John Vincent Beattie
You only get the one. You can’t yet order them online in bargain packs of 8. You get one Dad. And he wanders around the place for years and you know not why, really. Then one day, it clicks. You GET him. They say “Wait ‘til your Father gets home,” and one day, he does. You suddenly get the point of your Dad. It’s a moment that never leaves you.
One day, I got mine. And from him, a thought which has resonated with me through the years: be yourself. It’s all I’ve ever really needed. To be proud of who you are, where you’re from, how you speak. To never be intimidated by the status of those you’re dealing with. And to have people accept you for that.
Jack Beattie was a stranger in a strange land, arriving in wartime Birmingham with nothing but an Irish accent as impenetrable as a block of peat and a twinkle in both eyes. He was no fan of authority. Or The System. Or anything which resembled rules, for that matter. But he had a powerful sense of right and wrong. He hated injustice. And he swept my Mum and Brum off their collective feet.
As a kid, it seemed to me that my Dad knew EVERYBODY. And more importantly, that everybody knew him. He was big. He was Somebody. And then he was gone.
My Dad never lived to see me make it in business. (In London! In bloody advertising, for God’s sake!) But I know he’d have wanted me to cause as much kerfuffle as I could. I’ve been very, very lucky in my career. It’s flown me around the world and enabled me to dine with Muhammad Ali and Nelson Mandela. But I’d give it all up tomorrow, have all those memories erased, for the chance to have dinner with my Dad tonight. To remind him that I did and do get him.
The Foundation will enable those who never knew him to benefit from the spirit of Jack Beattie. They’ll get him. Everybody does.
Ada Alice Beattie
My Mum’s favourite movie was “It’s A Wonderful Life”. How very apt that proved to be. Hers was indeed a wonderful life, from the austerity of the 1920s to Champagne flights on Concorde and tea at Number 10 with the Prime Minister.
She survived her workplace being bombed in the Second World War. Married a tall, dark Irish stranger. And together they raised EIGHT children. Through the toughest of times. Ada passionately believed in education and the rewards it would bring in later life. That the pen was always mightier than the sword. (Anyone disrespecting this belief however, would soon discover that the slipper was mightier than both the pen AND the sword.)
And what she didn’t know wasn’t worth knowing. We didn’t Google. We Ada’d. In later life, when memory is supposed to fade, my Mum defiantly took to memorising the names and birthdays of each of her EIGHTEEN grandchildren and TWENTY great grandchildren.
Having encouraged a veritable army of Beattie brats to fulfil our ambitions, she spent the 9th decade of her life enjoying the well-earned fruits that it brought. She sat in the PM’s chair in the Cabinet Office and discussed imminent retirement plans with Tony Blair. HIS retirement plans, not hers.
And yet, in a way, she had retired. Finally moved on from a lifetime spent selflessly caring for others. Patiently moulding us all into the fine upstanding indomitable Beatties we are today.
She left us in 2008, on the very day which would have been her and Jack’s 65th wedding anniversary. And back together is where they’ll stay. Re-united and remembered by The Foundation which will carry their names forward for the good of those who will benefit, as we did, from the ideals of Jack & Ada.