St John’s Chapel you would almost miss on the main street in Shavington but it surprises you inside with its light and airy feel and its balcony. It was there on Monday 14th April 2014 that a large congregation gathered to give thanks for the life of Alan Goodin, President of Crewe PS.

A large attendance was fully expected for Alan had numerous interests and was a garrulous, amiable man. Bird watchers, photographers, golfers, caravanners, teaching colleagues, ex-pupils, Shavington associates, friends and family were all there to hear members of Alans family recount their fond memories of him. It was lovely to see these family members that we had not met but often heard about – Alan was a great family man.

Alan was born in Yorkshire (though he was proud to have some Scottish blood) and came down to Nantwich to take up his second teaching appointment. His joke that this was “Missionary Work” was typical!

Alan had always loved wildlife and became involved in bird-watching with friend and fellow teacher, Patrick Whalley. Their enthusiasm lead to them founding the South-East Cheshire Ornithological Society (SECOS) which is still florishing in its 50th year.

(The picture shows Patrick Whalley (L) receiving a CPS trophy from Alan in 2009)

At about the same time Alan joined Crewe Photographic Society.

You can blame Alan for me joining too, though much, much later, in 1999 in fact. I came across Alan, together with Howard Edwards and either Ron Reade or Mick Roberts in the pub where they used to meet on Thursday nights during the CPS closed season. I knew Alan from teaching and when they learned that I had been on a photography course that day, well, that was it, you can guess what I would be doing the following September!

We at Crewe PS owe this quiet man so much. He was one of the grandees; steadfast, dependable and wise. When I first joined he and Patrick would dominate the natural history work  and yet they would always be there to help and encourage the beginners.

In recent years Alan suffered the set-back of becoming blind in one eye but he still pursued his hobbies with enthusiasm. It was only more recently that he was clearly in difficulties and he announced that he was to have a heart operation.

At the meeting this week (17 April)  it was good to hear our secretary, Tom Seaton and a Nantwich CC member, Wray Douglas reminiscing about being taught by Alan. They were saying what a breath of fresh air he was when he first came to their school and how, unlike some members of staff, he had such a warm and friendly approach. That seemed to sum up Alan’s personality very nicely.

The role of President may lapse now. It was something which harks back to the days of us having a cine section and a “still” section (sounds archaic now, doesn’t it?). So Alan will not be “replaced”, how could he be?