This week’s Friday’s Child is Albert Smallwoods MBE. Albert was born in Dungiven Road, one of a family of four, He was educated at Rossdowney Primary School and the Technical College.
He attended Belfast Technical College to obtain the Higher National Certificate in Electrical Engineering. He spent all his working life having started at age 15 as an engineer in Coolkeeragh Power Station. He retired 21 years ago. His spare time is devoted to helping others - St John Ambulance Northern Ireland commissioner, 65 years service, Svout movement, currently president with 67 years service, road safety committee, 50 years service, Home Safety Northern Ireland president 49 years service. He is the president of Age Concern and has served on many church committees. He is married to Vivian, they have two daughters who live in England. He says he’s happy to be in his late 70s having been told by his G.P. he might never see 50.
How would you describe yourself?
Well organised, good planner, neat, tidy and keeps busy.
Happiest childhood memory?
Annual Sunday school trip to Portrush.
What was your first job?
Apprentice electrician in the old Derry electric light station on Strand Road.
Don’t have a particular one but I read factual material.
Titanic and war films.
Favourite television programme?
Countryfile and the Antiques Roadshow.
Favourite method of relaxation?
Walking and gardening.
Favourite holiday destination?
Italian lakes and cities.
Who would you most like to meet?
U.S. Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
What makes you angry?
Poor standards of driving and people who deface public property.
What makes you happy?
Having four lovely grandchildren and good health.
What human quality do you most admire?
Honesty, kindness and reliability.
What human quality do you least admire?
People who are self centred and selfish.
What has been the most embarrassing thing to happen to you?
Travelling to London for a meeting that was held the day previously.
What was the worst thing to happen to you in your life?
To be told by my G.P at 18 years of age that I had a leaking valve in my heart and could not take part in any activities and have a reduced life span.
What is your greatest fear?
To have an illness which would prevent me from driving and would curtail attending meetings.
What has been the high point of your life to date?
Going to Buckingham in 1993 to receive the MBE medal from the Queen.
How would you like to be remembered?
As a happy, healthy person who remembered the following: “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, in all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.
What is your most treasured possession?
A loving, caring wife who has put up with me involved in so many organisations, my daughters Gillian and Nicola and their children.
If you won the lotto what would you do with it?
Share between my family and the rest to Third World charities.
If you could be granted one wish in life, what would you ask for?
Good health. To see peace in the world and the end of poverty in the poor countries.
If you could write your own epitaph what would it be?
Tried to follow the late Mother Theresa by “Giving more, sharing more, loving more and doing more.’ He spent his life helping others.