Thanksgiving service in Jamaica for former Swindon mechanic

By Barrie Hudson - 12 January 2021

Community

The life of a Montserrat-born man who built two careers in Swindon was set to be celebrated at a memorial thanksgiving service in Jamaica today.

  • David, left, and John Bradshaw

    David, left, and John Bradshaw

John Denzil Bradshaw, who died last month aged 66, first came to Britain in August of 1961 with elder brother David, to join parents who had already emigrated in the 1950s.

All who remembered him have been invited to attend the service via video link at 4pm British time.

David, an author, wrote in a commemorative text prepared for the service: "John obtained all of his secondary education at St Joseph's School in Swindon, in Wiltshire, in which town (with younger siblings George and Sylvia) the six members of the Bradshaw family lived. 

"After leaving school in 1970, he became a proud employee of Swindon Corporation Transport, where, after several years, he was to successfully complete his apprenticeship as a motor mechanic.

"During his apprencticeship, John met and married a local Swindon girl named Janet (nee Cozens) and that union was blessed with two sons, Mark and Wayne. 

"After several years, the marriage was to eventually dissolve, but John then entered into a stable partnership for some years with Marian (nee Toner) - the mother of his third son, Lee.

"During the 1980s, John was to return to his native island to take up a teaching position, in Motor Mechanics, at the Montserrat Technical College, which he held for a number of years. 

"Being among one of his Dad's brothers (his Uncle Joe), many cousins and other close family members in Montserrat, as an adult, was for John (as he wrote only two days before his passing) a 'great happening and awakening in my life.' 

"By the 1990s, he was to return to Swindon and take up an office appointment in the field of Engineering with British Rail - the successor company to British Railways, for which national company his father had worked from the 1950s to the 1970s. 

"During that second era of employment in the Engineering field in the Swindon area, John met and eventually married the lady who was to give him the unshakeable love and stability for which his heart yearned, for the rest of his life - namely, Sandra (nee Martin).  Not a Swindon girl for once, but one of Jamaica's finest! 

"John was to meet Sandra whilst she was studying in England, at Swindon College specifically, as an apprentice hairdresser. After their first, happily accidental, meeting in the College's car park, the rest became history!

"Before John and Sandra's joint emigration from Swindon back to the Caribbean, and to Jamaica, specifically, in 2002, John was to suffer some major bereavements - for not only did he lose his parents prior to that year but also his first two sons, Mark and Wayne. 

"Fortunately, he was already a grandfather by that time, as Mark had blessed him with his first grandchild, Jade, during the late 1980s."

The tribute continued: "An even greater blessing was to follow upon their setting up in their new Jamaican home in Malvern, St Elizabeth. For, after some 20 years of married life together, their union was finally blessed with a baby girl! Fittingly, they named their daughter 'Bless' - as well as 'Margaret', after John's late mother.

"It was as a retired Engineer and subsistence farmer that John spent his final two decades or so with his beloved Sandra, at their home, 'Villa San-Jon' in Malvern - happily raising young Bless Margaret together. 

"And though they made one final trip to Montserrat together before Bless Margaret's birth, it is probably true to say that they never even spent one night apart once they had returned to Jamaica from England in 2002 - nor Bless Margaret apart from them after her birth - until he was taken into Black River Hospital two days before his passing.

"John leaves behind many grieving family members - especially his dear wife and daughter, Sandra and Bless Margaret in Jamaica, his only surviving son, Lee, in England, and also in the UK his  granddaughters, Jade, as well as Mollie and Leni, the children of Lee. 

"Also left to mourn are hIs siblings, hIs many cousins, nephews and nieces, his friends Worldwide and hIs neighbours nearer home."

The thanksgiving service can be attended virtually via https://us02web.zoom.us/j/6790343306?pwd=VGUyWDJ1MkJWMUY0V3hCdUdRYkJUdz09

The meeting ID is 679 034 3306 and the passcode 7xm9vY.

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