A tribute to 'Happy'

2nd January, 2018

It’s not often that you have a moment when running a business that stops you in your tracks and immediately has an impact on everything you do...

However, that’s what happened in January 2015. That previous Christmas in 2014, we invited our customers to tell us what their ultimate wish would be. We set a budget of around £250, thinking we could buy some much-needed equipment for community group or make one lucky customer’s Christmas more memorable.

As we looked through the entries, it was clear that our expectations were being exceeded. Among pleas for family meals of fish and chips, toys for children and other requests, we found a suggestion from a man called Trevor Fox and knew right away we had a winner. As soon as we read it out we knew we had to help.

Trevor’s father-in-law, his wife Susan’s father Arthur ‘Happy’ Harrison, had a brother Edward (known as Ted) who was sadly killed very early in the Second World War.

When he died in rural Norway, Ted was buried where he was killed. He was then interred at a church nearby, before six years later being moved again to a war cemetery. In total, Ted was buried three times. All Arthur knew most of his life was that his brother was buried there, with very few details other than that.

Throwing out the idea of sticking to the £250 budget, we made sure that Arthur, who was then 91, could visit the Trondheim Stavne Cemetery to pay his respects. Trevor travelled with him, and the pair met ex-serviceman and Norwegian resident Paul Cadell. Paul’s lifetime hobby has been finding out about the Norwegian campaign in WW2 and he was more than happy to guide Arthur around the country, making sure he could find out his brother’s story.

We know that trip meant the world to Arthur and we were so pleased to have made a difference.

We spoke to Trevor recently about the trip in May 2015.

Trevor said: “It was a really amazing trip; we were treated so well and being able to see the barn where Ted was killed and the war grave where he finally was put to rest meant a lot to the family and Arthur.

“At the time we visited, it was a national day in Norway. We were guests of honour at a ball and we made our way to the event in a procession in the former King of Norway’s 1922 Cadillac. All the people lining the route knew my father-in-law’s nickname. They were chanting ‘Happy! Happy!’ and handing us Norwegian flags.”

Arthur was an engineer by trade, released by a factory in Lincoln to serve by repairing boats in the navy in 1942. Trevor tells us that the trip to Norway was always on his mind, but because of financial commitments and time, he never got round to organising the visit.

Following his return, Arthur’s luck continued. A message was sent to the family in 2016 to say a package was on its way. On arrival, the package was found to contain Ted’s helmet. Found by the farmer back in the 40s, it had been used to store hen’s eggs at the farm but had been cleaned up to return to the family. It is now on display at The Priory LSST in Lincoln.

We’re so proud to be part of Arthur’s story and we continue our military links today. In 2016, we raised more than £10,000 in ten months for the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal and we plan on adding to our charitable work during 2018.

We were sorry to hear that in late December, Arthur ‘Happy’ Harrison had passed away. We are proud to have been able to help him have this chance to pay his respects.

Farewell to Arthur and our condolences to his family.

Arthur ‘Happy’ Harrison 1924 -2017