Allen Broadbent 1937 - 2019
8th August 2019
Please find below the Eulogy read by Mr Geoff Cowgill at the Requiem Mass held on Tuesday 30th July at Sacred Heart & St. Patrick’s , Bolton Brow.
I want to start off by thanking everybody for being here today, I feel that Allen would tell me I was being rude if I didn’t!
Allen was born to Edgar and Edith Broadbent at 12 Pitt Street, off Hanson Lane on the 26th October 1937. As a young boy he was like most, very mischievous but had that special bond between mother and son. Once leaving home, he lived in a flat on Aked’s road, he was devoted to his mum who lived in a house opposite his flat, and naturally, he was devastated when she died.
Allen began his working career at Crossley’s Carpets at Dean Clough as a carpet weaver. His father had got him the job as he wanted him to follow in his footsteps but Allen wasn’t keen, his ambition was always to go into nursing and in 1958 he lived this dream. Allen began at St John’s Hospital in Gibbet Street (the former workhouse) he then went to Northowram Hospital where he remained until his retirement in the late 1990’s.
Allen was a very caring man and active among his home community never moving far from his roots, spending his final days in his beautiful cottage in Ingram Square. He loved his garden and channelled his love of plants & flowers into the many tubs and hanging baskets adorning the outside of his home and always had a vase of fresh flowers on his table to compliment his immaculately kept home which he cared for with pride and pleasure.
His faith and privacy, including his conversion to Catholicism was an example of the private side of Allen, very few people knew of his decision until he had undergone instruction and was fully accepted into the church, this faith proved to be a great comfort to him.
After his retirement he became a volunteer at the Overgate Hospice shop in Halifax town centre as well as continuing his long-standing association with Halifax Amateurs. One of Allen’s enjoyments was theatre and in particular HAOS which he joined in the late 1950s as a dancer, he performed in many shows at the Palace Theatre, Victoria Theatre, The Halifax Playhouse as well as in their own rehearsal rooms and he had many dance and stage partners over the years. The first show he was involved in was Oklahoma in 1957 and he remained a dancer into his late 30s, he could always be found doing ‘his bit’ to keep things going. As well as being an accomplished dancer in his day, he played minor roles in the ensemble and more than likely has been a sailor, soldier, cowboy, policeman, pantomime character and even the Father of Jekyll (or was it Hyde?) - albeit in a straight- jacket in the 2007 production of the same name. His last appearance on stage with the Society was in April 2018 when he was part of the ‘on-stage’ choir alongside his long-time friend Billy Walker singing in “Memories of the Musicals” at the Victoria Theatre.
Be it on or off stage, Allen was always there to lend a helping hand and was part of the Management Team for many years until he became too ill to attend, he also took on the role as Sick Visitor and was always available at rehearsal selling raffle tickets - though he had his own inimitable way of selecting the winner, together with causing havoc sitting on the back row with the bass section, leading the younger members astray at rehearsals or being an Honorary Member of the Ladies Committee.
Right up to this current year, when it became a struggle to keep going, he still found the tenacity and strength to help out and was an integral of any and all productions, being available at a moment’s notice opening up the rooms for anyone who needed, at fund raising events, helping to purchase much needed equipment when funds were low but always working in support of HAOS. To the present-day Allen was the longest serving member of the Society giving 62 years of service, he was a Trustee of the Society and was awarded an Honorary Life Membership for his loyal, sustained and continued support.
One of the most favourite roles Allen played was Father Christmas, not only for his own Society but also for other local groups – who else would anyone choose to be that jolly red-faced man with a heart of gold?
Allen demanded a very high standard in many areas of his life, his home, integrity, punctuality, the latter being the cause of much frustration when it was lacking in others. Likewise those nearest to him, his long- time friends Arnold and James and their family members as well as Billy all of which would be given the full weight of his annoyance and this would result in bickering on all sides but any upsets over countless issues were insignificant in comparison to the love they shared for each other and the unquestioned support and care they were able to give each other in times of need.
Allen was unquestionably a man generous by nature and was able to acknowledge this about himself in a recent conversation with his long-time friend Julian saying it gave him pleasure if he was able to make someone feel happy and hopefully it may encourage others to be generous with their own lives causing a ripple effect, probably greater than any of us can imagine.
Allen worked for many years with frail and dying patients and witnessed the inevitability of dying as part of daily life, consequently he was not shy of the subject and only recently while he was in hospital a conversation took place about him not wanting “those dried curled up sandwiches” that some folk would have and that at his funeral tea a nice potted meat sandwich and a Stand Pie would be just the job”!
Allen often joked with close friends about him being the next one to go and he also said that he doubted anyone would turn up to his funeral but we can see today how wrong he was in that respect. It is said that those who touch our lives inspire us and love us, and they do so for a lifetime. Today we honour and celebrate Allen’s life. Our lives are more colourful because he was part of it.
He always signed his Birthday and Christmas cards with ‘Love & God Bless Allen’ and often ended a conversation with ‘Goodnight God bless’.
Allen was unique, honest, and quite simply the kindest and best person you could have as a friend so Goodnight & God Bless to you Allen from so many people in whose hearts you hold a special place, you had no idea how much you were loved and you will be dearly missed.