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my wonderful Dad and best friend in the whole world, univers and beyond has just died *tears* heart wrenched *tears*
BOOTLE LEGEND ...
Over the years I have watched many people come and go in Bootle but there are some that have never, ever moved further than a couple of streets within the town. These people are the heart, spirit and the strength of the community. They have been brought up here by generations before them that have forged and shaped Bootle to what it is today,
Strong women left widowed taking in washing to feed young families, canals etched a path from rural communities bringing them to settle in Bootle, my own aunt owning the Bootle Barge company where runs where made from Linacre Lane to Melling fields, also running Bootle Belle for outings during the war. Some still remained farming and never made the move but others did and never moved away. Names that will go down in Bootle Borough history, my grandfather well known roundabout as Tricky Bill for his jovial nature and kindness as he always raised spirits with his tap dance and spoons routine down at the Jolly Farmers and The Odva and perhaps with an appearance at the Aintree, a huge character and a wonderful Bootle stalwart.
But one very special man I want to write about now is my Father who this evening has passed away ...a Bootle Legend many would have known as Eddie (Eddie Cropper) brought up in Marsh Lane Bootle, in Audley street no longer there but was a very long street and his family was only one of two protestant families at that time it was very fraught and difficult but they respected my Dads Mum as she was widowed and bringing up a young family and never was there any trouble. Passing the eleven plus his Mum couldn't afford to send him to college so, after elementary school at fourteen he went to work for his sister on the Bootle Barge with the huge shire horses that used to pull them, on the Leed/Liverpool canal a very hard and heavy job. Then he went on to Burley and sons where he was to learn his trade as a engineering boilerman and after a term in the WW2 and after seeing out his national subscription he returned to Burley and sons where he remained until he retired. Well I say retire very loosely as then his notoriety began to rise and soar becoming the chairman and caretaker of the George the Sixth down Knowsley Road, in right from the start, right at the beginning, a cousin of his and her Mum collected jam jars for the construction of this building for the use of the residents of Bootle which was sadly later sold off by the WRVS, (now demolished) although both worked for them too.
Now living in Gloucester Road, my Dad Eddie used to call out the bingo numbers and share a luncheon with many friends down there at the George the Sixth centre, he had made many and cherished them all and when they could not make it to the centre due to illness he would get in his car and bring them in so they would not be alone and had company. Everday he looked after the centre cleaning up and locking up ready for the next day many years this occured until it was taken over, then closed and demolished and the land sold off by the WRVS.
He even was entrusted, because he was someone you could trust with the keys for the local newsagent on Hawthorne Road, at the crack of dawn, every day, bringing the papers in off the step and sorting them out, the sunday papers had to have the magazine inserted and that was what he did with every paper before the first of the staff arrived and then he would have a cuppa and a chat before wending his way home, fondly known as the oldest paper boy in Bootle, everybody knew him and was touched by him in some way. Indeed he touched so many peoples lives.
Latterly he shared his luncheons down at the wonderful League of Welldoers, in LIverpool where he met some more great pals, sometimes staying on for the Bingo and enjoying many an outing of which their trips to the Liverpool Philarmonic brought him much pleasure and entertainment. Legendary burns suppers of which my Dad used to give his tot of whisky to his friend him being teatotal, but relished the wonderful cooking of Alf. He loved his food my Dad.
I could go on, so much more I could say as there are so many memories he shared with me about Bootle, his childhood and of course I have my own. An old neighbour died just before Christmas another Bootle stalwart brought up in Brasenose Road, Bootle living in Gloucester Road for many years. Many strong spirited members of this community who have helped form the heart and shape of what is now Bootle.
But I guess what I really want to say is they should be honoured and remembered for what they have done and their legacy should not be underestimated, ever. They came through some hard times in this borough and stayed, never left. They believed in the community. People will always come and go in Bootle it is the nature of the world but when they come into this old borough and from what was just a small village to now this swelling town we should always recall and remember the Bootle Legends who fought, forged and stayed such as my Dad.
written (c) (devoted daughter of Eddie Cropper)
As a child he walked through the Queens Mersey Tunnel at nine and received a medal but also a hiding from his Mum as he didn’t get in till two o clock in the morning hungry, thirsty, and foot sore