News Archive - October 2016
Behind the Scenes - Exploring the background to characters, scenes and storylines…
The Reverend John Gillard
This is the third of the character profiles I intend to write every couple of months or so.
John is Patrick’s father of course. At one time a Royal Naval Reserve Officer, he entered the church at the end of his service days and married Elspeth shortly after being ordained. They had met at a dance a couple of years previously while he was still in the Navy.
They were to have two children, both boys, Patrick and Laurence, the later nearly always referred to as Larry. For some reason Patrick was never called Pat or Paddy. No, never. Being completely different in temperament, the boys didn’t get on. Larry was rather a mummy’s boy, a teller of tales who got his brother into trouble on more than one occasion. They ended up fighting a lot, much to the despair of their parents. This animosity continued into their adult years, not helped by the fact that Larry married Shirley, an unpleasant woman, who hated Patrick. There was some kind of reconciliation only in later years, just before Larry was killed.
Always very supportive but at the same time expecting far too much of his surviving son, John was nevertheless extremely proud of him, Patrick rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel in the army, initially in the Devon and Dorset Regiment. (This has now been absorbed into The Rifles and it would not the be the first time an organisation he worked for was subsumed into another.)
Failing health in his seventies mainly due to overwork and not enough holidays has dogged John for a few years – he had heart surgery a while back. Sadly, he will not live to see his grandchildren grow up.
Not all that long ago Elspeth discovered that she was descended from Cornish wreckers, which rather appals her. But as Ingrid, Patrick’s wife has said, referring to her husband’s aptitude for armed mayhem, ‘At least it shows where he got it from.’
A strong, intelligent and capable woman, Elspeth has been more than supportive to her family and also works tirelessly for local and national charities. On more than one assignment Patrick has turned up at home more dead than alive, returning to the one who can restore him. She will tolerate no criticism of him, not even when - recovering from serious injury in his service days but still in a lot of pain - he shot six rooks from the trees surrounding the church as they were keeping him awake. This is not to say that she offers no uncomfortable advice to him herself and as Ingrid, again, remarks, she is the only person on the planet who can actually make him wriggle with embarrassment.
I feel that Elspeth will continue to be a rock to her family for many years to come.
October 30th, 2016
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