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from Diane Cotton (nee Laff)

Paul’s parents and my parents, Brenda and Bas, have been friends since the early 1960s and I have many fond childhood memories of long happy summers spent playing with Paul and Beverley when they lived about 100 yards from us in Roscoe Avenue. Our families spent many happy evenings together and we three children used to put on “shows” for our parents using the bay window as a stage with Paul strumming his pretend guitar (usually a tennis racket) with Beverley and I being the backing singers.  

In 1973 my dad had an accident at work resulting in the loss of some of his toes and The Lawtons helped us through that difficult time.  Then within weeks Matt broke his leg, so he and my dad used to hobble together down the road together on their crutches. 

When they moved to Canada the friendships continued and we spent 3 fabulous weeks with them all (and Zebbie, their labrador) in Ontario in the summer of 1979 when we visited Toronto, Ohio, Detroit and their beautiful home in Windsor.  They had moved to Canada the year prior and although Beverley and I had grown during that time, the most amazing change was with Paul who had developed a husky voice and legs that looked too long for his body!

Despite the distance between us all, the two families remained friends.  Beverley even kept a childhood promise and asked me to be her chief bridesmaid when she got married.  It was a beautiful wedding and great to be with Bev, Gerard, Matt, Christine and Paul on that special day.

The last time I saw Paul was at Beverley’s house a couple of years ago when our two families spent a lovely afternoon reminiscing old times together.  Paul looked so relaxed and happy.  I am so glad that we were able to spend that time with them all.

Our two families celebrated Mass together on Paul’s birthday this year, something we had not done since we were all children, and then spent a very happy evening together at our house chatting about the many memories we all share.    

When I think of Paul, I think of happy times, his love of music (in particular the Sweet!) and Everton but most of all a smiling kind face with a very cheeky grin and contagious giggle.

Diane Cotton
Warrington, England

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