Father's Day: Fond memories of Dagenham 'gent' with 'a heart of gold'
- Credit: Courtesy of the Snooks family
Father's Day honours and celebrates dads for their all-important role in our lives.
But for some families who have lost that special loved one, Sunday, June 20, may also be a day of mixed emotions.
Charlie Snooks, from Dagenham, was in hospital following a fall and had been preparing to come home when he developed pneumonia brought on by Covid-19. He died at the age of 90 on March 2, 2020.
On how the day feels, his youngest daughter Jemma said: "It's very hard because I would spend every Father's Day with him.
"He was the heart of our family. My dad brought everyone together. He would say, 'If you've got family, you're the luckiest person in the world'."
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Jemma - a teaching assistant at Dorothy Barley Infant School - recalled Charlie saying before each Father's Day not to get him a present but to spend the money on herself or the grandchildren.
"He would say, 'As long as I see you and know you're alright, I don't need anything'," Jemma remembered.
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Charlie was born in Mile End Hospital in 1930 and grew up in Stepney. As a child during the Second World War, he joined friends, family and neighbours in air raid shelters as the East End suffered aerial bombardment in the Blitz.
When Jemma was six, Charlie moved the family to Woodward Road, Becontree, likening it to moving to the countryside at the time.
A caretaker at Tower Hamlets Council for 22 years, he loved fixing things, mending neighbours' tumble driers, washers and electrical gadgets in his spare time.
Charlie, who was in the Royal Air Force's hospitality section during his youth, also enjoyed being in the kitchen and could cook up an "amazing" stew.
But he would still visit Brick Lane for salt beef bagels as well as Brook Pie and Mash in Dagenham Road for pie, mash and liquor.
The grandfather of 10 loved the banjo where he and his wife Anne raised their family and as a fan of Ford cars was proud to live in Dagenham where they felt welcome. Charlie and Anne were together for 47 years.
Jemma, 36, said: "We were lucky to have someone so positive around us - that warmth. He looked after everybody, not just family. He never put himself first.
"He was a gentleman with a heart of gold. He was a very loving dad. That's what I miss the most. He just made everything better."