Along the Way - John Robert Waterson

I am Helen Evans (nee Waterson) a member of the Haughton-le-Skerne Local History Society. On the 24th May, 2014, I read an article on the Haughton Hub called 'John's Story' it was my brother's story! 

Unbeknown to me, John had sent his memories of the times spent at both Haughton-le-Skerne Workingmen's Club and Darlington Club & Institute to the Club Historians who then published his story on their website. 

My brother John Robert Waterson was born at 9 Hunden's Lane, Darlington.  Our parents moved to Lyonette Road when John was a baby and I was 3 years old.  We came from a very loving family, Dad, James, Mum Eileen, Helen, John, Anne, Julie and Peter.  We moved to Welbeck Avenue, Haughton, when Peter was born.   My Mum and Peter still lived there up until last year when Mum went into a home (a short distance away on Stockton Road) and Peter moved into nearby Skerne Lodge on the Green.

Our John found out that he had Cardiomyopathy (a rare incurable heart condition) and it hit him very hard.  He decided to try and help others, so set up the Darlington Cardiomyopathy Self Support Group in 1999.  It really helped our John to cope with his illness.  Even though he was ill himself, he helped us to look after our ill Mum.  Also he loved having his grandchildren to stay with him.

As well as running the support group John would take part in the Annual Darlington Fun Run to raise money for the Cardiomyopathy Association in London. 

In 2002 John was selected to run part of the National Baton Relay for the Queen's Golden Jubilee Celebrations.  John stated "I feel very proud and privileged to represent all heart patients, not just those in Darlington, but across Great Britain and the Commonwealth.  It is a once in a lifetime opportunity and, although I am only 5ft 3", I feel 10ft tall."  John was the first of the Darlington runners and was given the baton on the A68 near the outskirts of the town, where he then ran about three quarters of a mile. 

John Waterson 1

John holding the baton with his daughter Lisa, wife Louise and grandson Joshua

Sadly, we lost our brother John and Mum last year in 2013.

At John's very moving funeral the entry music chosen was 'Love is All Around' by the Troggs.  Later a poem (written by John himself) was read out by his daughter's Lisa and Amanda who said "Dad wrote this poem in the hope that he would be remembered as a person, who not only thought of himself, but of other people who were going through the same things as him."

 

ALONG THE WAY

 

  When I die I hope they'll say

"He did some good"

Along the way.

 

  My purpose in life, is now clear to me,

Even though it came through adversity.

 Though my life may be short, my mission is clear, 

To help fellow sufferers know I am here.

 So onwards I travel, through life's winding road,

But sometimes I feel I have taken on such a load.

 I cannot be weak, I have to be strong,

There are others to think of I know I am wrong.

 Each day of my life, is another for you,

Wherever you are I know that is true.

 Some days I am happy, some days I am blue,

But I feel privileged to do what I can do.

 To help other people, keeps me feeling strong,

Together we can put right whatever is wrong.

 And When I am gone, no breath left in me,

I wish you all well that's how it should be.

 

 When I die I hope they'll say

"He did some good"

Along the way.

 

After the funeral John's Family invited friends to join them at the Darlington Club & Institute to share their memories of John.

As a family we are very proud of John and do hope that his support group has helped lots of people.

Written by

Helen Evans, 25th May, 2014