Andrew Heggie

1957 - 2017

Andrew was born on July 24th 1957, in Benwell in the West End of Newcastle upon Tyne, the only child of Kath and Arthur Heggie. Three years later, in 1960, the family uprooted and moved across the country to Blackpool so that Arthur could take up a job with ICI. Kath soon established contact with Bispham Methodist Church and Andrew was enrolled in the Sunday School, where he encountered a certain Liz Ellison as his primary department teacher. Fifty plus years later Liz again found herself giving Andrew pastoral care as one of our hospital chaplains. Andrew was a very quiet, tall lad, with bright ginger hair, who was quick on the uptake and never had to be told twice what to do.

Aged eleven, he went to Montgomery High School in Blackpool and left when he was sixteen to work in a garage. From there he joined the Tom Smith equipment hire company and then when he was 20 or 21 he went to work in the research laboratory of the UK Atomic Energy Authority. With changes on the horizon for the authority, Andrew moved to GEC Plastics in Warton, where he stayed for two or three years, before getting a job as a process worker with British Nuclear Fuels, where he was to remain for the next 25 years, before retiring.

It was in 1980 that Judith arrived at the UK Atomic Energy Authority, having completed her computer science course. She and Andrew soon became acquainted and it wasn’t long before they started going out. They were married in 1984 and moved from Blackpool to Fulwood. Laura was born in 1989 and then six years later she was joined by Emily, born in 1995. When Emily came of an age to join the Rainbows the family started their association with Fulwood Methodist Church, choosing our Rainbow Guides for Emily.

Having grown up through the Scouts in Blackpool and developing a passion for outdoor activities, Andrew offered his services to the 6th Fulwood Scout Group at Christ Church, later becoming Venture Scout Leader and then part of the Preston and District Scout Fellowship and the Scout Association Support Unit. Andrew’s Scouting activities took him to the Moor Crag Water Activity Centre on Windermere, where he gained his dingy sailing instructor qualification. Sailing Wayfarer dinghies was to become a family activity, but with Andrew’s love of fun and sense of humour he developed a bit of a reputation and it became a standing joke that even though he was a great sailor, anyone who went out with Andrew was going to get wet! Andrew was also a keen wind surfer and loved walking and climbing. Exploring, travelling to new places and enticing the family to join him was all part of this action man’s life. In fact, Andrew’s philosophy was that going to work was purely to fund holidays and that you couldn’t ever not have a holiday booked!

To Andrew, holidays were considered adventures, but life was also an adventure, which had to be lived to the full. These adventures led the family to a range of activities, often to the distress of Judith as she watched the girls experience many a hairy moment - like seven-year-old Emily attempting ski jumping in the Alps, Andrew guiding ‘coasteering’ and cliff jumping in Wales, and Laura nearly fainting on the final ascent of ‘Half Dome’ in Yosemite, California. Laura only realised that these activities weren’t standard adult behaviour when telling other people about them afterwards, because her dad never showed any fear.

Another of Andrew traits was his use of friendly insults as terms of endearment. To him most people were ‘midgets’, but his family were most frequently the butt of his humour. However, he never left any of them in any doubt that they were his pride and joy. Andrew certainly enjoyed life and lived it to the full, but when diagnosed with a terminal illness, the way he faced the prospect of death demonstrated that he discovered something quite profound about the nature of life, something which gave him courage, assurance and a calmness that was remarkable. In his final days, the hospice gave Andrew all the physical comfort and care he needed for a peaceful end to his life, but Andrew also discovered a deeper peace which was not shattered, but was deepened by his illness.

It was clear from the many people who attended the Service of Thanksgiving for Andrew that he was held in high regard and that his friendship and service to others was much appreciated. His untimely death, aged 59, has taken from us a very special man, but his influence on other people will not be forgotten.