Obituary: Colin Graham, ‘The Man from the Pru’
Colin Holmes Graham was born in Newcastle on the same day as the Queen, April 21, 1926. Each of us are makers of our own history and Colin contributed greatly to our national, regional and local history.
After attending Gateshead Grammar School, Colin entered his family hairdressing business, also working in Brussels salons and in London where, being a gifted trumpet player, he would busk the streets.
He joined the Royal Navy during the Second World War and, among other duties, taught Wrens to drive small motor boats and, as a keen photographer, set up a special projector ‘dome’ to help train the Wrens to fire guns at enemy aircraft.
Colin returned to the North East after his war service to become projectionist at Gateshead’s Ritz Cinema, later its manager. In 1957, he joined The Prudential Insurance Company then, in 1972, the family moved to Cornhill and Colin transferred to the Berwick branch. He worked mostly in the rural areas, including the College Valley and the many outlying farms and villages.
On retiring, he became a parish councillor, treasurer of the village hall, treasurer of Crookham Royal British Legion and its Poppy Appeal organiser, also finding time to volunteer with Citizens Advice. One particular project he greatly enjoyed was sourcing and photographing the war graves at Kirknewton of Australian and New Zealand airmen and sending the photographs to relatives.
Colin’s life-long hobby was speedboats and water skiing, buying his last craft at the age of 70, contentedly motoring out to the Farne Islands from Budle Bay, always smoking his pipe.
He will be much missed by his wife and daughter and many friends. His cremation will be at Melrose on Monday, February 4 at 1pm.
The family would like to thank staff at Careline and Berwick Infirmary for their great care.