardeners whose plots had become a little too demanding for them.
The comments below are from members who have kindly submitted their memories of Frank.
Having known Frank for over 20 years both at the allotments and whilst working at Rushmoor Borough Council he was generous with his time and advice especially when it came to fruit tree and bush pruning. I learnt a lot from him. He was heavily involved with Rushmoor in Bloom where he judged the all Borough allotments. Once you got to know him he had a good dry sense of humour.
To Frank, with sincere gratitude for his unlimited support to the team responsible for staging the Rushmoor in Bloom since its inception many, many years ago. He was always there for us from Pat Ellis, Val Read, Ken Howard, Phil and Anne
Alongside all his commitments as a councillor, school governor and member of the local health authority, Frank was also passionate about allotments and the good they can do for people’s mental and physical health. When I first applied for an allotment, many years ago now, he walked me round the site and gave me a choice of several. Frank was always on hand to give encouragement and advice, particularly with regard to fruit growing, at which he was expert. Frank encouraged members from all walks of life and all community groups to take up growing fruit and vegetables and was a key player in the great success of the Aldershot Allotment Society.
I knew Frank from before I got to know him at the Allotments. We were both in the RAF (different times and places). I used to march with him on one or two of our RAF parades and also met up with him at the Christmas lunch at the Army Golf Club. He was also chairman of the Communal Forum at the Princes Hall, which I used to attend. We shall all miss him.
Barry and Jean Dickinson
Frank was always the ‘go to man’ for advice on Fruit growing. He gave lessons which we attended on how to prune fruit bushes and would always come to our plots for further advice if needed. I have a nice memory of a day when as committee members we took down an old shed on site and made a huge bonfire. We were like a couple of kids taking the opportunity to gather any old wood from the site and watching it burn. Frank made several arrangements on site from which we are still benefitting i.e. the Blooming Marvellous Team and the Rushmoor in Bloom competition which encouraged many who would not normally compete in competitions to receive certificates for their efforts. He will be sadly missed.
Fun Raisers – Moira Bawn, Audrey Cook, Jackie De La Haye, Barbara Horton, Val Read, Trish Sutherland, Rosemary Tabram, Helen Williams.
As an extremely busy man Frank could not attend all the annual events organised by the Fun Raisers. However he was very supportive from the outset in 2015 when we started in a very small way offering tea, coffee and biscuits in the shop on a Sunday morning. Initially grumbling about ‘people come here to dig not sit around drinking coffee’ he then embraced the idea wholeheartedly, joined in and agreed that it was an asset to the site, mentioning the tea drinking to new members in his role as Membership Secretary. In particular he supported us in our Centenary Year 2017 with the events we held and his assistance in getting the Princes Hall for the Radio 4’s Gardeners Question Time event. We were all shocked and saddened by his untimely death from Covid19.
President (Helen Williams)
One of Frank’s plots 101 was tucked away in the top corner of the site close to my own plot. We shared the same car park so we would often pass the time of day as he made his way to his plot. He used to say that working on his plot allowed him the quiet time to counter the pressures of his public life. He valued this enormously but was always happy to greet you in a cheery manner and pass the odd comment which displayed his quiet sense of humour. His devotion to his family was clear to me and I would like to pass on my condolences to them. I will miss him.
We would like to echo all the kind and positive comments made by plot holders regarding Frank. In addition we would like to express our gratitude for his continual support for the committee’s decisions and actions, his unofficial input from his Rushmoor Council contact which was at times invaluable and for the enthusiasm he always showed in his role as Membership Secretary. He will be much missed.