A big thankyou for the cards, flowers, food, help, lovely messages and all round fantastic love and support we have received over the last 18 months. The love we have received from everyone has made this difficult time bearable and we feel very lucky to have such wonderful friends and family – Erika, Matthew and Ania xxxxxxx
Andy was born in Glasgow in June 1962 to William (Bill) and Elizabeth (Betty) Craik. He was their somewhat unexpected fourth child and joined Sandy, Mitch and Carol in their one bedroom Glasgow tenement flat on Somerville Drive in Mount Florida. They had no hot water and no bath but the tenement was right next to lesser Hampden where the Scottish national football squad sometimes trained.
Andy’s birth allowed his mum to bid on a bigger council property and she was delighted to get the offer of a three-bedroom house in Mount Florida. Andy lived there for most of his childhood, attending Boys Brigade, going to watch Rangers, occasionally attending Kings Park School (when he wasn’t bunking off school to go and spend time with his sister Carol) and having a few memorable holidays in Arbroath and on the island of Millport. Both lovely places, and ones we have visited again with him on more than one occasion over the last few years.
Andy was really close to his sister Carol and later to her two children Kay and Craig. She introduced him to some of the music he grew to love, with her David Bowie, Leonard Cohen and Lou Reed albums. He particularly remembered having to wear Carol’s hand me down blouses and trousers as a kid and her giving him a “David Bowie’ haircut that didn’t quite work. His dad was unemployed for most of Andy’s childhood and as a result he spent a lot of time looking after his youngest son. His dad adored him, in a Scottish Presbyterian sort of way, and Andy found it hard when he lost his dad in his early twenties.
He made two particularly great friends in his teenage years, Brian and Dougie, and had a lot of laughs with them, often involving a lot of beer and a bottle or two of Buckfast (Andy insisted we made a pilgrimage to Buckfast Abbey in Devon, where it was made, on the way down to Plymouth in 2001). Andy stayed with Brian in a high rise flat in the Glasgow Gorbals from 1990 to 91, when we saw how high it was we couldn’t imagine how he managed to look out of the window given his fear of heights.
After leaving school and home and working in a wide range of usually short term factory jobs Andy started to find who he was. He was inspired to become a vegetarian through his experiences as an apprentice butcher, developed a love of punk, ska and all sorts of other genres of music and started to reject some of the ideas and attitudes he had been brought up with.
Andy’s mum and sister moved to East Kilbride and in 1985 he met his first partner Heather there. In 1987 he became a father for the first time when his daughter Natalie was born. He always said he had been too young and immature to take on the responsibility of a family but he absolutely adored his daughter and made sure he kept up regular contact with her when he moved back to Glasgow.
Back in Glasgow Andy started to train as a nurse but didn’t ever finish the course. It was a big regret for him later but he thoroughly enjoyed his new career as a Glasgow taxi driver. Andy was a great driver (and a nightmare back seat driver!) and had some good stories about the famous and dodgy fares he picked up over the years. He also worked in a village community specifically for adults with Downs Syndrome. He loved it there and took me there once to show me, it was definitely one of the experiences that led him to his role with Access for Living years later.
By 1998 both Brian and Dougie had moved to London to make a new life for themselves and in March 1999 Andy followed them. He was lucky in getting a great little council flat in Charlton and got a job driving private ambulances, despite knowing nothing of the Geography of London. Armed with an A-Z and working on the basis that he knew how to get to the London hospitals if he always went via Elephant and Castle he collected many patients, mainly from Guys, the hospital he ended up getting his treatment at all those years later. We used to walk past the spot his ambulance waited when we went to the Cancer centre and he always pointed it out.
Andy celebrated the beginning of the year 2000 with Brian in central London and in discussing it later we were always amazed at the fact that I had been standing no more than 10 feet from him as we celebrated the New Year. We had watched the same bands in Jubilee Gardens and were standing almost at the exact same spot for the fireworks. We didn’t actually get to meet until the 8th September 2000 on a night when Andy found himself in New Cross at Brian’s flat and decided on a whim to go to the Goldsmith’s Tavern for their Ska night. I wasn’t meant to be there either but I loved Ska music and Sally had persuaded me. When I saw Andy across a crowded dance floor I decided I had to go over and see if I could chat him up. There was just something about him, the pale blue eyes, the amazing smile. It was clearly meant to be.
In the early months of 2001 Andy moved in with me in my flat in Forest Hill and we went on to have a fantastic time together with my friends and his friends. Lots of clubbing, gigs and squat parties along with trips to Scotland together to see Carol, Kay and Craig and of course Natalie. We discovered we loved pretty much all the same music, we were both vegetarian, we had similar politics and values and although we came from very different backgrounds we were very much in love. We decided that we wanted to have children together and on Christmas Day 2001 we exchanged rings to show our commitment. Neither of us wanted to get married, although we were planning to have a civil partnership in 2020 to celebrate our 20 year anniversary before Andy’s illness changed everything.
In September 2002 Matthew was born and Ania followed in March 2005. Andy was a brilliant hands on dad and stayed at home looking after Matthew at a time when stay at home dads were really unusual. He was the only dad at the Greenwich baby dance class, and even featured in their brochure! Around that time he also started working for Access for Living and finally found a company that he really liked working for. He worked first of all in their residential properties but later in 2004 became part of the outreach team. It really suited him as he was out and about, could work fairly short days around dropping and collecting the kids from their child-minder, and worked with a variety of people in the community. He worked for the outreach team for 15 years and it became really clear when Andy was ill just how much both the service users and his colleagues adored him.
We had an amazing 20 years together building strong friendships and family bonds along the way. Our twice yearly parties for the kids birthdays meant that all our friends and family got to know each other and we built a powerful warm community around us. We always spent what we had on holidays and went away whenever we got the chance. Our half term trips to the seaside, our Summer camping and extended family holidays to France, Spain and Italy have given the kids and I some amazing memories. Our last big holidays together were amazing too with our tour of Scotland in April 2018, our trip to Cape Cod in July 2018 and then a trip to Rome at the end of that Summer. I am only sorry we never got to go to Australia to visit Sandy and Helen, when we go we will take Andy with us in our hearts.
Andy was an amazing man. He was highly intelligent despite his lack of formal education and he was extremely funny with a dry wit and a real ability to make people laugh. He was always his own man and was brave enough to be utterly himself, refusing to be limited by the expectations and stereotypes that might have constrained him. Andy was caring, gentle and kind and people loved him. He was taken from us all too early but he will live on in our hearts, our memories and in his wonderful children.
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