Story 56

What a man

During my tenure here at Eric Miles, the management, staff and residents were very fortunate to have hosted Leonard Cheshire a few times. He always stayed in our visitors flat on the premises.

Alet Bosman speaking to Leonard Cheshire at Eric Miles

Leonard Cheshire was such a lovely man and is so fondly remembered by all. He was so interested in all the activities at the Home and participated fully. He also loved tennis and always looked forward to beating the Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Church, who was a good friend of the Home.

I fondly remember, on one of his visits, that he had left his sports shoes at home and we had to find a pair for him. If I remember correctly size 14 or 15. That was long before google, so the phone became my best friend. After a long search we found a suitable pair of shoes and he could enjoy his match.

In another instance he needed a haircut. Our volunteer hairdresser was so nervous cutting his hair and she accidentally nipped his ears. He had such a laugh and warned the residents to cover their ears when they visited her for a haircut.

Leonard Cheshire was also gluten intolerant. It was long before the days of gluten free products being so freely available. Not even rice flour was on hand in South Africa at the time. As Leonard had a sweet tooth and loved his food, my cooks and I put our heads together and ground rice to make rice flour. He really appreciated all the effort we took to spoil him with nice treats.

Leonard hardly ever forgot a resident’s name. On the odd occasion that he did forget, he would ask before he met with the resident, just to be reminded of what contact he had with the person on his last visit. His daughter, Gigi, also came out to visit us at Eric Miles Cheshire Home. What a lovely girl she is.

One of my best memories of Leonard Cheshire is him waving us goodbye as he exited the back door of Eric Miles Cheshire Home. He was crossing the street to visit his friend, Father Stan Botha, at the Roman Catholic Church right behind the Home.

What a man: humble, persistent, fun loving and our friend. He is sorely missed.

Leonard Cheshire having his famous haircut

He was so interested in all the activities at the Home and participated fully.