Dr Fred Dibnah, MBE, steeplejack and television presenter, was born on 28 April 1938. He died after a long illness on 6 November 2004, aged 66.Following his career in television, Fred became a high­profile media personality and the fame that accompanied that status never affected him, or in any way changed his down-to-earth demeanour.

He will be remembered not only for his many practical achievements, but also for encouraging thousands of others to care about our industrial heritage. That people from all walks of life have appreciated his efforts is without doubt. He enriched many lives through his work that he always looked on, not as a chore, but as a pleasure. Proof of his many successes is fortunately preserved in tangible artefacts, on film and in the written word. His official recognition was highlighted by the award of the MBE which deservedly came. He had earlier been accorded the tribute of receiving not one, but two honorary degrees. But moving away from the public side of his life, let us not forget that first and foremost, Fred was very much a family man.

Born, like a great many of his admirers, in humble circumstances, he was brought up to appreciate the values of companionship, honesty and the satisfaction to be gained from a job well done. As eaders digest the comments of his friends and colleagues in this all-too­brief compliment to him, they will see that the one word which constantly comes to mind is love. He was a greatly loved human being, and he left his mark on the world he lived in and accordingly it is a better place for his having been there.

Thanks are due to the many people who have unselfishly passed on accounts of their involvement with Fred so that others can enjoy the retelling of them. Fred is survived by his brother, Graham, his wife Sheila and ex-wives Alison and Sue. He was the proud father of five children: to Alison there are daughters Jane, Lorna and Caroline, and to Sue there are sons Jack and Roger.

Author: Keith Langston