VE Day (8 May 2020) will resonate with everyone differently, strongly with some, others less so.
As a boy, I had no interest in history and I was completely oblivious to the impact WW2 had on my parents who lived through it. It was only much later in life that I came to realise that the emotional scars carried by my parents, Grandparents, Aunts and Uncles, were borne silently and not shared. I didn’t even think to ask about the physical scars my Grandfather bore on his body when we sunbathed on the beach in Cornwall. He was such a softly spoken, jolly, kind man. Yet he, George A. Newling MC (the Military Cross from the Battle of Gavrelle, WW1) had returned from New Zealand - where he had taken the family to set up a trading company in the 1930s – to fight once more. And also to lose his eldest son.
That was my mother’s eldest brother, Michael Alan Newling D.F.C. - one of The Few – a hurricane and spitfire pilot, he died in Channel operations on 6th July 1941. My mother was the last to see him, at the railway station. I was named after him.
Michael Alan Newling D.F.C.
Why should I, growing up in the Swinging Sixties with my elder sisters, give a passing thought to any of this? We were free and having a great time (apart from school!). There is no way that I appreciated the immense sacrifices that were made to secure the freedom I enjoyed then.
I do today.
The only way I can even remotely attempt to honour those who gave us our freedom is to try and do the right thing by them. The journey I take as custodian of Pashley, along with you - our “Pashley Family” - is one way of doing this.
Thank you for letting me share this personal reflection with you… and a big virtual hug to you all.
Adrian M.A. Williams
[Adrian has run the Pashley business since 1994, at a time when its future was to say the least, precarious. The trend in the UK back then was to offshore as much manufacturing as possible to the Far East, which led to over 2 million British manufacturing jobs being lost. As others in the British bicycle industry gave up manufacturing to become “box-shifters” of branded products, Pashley soldiered on and is today one of the few British bicycle makers left and is certainly the longest established.]