Granddad who loved dancing dies at 102

Granddad who loved dancing dies at 102

Granddad who loved dancing dies at 102

First published in News Swindon Advertiser: Photograph of the Author by , @EmmaDunnn

HE may have been 102 years old when he died last week, but Samuel Harris was still dancing with his wife until last year.

The great grandfather-of-six, who passed away on November 1, was a keen balloroom dancer and waltzed across the dancefloor in Blackpool with his wife, Evelyn, in spring 2011 – when he was nearly 101.

His daughters, Pamela Elliott and Jean Pope, said he was already missed by the whole family.

Pam, of Old Town, said: “My mum and dad were so close, right through the 72 years they were together. They were usually together hand in hand, they were just two parts of a whole. They looked after each other and they cared for each other.

“Dad enjoyed life and he loved his great-grandchildren. He loved engaging with small children. He was delighted if they came up to see him and give him a kiss.”

Born in July 1910, Sam lived through two world wars.

In the Second World War he became a leading fireman with the Auxiliary Fire Service in Portsmouth, a city which suffered heavy bombing during the blitz.

During his service he met Evelyn, now 92, and the couple married in 1940.

In 1950 the family moved to Swindon, where Sam worked at engineering firm Garrards until retirement.

Evelyn and Sam rediscovered the joys of sequence dancing and holidays after Sam retired and enjoyed coach holidays to Austria, Germany, France, Scotland, Ireland and the length and breadth of England.

When he was in his 80s, Sam took his first flight, which was to New York, and he returned on the QE2 liner.

The grandparents of three, who lived in Haydon Wick for 30 years before moving to Queensfield, took more cruises and further flights, but above all their abiding wish was to dance in the Blackpool Tower Ballroom.

“Mum and dad just loved dancing. They made many good friends through their dancing, from far afield and nearer home,” said Pam.

Sam and Evelyn, who enjoyed trips to town together for fish and chips at House of Fraser until last year, both lived in Edgehill Care Home.

“When he was younger he wouldn’t tell anyone his age. When he got into his 90s he would tell everybody. He was proud of it and we were proud of him too,” said Pam.

Pam and her husband, John, and Jean and her husband, Bob, said they wanted to thank the care home for their support.

“We are all very grateful for the care that dad received at Edgehill and for the care they are continuing to give mum,” said Pam.

A service will take place at Whitworth Road Chapel on Tuesday at 1.45pm followed by interment at Kingsdown Cemetery.

Donations in lieu to The Chalet School to be sent c/o A E Smith & Son by calling 01793 522023.

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