Farewell to man who helped to establish lasting friendships

Reg Wood SUS-160118-140842001
Reg Wood SUS-160118-140842001

Reg Wood, the man who helped to establish Hastings’ 30 year plus twinning connection with German town Schwerte, has died aged 92.

Reg, who first moved to Hastings in 1964, was so well known and liked in Schwerte that two tribute articles were printed in German newspapers following his death last month.

Reg was there at the start when the two towns formed links in 1982. Every year a group from Hastings stay with friends in the German town over the May bank holiday, and host a return visit in September. Firm friendships have been established over the years.

Reg Woods’ son, also called Reg, paid tribute to his father.

He said: “He was born in Islington, London, on March 30 1925. The family had to move several times after being bombed out during the Blitz.

“At the age of 14 he had a job at Fullers, in Islington, which made hospital furniture.

“When he was 17 he joined the Navy. I think he must have been the only man in the Navy who couldn’t swim.

“Dad served on the aircraft carrier HMS Ocean. He got drunk on his 21st birthday in Gibraltar after sailor friends gave him tots of rum. He wasn’t used to alcohol and ended up falling off the edge of the ship into the sea.

“Later he returned to work with Fullers and when the firm re-located to Hastings the family moved with them.

“Working at Fullers he met Eric Blackham, a local councillor who was very keen on town twinning. Through him dad took Spartan Boys Club, which he had formed with Dave Sampson, to Schwerte, in Germany, in 1979.

“This led to Hastings and Schwerte becoming officially twinned in 1982.

“Dad became the mainstay of the twinning in Hastings and for over 30 years did most of the organisation of the exchanges. Today’s strong friendship between our two towns is in no small part down to my father.

“My parents’ dear friend Karla often recalls good times they had in Schwerte. There was a time when her grass was long and without hesitation Dad got her lawnmower and cut the grass. This was before she could tell him that no-one cuts grass in Schwerte on Sundays because of the noise.

“One of the best things Mum and Dad did was to take up ballroom dancing. During the 1970’s they joined St Michael’s dancing club and made many friends. Dad was also part of a barber shop quartet. Later they joined St Peter’s dance group and made more friends.

“Dad was a real handyman, able to turn his hand to most jobs. He and mum were never happier than when they moved to Grange Avenue where he decorated throughout and loved his garden.”

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